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1947 William "Bill" 2024

William "Bill" Walraven

April 8, 1947 — January 10, 2024


William (Bill) Richard Walraven lost his battle with esophageal cancer early in the morning on January 10 at the age of 76. He died at home after a 10-month battle with the cancer.


Bill was born on April 8, 1947, in Hinsdale, Illinois to Robert and June Walraven. Bill and his family moved to Green Bay and he attended elementary school there. He loved telling the story of Bart Starr giving him a piggyback ride from the practice field to the locker rooms because Gary Knafelc was riding Bill’s bike. When Bill’s dad was hired by Wisconsin Public Service in Wausau, Bill and the family moved first to Schofield and then Wausau.


Bill was active in Boy Scouts and was very proud to have earned his Eagle Scout Award. He often said he was working on his Eagle Scout of Life Award; he valued continuous learning. Bill attended DC Everest High School and graduated in 1965. He was fiercely tied to his class and attended class reunions whenever they were held.


Bill had a journey through college which ended with a Bachelor of Science in Physics from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and later a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. He taught for a brief period and then held multiple business and construction roles. He became a Salesperson for the Wausau Buyer’s Guide during its formative years and then went on to hold a Vice President role in the mid-1970s.


In 1976, Bill had a motorcycle accident that almost ended his life. He was paralyzed from the neck down, in a coma for four days and hospitalized for weeks. He wasn’t expected to live, and if he lived, the doctors thought he would be in a health care center for the rest of his life. However, God had other plans and Bill’s tenacity had him relearning many basic things due to the traumatic brain injury (TBI). He started running and eventually participated in mini-Marathons.


Bill often told the story of the accident and always ended with “It was at this point that I knew God was in charge, I began spending more time getting to know Him.” Bill accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He was granted 47 more years after the accident and now has gone home to Jesus.


Bill was hired as Exploring Executive for Samoset Council and met Julie Plath in 1979 at an Exploring Road Rally and married her in 1980. They bonded over a love for self-improvement in the early days combined with an exploration of entrepreneurial pursuits. Bill supported Julie in whatever she attempted, including launching her own business, Design Resumes LLC.


Bill and Julie have two sons, Timothy and Daniel. After several years as Property Managers in Wausau and Naperville with Julie, Bill became a general contractor and home inspector for the remainder of his career.


Bill was a storyteller and true extrovert. His TBI affected his short-term memory among other things, so he often forgot what he told you. Always open to meeting new people, he could start a conversation in the grocery store with a total stranger. It made life interesting.


Active in a church throughout his life, Bill joined Julie at Downtown Mission Church (DMC) and after Covid made it his regular place of worship. His DMC family was especially supportive in his cancer journey, helping to drive to appointments and helping with many other details.


Bill is survived by his wife, Julie, two sons, Timothy and Daniel, both of Wausau, granddaughter, Willow, was born on November 27, Bill’s first day of chemo. His siblings include Donald (Sandy) Walraven, Seattle, WA; Nancy Walraven, Mesa, AZ, and David Walraven, Chandler, AZ. He was preceded in death by his parents and Julie’s parents, Robert and Marion Plath.


A Celebration of Life event will be held in warmer weather. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Downtown Mission Church, 310 North 4th Street, Wausau, WI.

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