TRAVERSE CITY — Willis “Bill” Lutz, 88, of Traverse City, passed away Saturday, March 23, 2013, in Traverse City.
Bill was born June 15, 1924, in Oil City, Pa. He was the son of Willis and Beulah (Good) Lutz. He graduated from Fordson High School in Dearborn, Mich. After completion of high school, he joined the United States Navy and from there moved into the Marine Corps Air Division and trained as a pilot. On May 6, 1944, Bill married his high school sweetheart, Virginia Waller, at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Fla. During the Korean War he served as a pilot.
When the war was over, Bill worked for Sears, Roebuck and Company in Daley City, Calif. The family relocated in 1968 to Traverse City to purchase the Brier Hill Motel. In 1974, the motel was sold and he began a 30-plus year career in cherry farming on the Old Mission Peninsula.
Bill was an active member of the Traverse City Masonic Lodge. He had attended Faith Reformed Church since 1979. He participated in many civic projects. His favorite travel destination was New Zealand. Also, he was an avid University of Michigan fan. He was a season ticket holder of U of M football games for 36 years. Go Blue!
Bill was the father of four children, Karen (Lynn) Collins, David (Cathy) Lutz, Pamela (Alan) Ellsworth, and Virginia Arnold. He was the grandfather of 24 grandchildren and 55 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Virginia; and his sister, Jane Hill.
Bill remarried in October of 2012 to Sue Loomis, who survives him.
He will be remembered for reciting the “Cremation of Sam Magee,” buying everyone Turtle Sundaes, and the beautiful garden that he and Virginia grew and shared with everyone. He was always ready to help anyone who had needs, whether they needed a ride to the doctor, to get to the hair dresser, or just to give a kind word of encouragement.
Bill will be truly missed by all the family and his many friends.
The family thanks Munson Hospice House for their kind and loving care and service during the last days of Bill’s life.
A graveside service with military honors will be held Tuesday, March 26, at 2 p.m. at Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Covell Funeral Home of Traverse City.