GLADSTONE - William (Bill) French, 86, of Gladstone, passed away on Feb. 9, 2013, at the Veterans Hospital in Iron Mountain after a brief illness.
He was born on Feb. 25, 1926, in Iron Mountain, Mich., son of Homer and Edith (LaFreniere) French. He spent his childhood in Harris, Mich., where he worked on the family farm and attended school. He also worked at his brother's grocery store until enlisting in the Marine Corp. He served as a military policeman during World War II and was stationed at Pearl Harbor for most of his tour.
On Aug. 2, 1947, he married Margaret Blowers of Nahma, Mich. They made their home in Escanaba while Bill worked on the line crew for the railroad. He later went to work for the American Playground Device Company as a machinist in Anderson, Ind., and then relocated to Nahma. He retired and then went to work as a bartender at Mac's Bar.
Bill enjoyed snowmobiling, hunting, going to camp and working in his shop. He spent many hours firing up his smokehouse for sausage and fish. He made a delicious meat pie and suburb potato sausage. He had traveled to all 50 states and loved to talk about the National Parks and the beauty of the country.
He is survived by his son, Don (Mary) of Escanaba; former daughter-in-law, Julie Gullickson of Grafton, Wis.; grandchildren, Amber, JR and Steven French of Grafton; Heather (Dave) Heinz of Laurium; Nicole (Mark) Harris of Gladstone; and Billy Alberts of Phoenix, Ariz.; great-grandchildren, Brianne Forrest; Coleton, Emily, Isaac, MaKaela, and Molly French; Jenna and Nick Heinz; Madison Harris and Ayden and Duveigh Alberts; sisters, LaVonna Sarasin and Verna Trinkle; many nieces and nephews including two special nieces, Marlene and Ione; and his "extended family" at the American Legion Post 71 in Gladstone where he was a lifetime member.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret; daughters, Linda and Mary; son, Rick; and son-in-law, Harold Alberts; brothers, Arliss, Homer, Vernon and Willard; and sisters, Bea, Ione, Merle and Gladys; and four infant grandchildren.
In keeping with Bill's wishes, there will be no services. Burial will be at Moss Lake Cemetery in the spring. Skradski Funeral Homes of Escanaba and Gladstone and Escanaba are assisting the French family. Please visit www.skradskifuneralhomes.com where you can express your sympathy to the French family, or to leave a memory tribute about Bill.