TRAVERSE CITY — William B. Mathias, 73, of Traverse City, died Feb. 12, 2013, at Munson Medical Center. His wife, Bonnie; his daughters, Angela Saxon and Melinda Mathias-Porter; his sons-in-law, Erik Saxon and Jefferson Porter; his granddaughters, Carina and Aneka Saxon, and Sophia and Josephine Mathias-Porter; his beloved Scottish terrier, Sir Harry Lauder; and his extended family and friends are deeply saddened at this unexpected loss.
Bill was born in East Chicago, Ind., and grew up in Crown Point. He was employed by US Steel until 1999, when he and Bonnie opened a bed and breakfast, the Aberdeen Stone Cottage, in Traverse City.
Bill found his true home in Traverse City. He delighted in living “up north” and being an innkeeper. Bill made wonderful friends in town and at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, where he was always happy to pitch in when there was a need – from working in the UU kitchen and library to helping out with event planning and pastoral care. A lifelong fisherman and a sailor for many years, he became an enthusiastic kayaker, exploring the area’s many lakes and rivers with Bonnie and Harry. For many years, Bill, his family and their friends enjoyed downhill and cross-country skiing together; he also recently took up snowshoeing with Bonnie.
Bonnie and Bill were avid travelers in their unique RV, “the Vixen,” having recently visited New Orleans and Maine. He enjoyed attending the Traverse Symphony Orchestra every month, seeing movies at the State Theatre and wandering around bookstores and even quilt shops. Bill was also very happy riding his bike to the hardware store or just around town with Harry running alongside or in a basket. In fact, Bill and Harry became regular features in their Slabtown neighborhood, and the family continues to encounter people who knew the two from their multiple daily walks. An innovator in the kitchen and sometimes a prankster with his jokes and physical humor, Bill’s bright smile and blue eyes were trademark.
But the greatest joy in Bill’s life was relationships – with his family, his friends and the people he encountered in his everyday life. A devoted husband and proud father, grandfather and uncle, he enthusiastically attended the countless events, plays, performances and other special moments that his immediate and extended family were part of.
“Kind, accepting, warm-hearted” – these words describe Bill’s demeanor and approach to life. All who knew him are feeling the profound absence of such a positive, loving person in their lives. He was taken away from us far, far too soon.
A memorial service is planned for Saturday, April 27, at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Traverse City.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to The Arc of NW Indiana, www.thearcnwindiana.com, an organization that benefits Bonnie’s sister, whom Bill adored.