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.
Messages of condolence may be posted at www.WinkelFuneralHome.com.