MANCHESTER ——Friends describe William C. Ackerman as kind, but gruff.
The 51-year-old was a good man, they say, adding that "only the good die young."
He thought there was more job security in the warehouse, said Doug Norwood, a Manchester resident and a driver for Hartford Distributors.
Norwood said he has been friends with Ackerman for years. At one point, Ackerman was even his tenant, he said.
Ackerman lived in his home on School Street for 12 years, but about two years ago, he moved to South Windsor, Norwood said.
Norwood said Ackerman was in a committed relationship with a woman who had three children. Ackerman never had children of his own, Norwood said.
Ackerman grew up in Enfield and still had many friends from that area, Norwood continued. He was a former catcher for Enfield High School's baseball team, and he used to play hockey, Norwood said, adding that Ackerman was also a fan of UConn's sports teams.
Tuesday, friends remembered Ackerman as a tough, authoritative and well-respected man.
"He didn't take crap from anyone," said Scott Marek, owner of Marek Jewelers in Enfield and a friend of Ackerman's.
Ackerman also had a soft, fun side at times, said Kevin Kehoe, a friend of Ackerman's from Manchester. Kehoe said he remembered drinking Grand Marnier with Ackerman by the fire during the first snowfall of every year.