Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

William J. Telder Jr.

January 7, 1928 - September 14, 2018
Grand Rapids, MI



Wednesday, September 19, 2018
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-8263
Driving Directions


Thursday, September 20, 2018
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT
First Avangelical Church
1933 Tremont Blvd. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Web Site


Thursday, September 20, 2018
11:00 AM EDT
First Evangelical Covenant Church
1933 Tremont Blvd NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 498-0402


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.

Spectrum Health Hospice
750 Fuller Avenue NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(866) 542-7945
Driving Directions
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Honest, hard-working, and creative, William Justin Telder Jr. lived a life rich in family and friends. Principled and confident, Bill was never afraid to share his opinions, nor to stand for what he believed in, while his musical talents ensured good times and his beautiful woodworking afforded many wonderful gifts. A treasured husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Bill’s legacy will long live in the hearts and lives of those who were blessed to know him.

1928 continued to ride the decade’s roaring wave of peace, prosperity, and hope. The nation celebrated the recent inventions of Penicillin, the iron lung, bubble gum, and the Yo-Yo, as well as Charles Lindbergh’s Congressional Medal of Honor and Amelia Earhart becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. While the wave of sweeping social and economic growth rapidly increased, nowhere was there more hope for the future than in the home of William and Matilda (Hug) Telder Sr. as they welcomed their son William Justin Telder Jr. into their hearts and home on January 7th in Holland, MI.

Growing up on the family farm on Vinton Ave., as the oldest of the Telders’ six children, Bill’s childhood was filled with family and hard work. While his father worked the farm and was a factory worker, his mother was a homemaker. Along with his siblings; Marjorie, Marlene, Carroll, Luella, and JoAnn, Bill was responsible for daily farm chores. He often tended the cows, pigs, ducks, and crops. His schooling began at Koon School, the local one-room schoolhouse where he attended through the 8th grade. Bill then attended Sparta High School.

After completing his 10th-grade year of high school, Bill left school to find work to help his family. His first job away from the farm was at Michigan Bumper. He then found work at LW Edison Road Construction and later he worked for Holloway Construction. After a long career, Bill retired from Operating Engineers Local 324.

Bill possessed a love of music and learned at a young age to play bass fiddle and guitar. Naturally talented, Bill was at his happiest when making music. He was particularly honored to play for the USO while he served in the US Army during the Korean War. He and his friends in the Grand Rapids area joined together to form the Grand Valley Playboys; Boden Boys, Carroll "Slim" Emmorey, Kelly Coalter, Sammy Emmorey, Jake Miles, Jr. Hall, Bob Wellman, Lee Cook, Gerald Overla and many others. Over the years, Bill and the guys spent many evenings and weekends playing special events and weddings at Bow Tie, Oxbow, Chicken Coop, The Colony Hotel, and the Howard City Hotel.

During his youth, Bill met Agnes Miles. The pair dated, fell in love, and married in the 1950s. In time, the couple was blessed by the births of their children; Debbie, Rick, Cheryl, Bruce who died as an infant, and Greg. Despite their 17 year marriage ending in divorce, Bill counted his children as the greatest gift of their years together.

A few years later, fate afforded Bill a special gift during a hospital stay when he met Phyllis Kaiser who was working there as a nurse at the time. Instantly smitten, Bill asked her for a date. Soon they found themselves in love and imagining a future together. On March 3, 1969, Bill and Phyllis married and set up home on Newberg NW. Later, the couple purchased a cottage on Upper Lake where many wonderful family memories were made, fishing, boating, and swimming. Bill and Phyllis also enjoyed many trips over the years. They traveled to Branson, MO, took a cruise to Panama, traveled by train to Nashville, and visited Phyllis’ family in Minnesota. They also wintered in Port Richie Florida where they made many new friends.

A deeply opinionated and often stern man, Bill spoke his mind and trusted people could handle his truth. He was a principled man who enjoyed simple pleasures like pan fishing on area lakes, cooking meat and potato centered breakfasts and suppers, reading the daily paper, and cheering on his beloved Detroit Tigers. Bill loved to play cards and spent many an evening at the American Legion Hall Post #47 playing euchre, cribbage, and canasta. Visiting friends at Mr. Burger on weekdays and New Beginnings on Saturday mornings was always something Bill looked forward to. Sundays were about spending time with the family at home while any day was a good day to woodwork. Bill loved to build bluebird and purple martin houses to give to family and friends. The radio was always tuned into his favorite country music station, while TV time was mostly about Westerns and Hee-Haw.

Bill persevered through many health challenges including lung cancer nine years ago, a heart attack, and a brain tumor. Regardless of the struggles that came with each challenge, Bill and Phyllis continued to count their blessings. Their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were always at the top of their gratitude list and any day spent in their good company was a great day.

Bill and Phyllis were blessed to share 49 years together, their adventures only coming to an end just a few short months ago when Phyllis died on April 20th. Bill moved to Covenant Village of the Great Lakes and recently to Green Acres where he died at 2:28 pm on Sept 14, 2018

Though life may feel less certain in the absence of Bill’s steadfast presence, may we find comfort in knowing his legacy lives in each of our hearts and lives. Every time we hear one of his favorite songs, see a bluebird nest in one of his birdhouses, play a game of cards, hook a panfish, or watch a Tigers game we celebrate Bill’s life and the many gifts he gave us.

William J. “Bill” Telder Jr., aged 90, was called home on Friday, September 14, 2018. He was born January 7, 1928 to William and Matilda Telder. Bill retired from the Operating Engineers Local 324 after many years. He also served in the US Army during the Korean War. Bill is survived by his children, Deb and Ross Thomas, Rick and Paula Telder, Cheryl and Bill Boezwinkle; grandchildren, Heather and Darryl, Becki and Chad, Jack and Cindy, Alisha and Jeremy, Justin and Kristen, Jill and Nick, Craig and Tracy, Courtney and Sam, Brandon and Megan and Bruce; great grandchildren, Chandler, Cierra, Gracie, Sydney, Bryce, Caleb, Brittany, Breanna, McKenzie, Alivia, Ava, Cora, Charlotte, Emma and Anna; sisters, Luella Rose, Marlene Whittemore and JoAnn Telder as well as many nieces, nephews and friends. Bill was preceded in death by his wife Phyllis, his sons, Bruce, Greg and infant son, great grandson, Casey Eckert and the mother of his children, Agnes Miles Telder, his parents William and Matilda, sister and brother-in-law, Marjorie and Milton Steinbrecher, brother and sister-in-law, Carroll and Elaine Telder, brother-in-law, Larry Rose and nephew, Larry Steinbrecher. A service to celebrate Bill’s life will be held on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 11:00 am at First Evangelical Covenant Church, 1933 Tremont Blvd. NW. Burial in Rosedale Cemetery. Relatives and friends may meet his family on Wednesday Sept. 19, from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at Heritage Lifestory Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, and again at the church on Thursday from 10:00 am until the service begins at 11:00 am. The family wishes to thank the staffs of Covenant Village of the Great Lakes, Green Acres of Cedar Springs and Spectrum Health Hospice, for the love and care given to Bill and his family these past several weeks. Contributions in his memory may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice. To read more about Bills Life, To sign his guest book and to leave your own memory of him, visit his web page at www.lifestorynet.com