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William J. WipperfurthApril 1, 1932 ~ December 13, 2016 (age 84)
William J. Wipperfurth, age 84, of Spring Lake, MI and Long Boat Key, FL, passed away Dec. 13, 2016 peacefully at his Spring Lake home surrounded by loving family. He was born April 1, 1932 to William and Elizabeth (McLellan) Wipperfurth in Grand Haven and married Diana Horton on March 7, 1953 in Angola, IN. Bill graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Michigan State University where he was a member of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity.
During his ambitious entrepreneurial career, Bill served as President and owner of numerous construction corporations building commercial and industrial metal buildings. They included Tri-Cities Construction and Supply, which grew into Topper Construction, Inc., both with headquarters in MI and FL. Tri-Cities Construction, Inc. was at one time the largest Stran Steel builder in the U.S. He was soon inducted into the Michigan Metal Building Dealers Association Hall of Fame. Known as a keen businessman, he also invested in a wide variety of ventures throughout his life including restaurants, malls, marinas, and property management. It was a job at Procter and Gamble that gave Bill his start, where he maintained it was he who invented the concept of double coupons.
Bill was a member of Spring Lake Presbyterian Church and Longboat Island Chapel, the Grand Haven Elks and Long Boat Key Moose Lodges, and a former member of the Grand Haven Jaycees. A lifelong mariner, Bill proudly served as 1969 Spring Lake Yacht Club Commodore, and is the only yachtsman to ever serve two consecutive terms as Mackinac Island Yacht Club Commodore. Bill was a lifelong member of both organizations as well as Spring Lake Country Club and Great Lake Lakes Cruising Club.
He was known for his generous hospitality, whether entertaining at his waterfront homes or aboard his yacht, “Stadt Wipperfurth” (thus named for the German city that is the family’s namesake.) With wife, family and friends, he held dear memories of many cruises, both short and long, to such places as the North Channel, Bahamas, Virgin Islands and at least ten round trips to FL and back.
Those close to him will miss his late night macaroni and tomatoes, coupon clipping wizardry and canned goods connoisseurship. To know Bill, was to know he was a Republican and a patriot, dressing up as Uncle Sam to everyone’s delight at the annual Spring Lake Memorial Day parade.
It’s no wonder Bill was born on April Fool’s Day because he was a consummate joke teller and easily lit up a room with laughter - not only from his vast, skillfully-told repertoire – but because of the unforgettable twinkle that beamed from his warm, ever sparkling eyes.
William is survived by his wife of 63 years, Diana; daughters, Karen (Brian J.) Dickey, Amey Horning, Diana (Bradley) Bench; son-in-law, Michael Aeling; grandchildren, Alyssa, Erika and Jason Dickey, Ashley and Jill Horning, Amanda (Kyle) Kuharevicz, Myles Bench; great-grandchildren, Isabella Rose and Kyle; sister, Barb Dewitt; brothers, Jerry Wipperfurth, Kurt Wipperfurth; several nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Elizabeth Wipperfurth-Aeling, grandson, Daniel David Horning II and his beloved German Shepard and renowned Spring Lake celebrity, Topper. The funeral service for Bill will be 12 noon Monday, December 19, 2016 at Spring Lake Presbyterian Church with Reverend Daniel K. Anderson officiating. Visitation will be from 1 - 4 pm on Sunday, December 18, 2016 at Klaassen Family Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of North Ottawa Community or GVSU Annis Water Resources Institute. Please visit www.klaassenfuneralhome.com to sign William’s online guest book.
Hospice Residence of North Ottawa Community at Heartwood Lodge
18525 Woodland Ridge Dr., Spring Lake MI 49456
GVSU Annis Water Resources Institute - Lake Michigan Center
740 West Shoreline Drive, Muskegon MI 49441