Cover photo for William Wood's Obituary
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William Wood

Bill passed away May 14, 2023 on his family farm where he was able to watch the fields being planted in his “paradise” in his final days.  Born October 26, 1942 in Kalamazoo, MI to William H “Bill” Wood and Edith (Jones) Wood Wilson.  He was raised in Otsego, MI and spent much of his time playing backyard baseball and hanging out with his many neighborhood friends.  He married the love of his life, Judith Elaine (Keyes) on March 23, 1962.  Bill and Judie lovingly raised 3 daughters, and he was known to reply to comments about not having any sons with “I wouldn’t trade my girls for boys for anything”.

His love for fishing and hunting was shared with his dad in his early years.  He continued hunting, was an avid golfer, and enjoyed fishing, both fly fishing locally and also salmon fishing on Lake Michigan with many friends. One of his favorite projects was his restoration of the 1949 Chevy Fleetline, which was the model of his first car, which he then used to drive to golf league every week and to the annual car show.  Bill carried on his family tradition of maple syrup making, which has been labeled by many as “liquid gold” and he received many comments on how it was the best syrup around.

His love for community was evidenced in how much he enjoyed his first job at Kroger in Plainwell, and how his favorite part of the job was all the people he interacted with.   Throughout his 35 years of working at Plainwell Paper he met many great people he felt honored to call his friends, and his most treasured role was mentoring young men and instilling a solid work ethic and life lessons, who then later became lifelong friends.  This job provided the means to purchase the family farm in 1967, where he and Judie enjoyed hobby farming and raising their family.  His love and support for his family was extended to several foster children as well as many “adopted” neighbors, friends and 4H youth.

In his declining health over the last couple of years, he incessantly repeated “I am the luckiest guy on earth….I have a loving wife of over 60 years, the best kids, and the best friends anyone could ask for” and “You know what? I love you.”  His gratitude and love showed that the most important things to him weren’t “things” at all.

Bill is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Judie; daughters, Dawn Wood and Wendy (Craig) Bisel; son-in-law, Robert Whitelow; grandchildren, Amanda, Alex, Erica, Brandon, Katrina, Kayla and Allison; many great-grandchildren; sister, Janet (Milo) Holroyd; many nieces and nephews; and special friends who are too many to list.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Sherri Whitelow; and sister, Karolyn Adams.

According to his wishes, a Celebration of Life will be held in his honor on June 10, 2023 at 4:00 pm on the family farm.

Due to the wonderful care at the end of his life which allowed him to remain in his “paradise” on the farm, donations may be made to Wings of Hope Hospice in lieu of flowers.

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Condolence Messages

Tammy Lutes

May 18, 2023 at 10:09 am

To Dawn, Judy and the rest of Bill’s family and friends…I’m so sorry for your loss! I vaguely remember Bill from my childhood days of hanging out in his barn and riding horses with Dawn and Barb Burger. I remember him as a quiet but friendly man. Judy was equally kind and friendly. Sending prayers and wishes of peace to all.


Kay Snyder

May 18, 2023 at 10:40 am

Judy, Dawn and Wendy;

I am so sorry for your loss.

I have many fond memories of Bill. I’m sending my condolences to you all. May The lord continue to bless and comfort you in this difficult time.


Deb Mason

May 18, 2023 at 10:49 am

So glad Bob, Brody & I were able to spend time with him a few days before. Such a wonderful & loving man. We will never forget all the things he shared with us. Forever in our hearts. Love you Bill ❤


Sherry Hanson

May 18, 2023 at 11:19 am

Wendy & family our hearts go out to you all during this time . Cherish all those memories. I remember winning his maple syrup at a golf outing

Mike & Sherry Hanson


Debbie Kruse

May 18, 2023 at 11:44 am

Prayers to you all. Bill was either laughing or smiling every time I saw him. He was a good old fashioned great guy! May the many memories bring you comfort during this time


Dan Stratton

May 18, 2023 at 3:12 pm

RIP old friend. I have fond memories of fishing, CB radios, and endless ours at the mill. You were a honest and honorable man.


Frank Gibson

May 18, 2023 at 3:41 pm

Judy and children, We’re sitting on a cruise ship in the North sea and was shocked to hear about Bill’s passing. We offer our condolences and prayers for you and your family. Bill and I were life long friends and neighbors in our youth. We spent many hours together playing ⚾️ baseball as kids. We’ll miss you Bill!


Sue Browne

May 18, 2023 at 5:35 pm

Judy so sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. God is walking with you, lean on Him. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Remember one day at a time.

Sincerely, Sue Browne


Georgia Newman

May 18, 2023 at 10:58 pm

Deepest condolences Judie to you and the girls and all of your family. Of course you know that Bill was my classmate all the way through school. He always had that pleasant smile and was kind to everyone. Having your family nearby will be a big comfort to you in the days ahead.


Larry Meyer Jr.

May 18, 2023 at 11:30 pm

Sorry for your family’s loss. He was a great person and always very kind and always had time to say hi and chat for a bit.


Bob Sponable

May 19, 2023 at 8:57 am

Bill and I were in the same class at Otsego–graduating in 1960. Since our names started with letters toward the end of the alphabet, we sat close to each other in several classes.

He was a fun guy to be around–always had a smile.

I played baseball with him also. I believe he was one of our pitchers. He was a team player and always an encourager.. The last time I saw Bill was at one of our class reunions; and he hadn’t changed a bit. It was great to see him.

I was so happy to read about how God had blessed him with a loving wife and wonderful family.

I extend my condolences to all of you , and will include you in my prayers.


Leslie D Burke

May 19, 2023 at 1:38 pm

So sorry to hear about Bill’s passing. Judy, Dawn, and Wendy-condolences from Clyde and Leslie. He was a force of nature!


John Gibson

May 19, 2023 at 2:44 pm

My heartfelt condolences to Judie and the girls. I am confident that God will look after this kind and loving friend.

Bill and I grew up across the street from one another. We played sports , particularly baseball, together and enjoyed a strong friendship.

I don’t get back to Otsego very much but did have the good fortune of seeing Bill and Judie at the combination 1960/61 class reunion in 2021. Thankful for that.

My prayers to Judie and the family.

John Gibson


Robert Garrison

May 19, 2023 at 7:56 pm

I’m sad to hear of Bill’s passing. He was my cousin, my mom and his dad were siblings. He was a true man and cared deeply about his family and heritage. We had a reunion at the farm around 6 years ago and he loved the farm. My wife and I stayed late and he was showing us all the old family photos. It was amazing how he kept the farm alive. He will be missed by all.


Rog & Laurie Shoemaker

May 19, 2023 at 8:42 pm

Dear Judie and children ~ we were saddened to hear of Bill’s passing. We will miss his yearly visits to our home, the stories he shared, and will cherish the delicious, one-of-a-kind maple syrup that he gifted us. Please know that we are praying strength and comfort over you in the days ahead. Peace to you and may God bless you all.


Leilani Taylor

May 19, 2023 at 10:36 pm

Judie, Dawn and Wendy, my heart is so sad, but the memories of my high school years with Bill make me happy! He was truly a second dad to me during those years and I truly loved him! My parents loved him as well and always complimented him . Praying for you! Love, Leilani


Brad Eshbaugh

May 20, 2023 at 4:12 pm

Sure going to miss you Bill. We spent many hours setting in the barn sharing hunting and fishing stories and solving the world’s problems! It was an honor to call you friend.


Mike Doxey

May 21, 2023 at 10:41 pm

I am one of those young men you mentored Bill. Thank you for all you taught me about the “nector of the God’s ”

The half dozen taps and buckets you gave me over 30 years ago that I still have.

The rule of 86!

You truly were a good man Bill.

I’ll see you on the other side.


Chet and Shirley Babrick

May 23, 2023 at 7:47 am

Judy and family so sorry for your loss. I knew Bill when working at Krogers and it was fun. Bill was will liked by many people. Chet was a classmate. Then later we became neighbors. We will both miss BILL. Chet and Shirley Babrick



May 23, 2023 at 6:54 pm

Dear Wood Family,

I just wanted to say that I am sorry about Bill’s passing. I I considered him a loyal and honest man. It’s too bad we don’t have more like him around. I’ll miss our conversations together and the knowledge he passed on to me. Bill and Judie were always very kind to me and let me look for arrowheads in their fields the last several years. I am gray for them allowing me to walk their property. I’ll always told me that anyone crazy enough to stare at the ground for hours, can have at it!. I wish I could have told him thanks and goodbye. He was a good friend and an awesome country neighbor. I know he’s in a wonderful place and I look forward to talking with him again someday.

Bryan Glessner



May 23, 2023 at 7:06 pm

Dear Judie, Dawn and Family,

Thinking of you with prayers and love on the passing of your wonderful husband and father. We hope you can feel the heartfelt prayers of all those around you. I can’t imagine the reunion that is taking place between him and Sherry! Oh what a glorious day it will be when you meet again one day in Heaven.

With Love,

John and Diane Glessner


Bryan Hlessner

May 24, 2023 at 10:45 am

Dear Wood Family,

I just wanted to say that I’m sorry to hear about Bill’s passing. I think of him as always being a loyal and an honest man. It’s too bad we don’t have more men like him around. I’ll miss our conversations together and the knowledge he passed on to me. Judie, you and Bill have been very kind to let me look for arrowheads in your fields over the last several years. I have greatly appreciated your letting me walk your property. Bill always told me that anyone crazy enough to stare at the ground for hours could have at it! I wish I could have told him thanks and goodbye. He was a good friend and an awesome neighbor. I know he’s in a wonderful place and I look forward to talking with him again someday.

Bryan Glessner


Diane Glessner

May 24, 2023 at 11:02 am

Dear Judie, Dawn, Wendy and family,

We are saddened at the passing of your dad and husband. Bill was a great guy and a friend to so many. We know he will be greatly missed. We picture Sherry along with Jesus with open arms greeting him at Heaven’s gate. What a joyous reunion. Our prayers are with you

With Love, John and Diane Glessner


Zelene Wilkins

May 24, 2023 at 12:36 pm

Judie, my heart goes out to you and your daughters. I remember talking to Bill a couple of times and fondly remember his humor and kind words. May God give you strength, comfort and peace at this difficult time. Sending hugs!


Jonathan Witt

June 6, 2023 at 5:57 pm

So very sorry Judie…. So happy to have worked and shared a lot of years with him at Plainwell Paper…. My Father always talked highly of him…

We had a paper mill family there…

Great man and I loved working with him.

Best Maple syrup around!

Sincere prayers for you and your family!


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