CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — William John Marquis, formerly of Traverse City, died Aug. 29, 2013, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Bill was born on Aug. 1, 1926, in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Shortly after turning 18 Bill enlisted in the U.S. Army and served from 1944 to 1947. He was a World War II veteran and was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Purple Heart and Bronze Star for that service. In 1950 he joined the U.S. Air Force and served in the Korean War.
While traveling to his assignment at Empire Air Force Base he met his future wife at the J&S restaurant in Traverse City. He and Maxine Durga were married on March 15, 1952, at St. Francis Chapel.
After his discharge in 1954 he entered the carpentry trade, working primarily for Shugart Builders and Grand Traverse Construction during his career. His acquired skills led to a love of woodworking, specializing in refinishing furniture and making wood toys.
Bill never met a stranger, and after his retirement he thoroughly enjoyed keeping a stash of small handmade cars in his truck to hand out to children, police officers and firefighters that he encountered on his daily travels around town.
Bill also loved spending time with family and was known for his off-key rendition of “Happy Birthday” at family parties. In 2008 he moved to the Chattanooga area to be closer to his daughter.
Bill was preceded in death by his wife in 1995; and his brother, Robert in 1997.
He is survived by his son, Robert (Carol Kelly), of St. Louis, Mo.; his daughter, Janice (James) Griffin, of Ooltewah, Tenn.; his grandson, Robert (Kara) Griffin, of Blacksburg, Va.; his granddaughters, Zoe and Emma Marquis-Kelly, also from St. Louis; his sister-in-law, Dorothy Kjergaard, of Benzonia; and numerous nephews and nieces.
Family is invited to a graveside service at Oakwood Cemetery on Friday, Nov. 29, at 1 p.m. Family and friends are invited to a celebration of Bill’s life at the VFW Hall on Veterans Drive from 2 to 5 p.m. that same day.