Tuesday, September 17, 2019
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
A prayer service will be held at 7 PM.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph
2929 Nazareth Rd
Kalamazoo, MI 49048
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Steadfast, gentle, and calm, William “Bill” Hendriksen lived a life rich in faith and family. A friend to everyone he met, those around him knew they could depend on him, as well as on his sense of good humor for a well-timed laugh. William was a natural teacher and will be remembered for his unwavering honesty and kindness. A man who was content and happy in his life, William was loving, forgiving, and a source of comfort and confidence for all who were blessed to know him. A devoted husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend, he will be deeply missed.
William’s parents were both from the Netherlands. His father, Anton, was a baker who traveled back and forth on the Atlantic Ocean many times to earn the fare to bring his fiancée, Cornelia Rieu, to America. Once married and settled in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Anton worked as a papermaker and farmer while Cornelia was a homemaker. The vibrant decade of the 1920’s grew even brighter for Anton and Cornelia as they welcomed their son William into their hearts and home. He was the third of the Hendriksens’ four children. Growing up on the family farm off Kilgore Road, he enjoyed a childhood that included schoolwork and also soccer, baseball, and other sports. He once roller-skated from the farm to St. Joseph School - a distance of over five miles! William made numerous friends while attending St. Joseph Grade School, the County Center School, and St. Augustine High School. Many of them remained lifelong companions.
After graduating from high school, William, usually known outside his family as Bill, began college at Western Michigan University. He then served in the Army during WWII in an educational unit, the Army Specialized Training Program. With his fellow soldiers, he traveled to various universities, including Cornell, Indiana University, the University of Cincinnati, and Pasadena City College, to study engineering. His military career culminated in an appointment to West Point. With the end of World War II, Bill received an honorable discharge and returned home to complete his education at Western, earning both a bachelor of science degree and, later, a bachelor of arts.
Bill then began working at First of America Bank. In 1953, he sought the beginning of what would become his profession as an agent for Allstate Insurance, working both at the local Sears store and at the downtown Allstate office. Calm and patient, Bill explained things well and always kept his clients’ best interests at heart. Trusted by many, Bill enjoyed a successful career until he retired in 1985 after 32 years of service.
As he was beginning his career, Bill had the good fortune to be introduced by a childhood friend to the love of his life, Margaret Boyle. Margaret, who grew up in Milford, Michigan, was then teaching in Allen Park. The pair was soon planning a future together. They married in 1953 in Milford, officially beginning their 66-year journey together.
The newlyweds created their home in Kalamazoo, where they welcomed five daughters within six years. Bill was enormously proud of his daughters’ academic and athletic achievements. He was a wonderful father who instilled the value of hard work in his children. A man who understood the importance of the simple things in life, Bill never held a grudge and always showed kindness to others, particularly his family.
Bill had many interests. He especially enjoyed playing bridge with a group of longtime friends: Bill Cagney, Bob Holton, and Vern Hudson. He and Margaret had a very active friends’ group. They were part of a dinner club that frequented various restaurants. Though a graduate of Western Michigan University, Bill was a proud fan as well of the University of Michigan, which three of his daughters and several grandchildren attended. He also held a great interest in history. Over the years he watched many military documentaries and read many history books. A numbers man, Bill could mentally calculate equations most of us would find impossible. He could also commit dates and phone numbers to memory with minimal effort. A lifelong member of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Bill served his parish as a lector and often volunteered his time and talents.
An avid golfer and bowler, Bill played in a league at the Kalamazoo Elks Club that had him on the greens several times a week. Not only did Bill enjoy the thrill of playing at St. Andrews in Scotland during a trip with friends, he and Margaret also attended the Masters Tournament in 1987. Bill especially enjoyed having accomplished not one, but two holes-in-one!
Traveling was another love of Bill’s. He and Margaret shared many adventures and loved to escape the Michigan winters. Some years they spent in California with Margaret’s siblings. Other years they spent the winter months in Florida, often participating in the Elderhostel program on the journey there or back.
Without a doubt, Bill’s greatest pride and joy was his family. He supported his children and grandchildren in all their endeavors and was especially pleased that every one of them graduated from college. With signature generosity, Bill chose to celebrate his 75th birthday by gifting each grandchild with $75, to which one of the younger grandchildren, Matthew, responded with an enthusiastic “I hope you live to be 100, Grandpa!”
Clearly, it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Bill's steadfast presence. May it afford deep comfort to know that the best of his legacy lives on in the hearts of those he loved. In every kindness we extend to another, or adventure we share with a beloved, we celebrate the many ways Bill enriched our lives. In so doing, we keep his gentle spirit alive and inspire others as he so inspired us.
On September 13, 2019, at the age of 96, Bill died peacefully. He was preceded in death by his siblings: Frank Hendriksen, Berdine Fahrendorf, and Dorothy Waber. Proudly carrying his legacy forward are his loving wife of 66 years, Margaret; 5 children: Anne (Martin) Puchala, Mary Hendriksen (Dwight King), Paula Hendriksen (Kevin Bennett), Joan (Van) Maltby, and Nancy West; 15 grandchildren; 8 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. Visit with family and friends from 5 – 7 PM on Tuesday (Sept 17) at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr., Kalamazoo, (269) 375-2900 where a prayer service will be held at 7 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 AM on Wednesday (Sept 18) at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 936 Lake St., Kalamazoo with visitation 1 hour prior. A luncheon will follow in the church hall. Burial will take place at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Visit Bill’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you may read his Life Story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign his online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Joseph Catholic Church or Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph.