William “Bill” Allen Willadsen, 91, died on December 6, 2015 at Bickford of Urbandale due to complications from Alzheimer’s Disease.
Bill was born on February 5, 1924 in Pomeroy, Iowa to Christian Larsen and Mary Caroline (Hansen) Willadsen. He was the only son of five children. He lived, worked and attended school in Pomeroy until his graduation from high school in 1941.
With the outbreak of WWII, Bill enlisted in the Navy in early 1942. He served aboard destroyer escorts on convoy duty in the North Atlantic and on APD-44 in preparation for the planned invasion of Japan. He was honorably discharged in 1946 as a Radioman 2nd Class.
In 1947, he took a job with NW Bell as a lineman in Storm Lake, Iowa. A short time later, he met a young lady at a dance in Fort Dodge. After a short courtship, he married Doris Elaine Kepler of Webster City on September 5, 1947. From a union that lasted almost sixty-eight years, until Doris’ death in February of this year, three sons were born.
Bill spent the next ten years working for Bell and raising his growing family in Storm Lake. He also served as a union steward during this period. In 1956, after schooling, he was assigned a management position as a project engineer in Des Moines. Eventually, Bill was promoted into the company’s Settlements/Separations Office. In this capacity, he eventually became one of a handful of people who could administer the myriad of Federal Laws governing what independent phone companies would pay to use the Bell network. With the breakup of Bell this work became even more complex. So much so, that after is retirement in 1987 from Bell, Bill was recruited by NECA as Group manager for Iowa and Minnesota. He retired for good in 1992. Bill was proud of his 45 years of service and always felt he had been treated fairly by his bosses and enjoyed knowing many of those he worked with over the years.
While Bill was a far more complex and compassionate man to those who knew him better, he was very much the decent, plain spoken, intellectually honest and hard working man his whole life reflected. He would never knowingly take dishonest advantage of others nor allow anyone to take the same advantage of him. Bill was a man who knew how he must live his life, but understood that others must come to their own truth in their own way and time; if they ever do. He had a deep believe in God, but never wore his religion on his sleeve nor thought he had anymore religious insight then any other sincere seeker. Bill believed what he believed and lived his life accordingly.
Although Bill never attached much value to material things and was never impressed by those who did, he was a generous man. He would often go without so that his family could have an opportunity or something better. Bill would just as soon sit down with friends, have a cold beer, play some cards and enjoy a good laugh then anything else money could buy.
Bill was preceded in death by his wife; his youngest son, Chris; his parents and three sisters. He is survived by his other sons, Rick (Kathie) and Dennis (Ellen); a sister, Betty Lou Collins; granddaughters, Amy Bocken (Greg) and Lisa Lalisan (Joe); grandsons, David and Daniel Willadsen; great-granddaughter, Melissa Lalisan; great-grandsons, Joshua Lalisan, Mathew, Patrick and Conner Bocken; brother-in-law, Robert Kepler; and numerous other relatives and friends.
A memorial service will be held on Sunday, December 13, 2015 at the Merle Hay Funeral Home in Des Moines. Visitation will be from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm, with the service beginning shortly there after. Memorial donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Iowa Chapter. Online condolences may be made at www.iowafuneralplanning.com
The family would like to thank the staff of Bickford of Urbandale and Unity Point Hospice for their professionalism and compassion that made Bill’s last years as enjoyable and comfortable as possible.