Willis "Bill" Lutz, 88, of Traverse City, passed away Saturday, March 23, 2013 in Traverse City, Michigan. Bill was born June 15, 1924 in Oil City, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Willis and Beulah (Good) Lutz. He graduated from Fordson High School in Dearborn, Michigan. After completion of high school he joined the United States Navy and from there moved into the Marine Corp. Air Division and trained as a pilot. On May 6, 1944 Bill married his high school sweet heart, Virginia Waller, at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida. During the Korean War he served as a pilot.
When the war was over Bill worked for Sears, Roebuck and Company in Daley City, California. The family relocated in 1968 to Traverse City, Michigan to purchase the Brier Hill Motel. In 1974 the motel was sold and he began a 30 plus year career in cherry farming on the Old Mission Peninsula.
Bill was an active member of the Traverse City Masonic Lodge. He attended Faith Reformed Church since 1979. He participated in many civic projects. His favorite travel destination was New Zealand. Also, he was an avid University of Michigan fan. He was a season ticket holder of U of M football games for 36 years. Go Blue!
Bill was the father of 4 children: Karen (Lynn) Collins, David (Cathy) Lutz, Pamela (Alan) Ellsworth, and Virginia Arnold. He is the grandfather of 24 grandchildren and 55 great grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his wife, Virginia, and his sister, Jane Hill. Bill remarried in October of 2012 to Sue Loomis, who survives him.
He will be remembered for reciting the "Cremation of Sam Magee", buying everyone Turtle Sundaes, and the beautiful garden that he and Virginia grew and shared with everyone. He was always ready to help anyone who had needs, whether they needed a ride to the doctor, to get to the hair dresser, or just give kind word encouragement.
Bill will be truly missed by all the family and his many friends.
The family thanks Munson Hospice House for their kind and loving care and service during the last days of life.
A graveside service with military honors will be held Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 2 p.m. at the Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Covell Funeral Home of Traverse City.