Life Story Service
Life Story Reception
Friday, June 16, 2023
12:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.
Friday, June 16, 2023
1:30 PM EDT
333 W Ave E
Vicksburg, MI 49097
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.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
A man who never met a stranger, Bill Morgan was quick-witted and always had a funny comment at the ready. He was a hard worker, full of mischief, and always up for a good time. Regardless of life’s challenges, Bill was good-natured and focused on the good in every moment. He embraced each day as a gift and every person as a friend. A devoted father, grandfather, and companion, Bill will long be remembered and so very missed.
1943 marked a time when the war effort in Europe directly impacted all American lives. While countless young people actively served in the trenches of WWII, those who remained stateside poured their energies into supporting the war effort in any way they could. While Ford and GM converted their plants from automobile manufacturing to the building of bombs and aircraft engines, an unprecedented 18 million women proudly worked the manufacturing jobs once held by the men who were now overseas. Providing a sense of respite from the daily struggles, Frank Sinatra and Glenn Miller filled the airways, Lassie Come Home dominated the television, and the musical Oklahoma took the stage on Broadway. For Grady and Alice (Jackson) Morgan, it was a particularly exciting time as they welcomed their son, Bill, into their family on September 24 in Lowell, North Carolina.
After his father secured a better job in Michigan, the family moved to Grand Rapids while Bill was still a child. Following his schooling, Bill served in the United States Air Force. A highlight during his service years was wrestling Caesar, the bear from the Grizzly Adams movie. Despite losing to the bear, Bill fondly remembered the match for the rest of his life.
Safely returning to West Michigan, Bill was married for a time to Evangeline (Kirk) Morgan. Though the marriage ended in divorce, he was forever grateful that it blessed him with his greatest gifts, his children. Monica “Candy” and Larry were his heart’s delight, and he relished being their father. He was a fun dad and enjoyed sharing time with his kids, especially fishing on the dock at Barton Lake. Once, Candy was so busy watching the fish that she fell in. Though stern when needed, Bill incorporated some light-hearted humor in his parenting. When his kids were little, he convinced them that the red bird was watching them and would tell him if they did anything against the rules. Everywhere they went, the kids saw a red bird. Finally, Larry threw a rock at one. As luck would have it, it bounced back and hit him in the head, teaching him quite a lesson.
Bill was always ready to support his kids and share their adventures. He participated in Boy Scouts with Larry and his friends, often driving the truck with all their gear. The trips became the stuff of legend when the girls flocked to Bill whenever they stopped for dinner. After telling the boys it was because he smelled like smoke from the campfire, they would build a fire as soon as they returned to camp, hoping for the same attention. To celebrate Larry’s high school graduation, Bill took him to Grand Rapids to wrestle a bear. Full of confidence and vigor, Larry lost to the bear, who turned out to be Caesar’s grandson, which Bill knew all along as he grinned from ear to ear as he watched!
For many years, Bill shared a special companionship with Marilyn Russell. After Marilyn died fifteen years ago, Bill had the good fortune of meeting Virginia “Ginnie” Colter. Their first date was to the Root Beer Stand on July 5, 2010. Ginnie saw past his gruff exterior and was attracted to his good sense of values and morals, good looks, and great eyes. Ginnie had a camper, and Bill had a truck; together, they enjoyed many wonderful camping trips at Chain of Lakes.
Bill made his career working as an assembler for Parker Hannifin. He also helped test parts and equipment they produced for airlines. Respected for his expertise, Bill was a proud member of the UAW. While celebrating his retirement with a party, he joined the kids in the bounce house, delighting in sharing the fun.
Resourceful and stubborn, Bill inherited his mother’s unwavering determination. She made him tough and resilient, and that’s what kept him going through life’s challenges. They shared a tremendously strong bond, and in turn, he gave his kids the gifts she’d given him. His unwavering commitment to their well-being came in the form of good and sometimes tough life lessons, high expectations, and endless amounts of love.
Absolutely thrilled to be a grandfather, Bill loved spoiling his grandkids. He told them stories and was particularly mischievous when in their company. They loved combing his hair or riding on the John Deere tractor with him on his 20 acres. He’d purposely hit every hole or divot as they rode the tractor to make them fall off. As with his children, he taught his grandkids how to drive in the winter weather, making them put the car in a snowbank and teaching them how to get out. He even taught them how to turn a proper donut…safely. After his stroke, he maintained his comical side. Once while driving the golf cart with his granddaughter, Lacie, they got stuck in the mud. Ginnie brought the truck out to help, but the truck got stuck too. The mud was all the way up to the doors of Bill’s truck, and the white golf cart was completely brown by the time they got back. From then on, Lacie was known as his partner in crime.
Bill taught his family to go with the flow. Though he couldn’t talk well after the stroke, he was still funny. Often he’d tuck potato chips in his shirt pocket so he had a salty snack when he wanted it. He’d eat potato chips by the bagful, and his coffee cup went everywhere with him. He rarely washed it, and he never wanted a new one.
Though our days with him were far too few, every moment shared with Bill proved a treasure. May we find much comfort in our many treasured memories and in the honor of carrying his legacy forward. In each moment we choose to focus on the good vs. the bad, confidently face life’s challenges, go fishing or camping, or enjoy a salty treat or cup of coffee, we celebrate the many ways Bill showed us how to live a full and contented life. In this way, we keep his persevering spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired each of us.
William Morgan of Vicksburg, age 79, died on June 11, 2023. Bill was born September 24, 1943, in Lowell, NC to Grady and Alice (Jackson) Morgan, who preceded him in death along with his beloved sister, Patricia Bushman; stepfather, Hollis Weston; and stepmother, Pat Morgan; significant other, Marylyn Russell, and her son Bill Surviving are his children: Monica “Candy” (Roger) Durga and Larry (Kara) Morgan; grandchildren: Chelsie and Lacie Morgan, Patricia and Sylvia Durga; partner, Ginnie Colter; niece and nephew, Jennifer “Tickle Pockets” Clark (Wayne) and Paul Burchfield (Heather); Marylyn Russell’s children, Angela and Missy; and many great and great great nieces and nephews.
A Life Story Service will be held Friday, June 16, at 11 AM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, 269-375-2900. A reception will follow in the Life Story Center, where food, drinks, and stories will be shared. Burial at Vicksburg Cemetery. Visit Bill’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to the SPCA of Southwest Michigan or the American Cancer Society.