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Life Story / Obituary
Bill Briggs was a genuine person to know and love. He modeled a lifetime of giving selflessly of his time and resources to supporting others over the years. There is no doubt that his warm presence will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered.
The 1950s were exciting times indeed with the many talents of professional sports figures, musicians, and movie stars such as Mickey Mantle, Elvis Presley, and James Dean. This decade exuded the spirit of optimism as well as traditional values. During the midst of this decade, Bill grew up one of eight children in the Briggs’ household. His birth brought much joy and happiness to the family home.
Growing up at 485 Maynard Avenue SW, Bill lived a typical childhood of the times. He and a group of neighborhood kids along with his siblings played outdoors from dawn until dusk. Between fishing, biking, or playing in the local creek, they found their fair share of mischief. He attended Oakgrove, the one-room schoolhouse at the corner of Maynard and Butterworth, for his early elementary years and then moved on to East Elementary in Grandville when Oakgrove closed. For most of these years, he was playing alongside the cousins to his future wife, Jaci.
Bill wasn’t much interested in his studies, yet he excelled on the football and wrestling teams. He also loved to tinker with cars and enjoyed socializing with friends. Ambitious to earn his own wages, he also held a job after graduating from high school at McMurry Distributing as well as various odd jobs. Jaci and Bill shared time with her cousins who essentially brought the two of them together. After a short engagement, they joined in marriage in April of 1974. The happy couple honeymooned on Mackinac Island and in St. Ignace for a long weekend before returning to the Briggs’ family home they shared with his mother. Six months later, they moved into their family home at Mountain Ash Street in Walker and started their family.
As a father, Bill was delighted with having two daughters that were the apple of his eye. Kari and Niki remember him as an active dad who enjoyed making them laugh. Once, they caught him doing a rain dance to make it rain for their vegetable garden. Gardening together was a favorite pastime. They also enjoyed joining him on fishing trips to the gravel pits and seeing him on the sidelines or in the audience of their softball games and band concerts. During their growing years, he and Jaci moved their family back to the old neighborhood to 695 Maynard just six houses away from his birth home. Bill loved raising his own kids in his old stomping grounds! Special highlights of their growing years were their memorable trips to the Detroit Zoo and Mackinac Island. It was evident to all who knew him that nothing mattered more to Bill than sharing time with his daughters. Bill was a tremendous grandpa as well, he was known for wearing silly headbands, allowing for a co-pilot when mowing the grass, and visitors to his knife collection.
A strong provider, Bill worked to ensure the best for his family. He worked as a welder at Haven Bush for ten years before they closed their doors, and eventually moved on to the Kent County Road Commission. In the summer months, he enjoyed his time repairing the roads and snow plowing in the winter. Sadly, in 1997, Bill was involved in a work-related accident that started a large number of health concerns. He continued to work until he was able to retire in 2017. In their earlier married years, they loved heading to the Berlin Raceway! During this time, Bill and Jaci enjoyed being active with friends, visiting local taverns and enjoying nights on the town. When it came time for his special hobbies, he loved going deer hunting with his buddies during both bow and rifle season as well as cheering on his Detroit Lions. A quiet man, Bill treasured the simple pleasures in life.
Over the summer he was given a stage four cancer diagnosis. A true warrior, Bill fought his short battle with cancer right up until the end of his life. He will forever be remembered for his kindness and integrity. May his memories be eternal and his legacy of living life without holding a grudge or saying a bad word about anyone live on in the hearts and minds of those he cherished.
William (Bill) Briggs of Walker, MI passed away on September 5, 2022, with his loving family by his side. Bill is survived by his wife of 48 years, Jaci (Maricle) Briggs. He is also survived by his daughters; Kari Allen and Niki (Jared) Smitter, as well as his grandchildren; Makenzie Smitter and Grady Allen. Bill will be fondly remembered for his love of the outdoors and his family. He is preceded in death by his brother, Dan Briggs, and sisters; Ruth Vredeveld and Bonnie (Leon) Garven. A funeral service in memory of Bill will be held at Heritage Life Story Funeral home, Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, on Monday, September 12, 2022, at 1:00 pm. Family and friends may visit Bill’s family on Sunday, September 11, 2022, starting from 2:00 pm unit 4:00 pm at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive. To sign his guest book, or leave a memory or picture please visit his memory page at www.heritagelifestory.com