Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — BINGHAM TOWNSHIP — William John Grant, 68, of Bingham Township, passed away Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, at his home surrounded by his loving family. Bill was born Aug. 30, 1945, in Lake Leelanau, the son of John and Jeannette (Schaub) Grant.
In June 1965 Bill was drafted into the U.S. Army, spent 1½ years in Vietnam and was sent home with a Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge and several other honors.
After returning home Bill married the true love of his life, Diane L. Skowronski, of Suttons Bay, in St. Michael’s Church in Suttons Bay on Oct. 26, 1968.
During their years together Bill and Diane started many successful businesses. Their first business together was Grant’s Ariel Bucket Service in 1977. Later that year they added the stump removal service. In the summer of ‘79 they sold the ariel bucket service to Leonardo’s Tree Service, with the stump removal business still running strong.
During the many years of the stump removal service Bill’s love of the Whopper at Burger King grew! Bill could pull into any Burger King in Traverse City with the big red truck and they would have his order ready for him!
At the same time of running the stump removal service, Bill and two of his brothers, with the help of Michigan State University, invented a mechanical strawberry harvester. Bill and Diane had the strawberry farm until the construction of Veronica Valley Golf Course in the summer of 1987. Bill and Diane, with the help of family and friends, opened Veronica Valley in the spring of 1991.
Bill loved to “run away” from the hustle and bustle and spend time with his family having picnics at the cabin.
In 2004 Bill and Diane decided to close the golf course because the Parkinson’s Disease was making it too difficult for Bill to work.
Bill enjoyed working with his son, Jeremy and their team of draft horses, wood carving and spending his birthday with his grandkids at “the ocean,” aka Peterson Park in Northport. As his Parkinson’s Disease progressed he loved golf cart rides with “his queen.”
All of his life Bill loved the company of family and friends. In his last days Bill was able to enjoy family picnics, a trip to the “ocean” and one final hayride.
Bill is survived by his wife, Diane; his children, Melissa Grant, Rachel (Jim) Plamondon, Jeremy (Anne) Grant and Melanie (Pat) Herman; a sister-in-law, Phyllis Grant; siblings, James (Dorothy) Grant, Mary (Jerome) Kolarik, Jane (Dick) Strang, Matt (Jolie) Grant, Joe (Laurie) Grant, Monica (Larry) Cornell and Ann Hohl; and seven grandchildren, Tate Wilson, William Grant, Leah Plamondon, Lucas Plamondon, Garrett Grant, Lily Herman and Kenneth Grant.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, David; and a brother-in-law, William Hohl.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12, with the rosary to be prayed at 7 p.m., at St. Mary’s Church of Lake Leelanau. The Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 13, with visitation one hour prior to the Mass, also at the church. Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery. Father Michael Janowski will serve as celebrant.
Memorials may be directed to St. Mary School, c/o Guardian Angel Program, PO Box 340, Lake Leelanau, MI 49653; Grand Traverse Area Parkinson’s Support Group (GTAP), 10049 E. Grandview Ct., Traverse City, MI 49684-5307; and/or Mass Intentions.
Please share memories with Bill’s family at the online obituary at www.martinson.info.
Arrangements are with the Martinson Funeral Home of Suttons Bay.