Traverse City Record-Eagle


May 13, 2014

Elmer 'Al' R. Will

LAKE LEELANAU – Elmer “Al” Roy Will, 94, of Lake Leelanau and formerly of Kalamazoo, passed away April 27, 2014, at Just A Whisper Assisted Living.

Al was born on July 28, 1919 in Chicago, the son of Henry and Matilda (Tomnitz) Will. He married Josephine “Jodie” who preceded him in death.

Al was raised in Chicago and at the young age of nine he met the infamous Al Capone. Mr. Capone was the financial sponsor of a bowling team of which young Al’s father was a member. A graduate of a private Lutheran high school, Al was the sports editor for the school newspaper and with his friends, formed a talented band that played gigs around the community. In his later years Al continued to play his keyboard, write lyrics, and was always humming a tune.

Al worked as a personnel manager of a small steel company, got into the vending machine business, and later moved to Kalamazoo where he spent most of his life as a realtor. Al was one of the last surviving founding members of the Gary Fund and former president of the Bronco Club at Western Michigan University. He loved dogs, going to the casino, sports, music, card games, and conversation. He moved to the Traverse City area in the 1990’s because he thought it was the best place on earth.

A diehard Chicago Cubs fan, Al tried to live long enough to see them win a World Series. Al’s life can best be summed by phrase, “the bases are loaded, it’s the top of the 9th, and he just hit a home run!”

Per Al’s wishes, cremation has taken place and private services have been held.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Animal Rescue Project, 219 Peekstock, Kalamazoo, MI 49001.

Please share memories of Al at his online obituary at

Arrangements are with the Martinson Funeral Home of Suttons Bay.



Text Only

Death Notices

Deaths in the Region
Archived Obituaries