Bill had many friends from all walks of life. I first met Bill when I was working at the museum. I wrote a blog about him here.
Bill died with his boots on working in the yard doing something with his lawn mower. Bill was 80 years old. He was born in Canada and raised in a home without running water or electricity. His Dad worked for the Railroad. They moved to Northern Northern Minnesota vs Southern Northern Minnesota. After graduating from High School he went into the Air Force, with the GI Bill he went to school in Bemidji MN and then the University of Minnesota and got a degree in Biology, decided teaching and the classroom was not for him...so he went to Medical School.
He was a Doctor in the ER in Washington State for 9 years then he had a heart attack at the age of 39...city living had taken its toll. Seeking solitude and cold ( he liked cold weather) he headed to the Arctic Circle in Alaska. He worked there for a number of years...he visited his village by dogsled, the other three doctors there used planes to get to outlying villages....but not Bill. A nurse caught his eye and much later they would marry.
He came back to Minnesota to care for his aging Mother and in 1987 he married that Nurse he took a liking to in the Far North.
Bill and Janice have a primitive cabin...with a super dooper pooper outhouse in the Park Rapids area. Bill moved that outhouse a few years back and dug a new hole for it...it was quite a story as he dug so deep he had a hard time getting back out! Bill joined our woodcarving group. Bill made 12 Nyckelharpas in his lifetime and would carve the keys at woodcarving and tell us stories. He was a character...a good one...someone who was a pleasure to call a friend. We would compare what kind of wildlife we had going through our yards and which birds we were feeding. One of his favorite sayings was "Get over it!"
Until yesterday I had only heard one Nyckelharpa played at a time...there were at least ten being played in tribute to Bill. There are only 20 Nyckelharpa players in Minnesota and half of them were there at the funeral.
Bill's friend who makes Maple Sugar gave the eulogy and The Doctor's Doctor gave a blessing for The Healer. They along with the button accordion player and storyteller all gave Bill a good send off accompanied with lots of music.
We stayed for a funeral lunch; pretzel buns, ham, turkey, cheese, vegetables, fruit and cookies.
I was back home just after dark..
A photo of Bill I took in 2013.
Rest In Peace my friend.Far Side