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Wallin Congragational Church
1550 Oswego NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around him, William “Bill” Davis made the most of the days he was given. When he loved, he loved with all his heart, and there was no greater gift in his life than his family. Bill was a devoted family man, and there was nothing that made him more proud than witnessing his family tree blossom to include grandchildren. great-grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren later in life. A longtime member of the community he loved, Bill was the sort of person everyone knew and loved. Although he will be deeply missed, he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
It was great to be an American during the 1920s. Jazz music, ballroom dancing, and motion pictures in both color and sound colored the cultural fabric of our nation while advancements like radios, refrigerators, and cars that were widely mass produced on assembly lines were signs of the time. Amidst this exciting time was the year 1922 when Willam Robert drew his first breath on July 25th in Grandville, Michigan. Sadly, his mother died when he was just a young boy of two, leaving his father, Warren Davis, to raise him as a single father until he remarried when Bill was just a young boy.
Raised in the family home on Straight Street on the WestSide of Grand Rapids, Bill was a typical young boy of his generation. They later moved to 754 Wealthy St. SW where he attended Burton Heights Elementary. Bill then went on to Union High School where he was in the ROTC for all four years.
Not to be forgotten during his years as a young man was Bill’s introduction to the woman of his dreams. Her name was Audrey Wanrooy, and although the seeds of their love were planted, Bill joined the United States Army when our nation became involved in the fight for our freedoms after the vicious attack on Pearl Harbor, sending him overseas. Bill served from October 29, 1942, until December 8, 1945, as part of the Pacific Theater. During this time, Audrey wrote him letters, and their love continued to grow. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Bill and Audrey were married on February 9, 1945, at Wallin Congregational Church. This was their church home the rest of Bill’s life.
The newlyweds were eager to begin their new lives together. They initially settled above his parents’ home on Straight Street, and Bill took a job at American Seating. Later on, he worked for Steelcase, and this is where he worked for 30 years until retiring. Together Bill and Audrey welcomed two children, Cheryl in 1949 and Rick in 1951, into their hearts and home. Their growing family later moved to a home on 6th Street, NW, and then to a home on Sierra, NW, in Grand Rapids.
Throughout his life Bill was a man of many interests. He loved hunting and pan fishing, and although he wasn't much of a cook he did make breakfast every Sunday. For years they took a family vacation renting a cottage on Lake Mitchell in Cadillac, and then they finally bought a cottage of their own on Little Whitefish Lake. Some of their best summer memories were made there as they did plenty of swimming, boating, and fishing over a period of 53 years. Bill and Audrey also spent much time vacationing with their Steelcase friends, often taking trips to the East Coast. They even went to Hawaii for their 25th wedding anniversary.
Later in life Bill experienced both peaks and valleys. He was filled with unspeakable joy to become a grandfather, and he loved being there for his grandchildren’s events and activities. This also continued with his great-grandchildren as well. As Bill had various health issues, he and Audrey moved to Elmcroft Senior Living where they received good care without the responsibilities of having a home.
All who knew William “Bill” Davis would agree that he was an extraordinary man to know and love. He and his wife exemplified what marriage is truly intended to be, and there was nothing he loved more than being a father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather. A friend to all, Bill will be forever missed.
William R. “Bill” Davis, aged 95 of Kentwood, passed away on Friday morning, December 22, 2017. He was preceded in death by his daughter and son-in-law, Cheryl (Ray) Mitchel, and his grandson, Burton Post. He is survived by his loving wife of 72 years, Audrey Davis (Wanrooy) ; his son and daughter-in-law, Rick and Lynn Davis; his grandchildren; Heidi (Rick) Stanley, Heather (Eddie) Salazar; 5 great grandchildren and 2 great great grandchildren; nieces, nephews and many friends. Bill was a loving and dedicated, husband, father and grandfather. He retired from Steelcase Furniture Co. He honorably served his country in the US Army during World War II, and was a member of Wallin Congregational Church. Bill will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered. A service to celebrate his life will be held on Wednesday, December 27 at 11:00 am at Heritage Lifestory funeral Home – 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Burial in Greenwood Cemetery. Relatives and friends may meet his family at the funeral home on Wednesday from 10:00 am until the service begins at 11:00 am. Contributions in his memory may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice or Wallin Congregational Church. To sign Bill’s guest book and to leave your own memory of him visit his web page at www.lifestorynet.com.