William J. “Bill” Holley
MIDDLETON – God scooped Bill up on June 11, 2021, at 1:11 a.m. and brought him to his forever home in Heaven.
Bill Holley was a firecracker, which actually has nothing to do with the color of his hair. His spirit of kindness and generosity was only outmatched by his penchant for mischief and fun. He was too full of life to focus on things like school or ever making his curfew as a kid. Bill always had people and places to visit – and he liked to get there fast – be it by flying himself (he was an accomplished private pilot) or driving one of the many sports cars he loved. His happy places were cheering on his favorite football teams and golfers, on the golf course, in his plane, or in Northern Wisconsin building stunning cabins, taking care of nature, fishing and relaxing with loved ones.
Bill’s kindness knew no bounds. He derived so much joy from helping others, be they new friends (never strangers!), old friends, or family. Bill dedicated so much time giving back by volunteering with Easterseals of Wisconsin, where he was a board member and premier fundraiser for years, donating pints and pints of blood and plasma to the Red Cross, and just making you smile if you were having a bad day. He loved celebrating Christmas each year, which included spending time ringing the bell – with his own flare, no doubt – to collect donations for the Salvation Army.
Bill was raised and lived most of his life in Middleton, graduating from Middleton High School where he participated in as many sports as possible. After earning a degree in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, he managed a successful car dealership and subsequently used his amazing gifts as a salesperson to pursue a sales career working for 3M and Spectra Biologicals in Phoenix and Minneapolis. After owning a highly successful Kirby dealership in Davenport, Iowa he returned to Middleton to join his family business, a millwork distribution/manufacturing company that sold building products in the upper Midwest. In the mid-1990s Bill became a successful home builder and developer of land for homes and condominiums, a dream born out of his desire to create a multi-generational place for his family to live together and an accomplishment that absolutely lit his life. He created many beautiful custom homes for his clients (he especially loved the Middleton Conservancy condos he masterminded) and the amazing single-family neighborhood, Pine Hill Farm, which was created with great attention to detail in preserving as much green and view space as possible. He and Lynn renovated and sold many homes and built many duplexes and storage facilities in the Madison area.
Bill is survived by his soulmate/wife, Lynn; his beloved sister, Peggy, and her special friend, Joe; his brother, Dick (Renee); brother-in-law, John Russell (Kathi); sister-in-law, Leah Kurtz (Wendell); and many nieces and nephews, all of whom he adored. He has now joined his cherished parents, Bill and Mary, and his special angel sister-in-law, Ann, in heaven.
So much gratitude is owed to the loving and dedicated staff at Brookdale Middleton Stonefield who became our family for 3.5 years, including our cherished long-time caregivers who unknowingly touched our hearts in so many ways. His primary caregivers were Espy, Calvin, Naima and Abla. The others who provided Bill with so much love and support…Kita, Shawnta, Theresa, Andrea, Evonna, Nadirah, Mary, Ashley, Yolanda, Courtney, Kayla, Barb and Britta, Joanne and Anne, Marissa who was with Heartland Hospice, Gregg and Steve who helped take care of Bill while he was at home, and lastly, Stefan, who was at Brookdale when Bill started living there and made everything feel right for me. They all looked after Bill like he was theirs.
A celebration of life will be held at GUNDERSON WEST FUNERAL AND CREMATION CARE, 7435 University Ave., Middleton, at 12 noon on Friday, June 18, 2021. At 2 p.m. there will be a special time of sharing our memories of Bill, after which we will go to Middleton Sport Bowl at 3:30 p.m. to throw a party in his honor. Bill didn’t view death as the end, but the beginning, and having friends gather to celebrate and party this fact was his only request.
In lieu of flowers please consider giving in Bill’s honor to Easterseals Wisconsin specifically to support Camp Wawbeek, a fully accessible camp for people with disabilities in Wisconsin Dells, or to the Associate Holiday Fund for the caregivers at Brookdale Middleton Stonefield, on Stonefield Road in Middleton. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com .
Bill, you blessed me immeasurably. You helped me to be my best self. You modeled selflessness, care, generosity, joy, dreaming, love of all people, a strong belief in God, respect for all, hard work and living a balanced and healthy life with lots of play. Even through your long journey in Alzheimer’s you took us to school and taught us that having Alz was just fine and should be embraced. You showed me how to step into your world and enjoy the heck out of this wild and fun ride. You always woke up smiling and laughing and you smiled and laughed and cared for others in your memory care home. To you in Alzheimer’s all dogs were “gentlemen”; babies, cats, chipmunks and squirrels were “doggies”; the right place to store a potato was on the towel bar of the shower door; and you smiled, laughed and sang 100% of the time. I loved taking care of you like nothing I have loved before. What a blessing God gave you and me in this disease, which for many is devastating. And I’m still finding things. I’ll love you forever, YLAAW, Lynn. Until we meet again.
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