Another goodbye- Until we meet again Grampa Bill

On Sunday we lost another amazing man in our life, Grampa Bill/Gramps. 

You’ll never meet a man as generous as him. In Luke 12:48 it says: “…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…”   God gave Bill so much, and Bill gave just as much to others in return. 

Bill (and his wife Karin) have been a part of my life forever, but I think the earliest memories I have of him really in my life were when my parents were separated/divorcing.  He took my brother and I many places, creating happy memories during a rough time in our life.  Monster truck rallies, Harlem Globetrotter games, breakfasts and dinners out, rides to school in his Avanti sports car that we loved so much, picking us up in his motor home and taking us across town for ice cream…

Since those early years in my childhood, we spent every Sunday night after church at their house eating dinner, talking with others who had been invited that night about the sermon we’d heard, playing pinochle and just having a great time. 

During the holidays I shared my time between their home and my grandparents homes, celebrating and enjoying the difference in traditions.

Their youngest son moved to Missouri when I was in my late teens, and from then on they spent summers there in Missouri. I decided to move to Missouri for the summer when I was 20, and if it weren’t for them my trip would have been much harder.  I spent as much time with them there as I did here at home (maybe even more time), and they always made sure I had a full belly on my mega-tight budget.  We played cards and visited and they made me feel at home when I was so homesick.  

A year before that summer away, I started working for Bill’s company.  It was there that I met my future husband.  3 years later, it was Bill who married us, making us officially husband and wife.  During that time Bill and Karin taught Gary how to play pinochle, and a new hobby began.

When my kids were born, Grampa Bill and Gramma Karin took over their roles as another set of grandparents to my kids. The days of my being picked up in his motor home returned, this time though, with my kids for trips to the zoo.  Gramps took Logan on his first boat ride, and Brooke and Erik’s would have been next if the boat hadn’t had engine trouble. (Gramps was very upset about that!)  He also treated them to breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, just like he did with my brother and I when we were kids.  When the old WW2 planes came into town and were on display at the airport near our house, you could be sure Grampa Bill would be by to pick us up and check them out.

Not long after Gary and I married, Bill and Karin moved to Missouri, calling Arizona home only during the winters (and short trips during the year).  We were sad to see them go, but always looked forward to seeing them on their returns.  They often checked in, letting us know we weren’t forgotten.  Just a few weeks ago a letter came in the mail addressed to Logan, Brooke, Erik and Connor. Enclosed was a $20 bill with a sticky note attached: “All of this is to be used at DQ! Love, Gramps”.  Even from far away he knew how to make them feel special. 
We didn’t always know exactly when they’d be in town, and oftentimes we’d get a random text at some point in the day, “We’ll be in town in an hour. What time should we come for cards?”  My kids jumped with joy upon hearing this, knowing they’d have a fun night filled with hugs and treats.  (Even as babies, my kids-and all of the church kids- knew Grampa Bill always had candy in his pockets for them.)  Those text messaged caused internal jumps for joy from Gary and I too, who always looked forward to the fun that cards with Bill and Karin symbolized.  Guys vs Gals. This meant Gary and Bill were thrilled when they were winning- cracking jokes and being obnoxious- and grumpy when they were losing, opening the door for jokes from Karin and I (which entertained the two of us, not so much the guys, haha).  Every night brought plans of more games to come, more fun to be had.  Even that last goodbye held promises of more games to come… 

The last time Grampa Bill was over, he and the kids horsed around.  Logan did his usual, carrying it too far; He just gets too excited and doesn’t always understand the word, ‘enough’.  Grampa Bill stayed patient with him, and Gary and I probably hurt Logan’s feelings (and Grampa Bill’s) more by telling him to be done.  I’m pretty sure Grampa Bill comforted him with candy…

Bill was the most giving person you’ve ever met.  Those in need were never in need long.  Bill offered financial help to those who needed it, with no request necessary.  He offered his time and services when he saw the need.  At the church you’d often find him doing maintenance work and projects without being asked.  He saw a need and filled it, or saw something he felt needed improvement and boy, did he improve it!  He improved the lives of people all over the world, giving of his time and money to our church locals in countries all over the globe.  He truly had a servants heart, and showed the love of Christ by his actions.  He didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk.

Since his death I’ve seen and heard more people speak of his impact in their lives than I even could have imagined, and I have no doubt countless others all over the world are doing the same.

His loss is a huge one for all of us, and he will be greatly missed.  I recall many of his sermons in which he urged us to live our lives so that someday, as in Matthew 25:23, we’d hear God say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of the Lord.”  I have NO DOUBT Bill heard those words Sunday as he met our Lord.  Love you tons, miss you tons.  Until we meet again gramps…


  1. I loved him. Hard to believe he has gone to his reward. I keep thinking this is a dream and we will see him again when it gets cooler. Karin was the perfect match for Bill…they were a team. Continuing to pray for the family and all who are mourning. Your words were perfect, Alesha, just perfect. Much love to you.

  2. So sorry for your loss. {HUGS} Mama!

  3. I'm sorry for your loss. He really sounds like such a wonderful man! You will be in my thoughts and prayers. 🙂 ((HUGS))

  4. I am so sorry for your loss… I just lost my last grandparent last year, so I feel for your family at this time – peace and prayers!

  5. Laura Jacobson says:

    Oh I am so very sorry for your loss! My thoughts and prayers will be with your family

  6. I'm sorry for your loss Alesha. So good to know you have a future in seeing him again!! Hang on to that when the tough days come.

  7. Naomi Shapiro says:

    I am so sorry. It sounds like he has made a big impact on all your lives.

  8. desertmama says:

    He was definitely a good man and an important part of your family. He will be missed. This is a wonderful tribute to his memory.

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