William R. Illgen was finally reunited with the love of his life on May 27, 2016, at the age of 99. He was born in Medford, WI on April 27, 1917, son of William Illgen and Sophia Josephine Persinski. Bill spent his younger years living in the Merrill area with his mother and stepfather Carl Wyland. Bill was always there for friends and neighbors to lend a hand, and never met a stranger who he wasn’t willing to help. He was a gentle man who loved his family and many friends. He has spent the last three years residing at Mount View (Gardenside Crossing) where he was known as “Sweet William” by those who cared for him. He thrived with the attention and care he received while living there. On July 23, 1939, he married Winifred L. Perry, who preceded him in death on April 27, 2001. He held a very interesting life and saw many great things during his lifetime. He was a WWII veteran who served the U.S. Navy from 1942-1946, on the aircraft carriers USS Cowpens and the Capella. He was a proud Veteran who was able to go on the Honor Flight in 2014 with his grandson, Curtis Cantrell. He was very moved by this trip, and the welcome home they received. It brought him to tears and flooded him with many memories of his service. After his time in the service, he returned and worked for his father-in-law, J.W. Perry, as a sales route driver for the wholesale florist business. He was also a manager and route supervisor for Clark Oil Co. in the Merrill area as well as DePere, WI. He ended his working years at the famous Kapok Tree Inn, as a manager, in Clearwater, FL. Bill enjoyed the outdoors including hunting, fishing (of any kind) and meeting weekly with his Popcorn Club buddies. His love of family was the most important thing in his life. He was always willing to help with anything that came up with his kids and grandchildren. He loved his dogs and we never knew what he was going to bring home next. He was an avid collector of many things and enjoyed any kind of project. His imagination knew no boundaries when it came to a hot glue gun. We had many laughs over his creations through the years. He always had the best of intentions and we will always remember him with laughter and a smile. Survivors include his son, Larry (Linda) Illgen, Blairsville, GA, daughter, Sandra Illgen, Merrill, WI; grandchildren, Felicia (Jackie) Hunter, Hiawasse, GA, Larry (Faye) Illgen, Fort Mills, SC, Curtis Cantrell, Oshkosh, WI, Cyle (Stephanie) Cantrell, Chicago, IL, Crystal Soderlund (fiance Tyler), Merrill, WI; brother, Raymond (Evelyn) Wyland, Clearwater, FL; nephew, Kurt (Jill) Wyland, Wellington, FL, niece, Andrea Wyland, Charlotte, NC; great-grandchildren, Max, Alyssa, Samantha, Drake, Brianna, Nicholas, Ayden, and Noelle.
Funeral services for William will be held on Wednesday, June 1, 2016 at 11am at St. Stephen’s United Church of Christ in Merrill. Rev. Kyle Carnes will officiate. Visitation will be held on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 from 4pm-8pm at Waid Funeral Home, and again on Wednesday, June 1, 2016 from 9am until the time of the service, at the church. Burial will follow at Merrill Memorial Park Cemetery. Military honors will be performed by the Merrill VFW Post #1638. The family would like to extend their gratitude to Aspirus Ministry Hospice for their years of support and care. Waid Funeral Home of Merrill is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be made at www.waidfuneral.com.