William H. ‘Bill’ Whippen
MUNISING, MI – William H. “Bill” Whippen, age 90, of Munising, died at his home peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, March 2, 2017.
He was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on July 9, 1926 to the late William and Dorothy “Dot” (Lynch) Whippen, Sr. Bill grew up in the Great Depression and saw many of the struggles of the time. By the age of fourteen, Bill’s father had died, and he had dropped out of school and began working. Bill worked for the Moxie Company, a producer of pop and “near beer” and eventually worked on the bottling line of Canadian Dry Club Soda. He then worked as a spot welder in the Fore River Ship Yard in Quincy, MA.
When Bill was seventeen, he tried to enter the U.S. Navy and was denied because of his eyesight. He then tried to enlist in the Army, and was denied because he was too small. With some persistence and eating lots of bananas, his recruiter passed Bill through. After basic training, Bill attended Radio Repair School and then eventually was stationed with the Signal Corps on Shemya in the Aleutian Islands. He was also stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
After being honorably discharged, Bill earned his high school diploma from Scott High School in Toledo, OH, and began taking courses at the University of Toledo. While working as a mail carrier for the U.S. Post Office, Bill was introduced to Janet Berg. He was “struck with a thunderbolt” when he saw her, and on November 25, 1950 they were married. As newlyweds, Janet had just finished her Nursing program, and Bill went back to U of T and earned a B.A. in education and secondary teacher’s certificate. He was offered a teaching job in Monroe, MI, but did not have all required certificates. So with an exemption to teach, he simultaneously earned his Master’s in education with a double major in history and English, and a minor psychology. While helping a fellow teacher, Bill was asked to help with a project in a special education class room. The more time he spent with these students, the more he realized he could make a difference in their lives. Back to school again to earn his special education certificate, and now Bill had found his niche. He taught special education in the Monroe-Jefferson School District, Trenton, MI, and the Marquette-Alger Intermediate School District until her retired in 1981.
Bill served on several DNR Committees and was chair of the Alger County Solid Waste Advisory Committee working to bring the Landfill to Munising. He was an active member of the Lions Club and was District Governor in 1985. He was also vice-president then president of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, parent of the Sportsman’s Club. Bill served on the Munising City Commission from 1986 to 1988 and filled in as the City Manager for a year in 2001.
Bill enjoyed reading, golfing, baking and was an avid hunter and fisherman. He was devoted to his wife and family, and served the public every chance he could. He will forever be remembered for his generosity to many charities, churches, and foundations.
He is survived by his wife of over sixty-six years – Janet Whippen of Munising; children Bill Whippen of Clinton, MI and Janice (Stuart) Meyer of Onsted, MI; grandchildren – Jeff (Jenn) Meyer of Munising and Leslie (Brent) McMordie of Brooklyn, MI; great-grandkids – Brynnlee, Quinn, Alayna, and Elise; brothers-in-law – Bob Cole and Leonard Berg; sister-in-law Sharon Whippen; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins. Bill was preceded in death by his parents – William and Dot; stepfather – Clement Niemeyer; siblings – Barbara Cole and Bob Whippen, brothers and sisters-in-law – Judy (Austin) Marsh, Mabel (John) Jannick, Carl Berg, and Gladys Berg; and mother and father-in-law August and Ester Berg
Visitation will be on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at the Eden Lutheran Church in Munising, from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. Pastor Ann Gonyea will conduct Bill’s memorial service at 12:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in Bill’s name may be made to the Eden Lutheran Church. Bill’s obituary and guestbook may be viewed and signed at www.bowermanfuneralhome.net