Cover photo for Walter J. Illig's Obituary
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1926 Walter 2010

Walter J. Illig

May 19, 1926 — November 2, 2010

Illig, Walter Joseph, 84, of West Branch, Michigan passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by his family on November 2, 2010 after a courageous battle with cancer that couldn’t take away his sense of humor. Walter was born on May 19, 1926 to William and Rosetta (Walter) on the family centennial dairy farm in Edwards Township. He married his first love, Janice David on May 25, 1946, raised his family and neighborhood teens, Paul Niswonger and Bill Good. He faced and overcame many challenges in his life: losing his father at age 17, his left arm in 1950, and his son, Mark, in 2006. This man of tremendous strength and courage loved his God, his family, his farm, dancing and country music, basketball and baseball. He amazed many as the one-armed right fielder on the Edwards Ball Team in 1951 and 1952. Walter and Janice spent many summers in a Canadian cabin or motorhome enjoying friends and catching fish. He was known to fellow snowmobilers as “King of the Hill”. Walter was a lifetime member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and the West Branch Knights of Columbus. Walter is survived by his wife of 64 years, Janice, and two children, Lynette Beitz and husband, Bill, of Jacksonville, Florida and Greg Illig and wife, Jane, of West Branch; seven grandchildren: Scott (Sara) Gildner, Kristie (Jason) Langdale, Nicole Ricketts, Brent (Megan) Illig, Pam (Travis) Illig and Brian (Brook) Illig, Michael Illig; and seven great-grandchildren: Jason, Jada, Nolan, Taylor, Bailey, Rayna, and Rachel. He is also survived by brothers Jerome (Florence) and Gerald (Lorraine); sisters Joan Curtis, Geraldine (John) Klann, Rose Marie (Roger) Detzler and Mary Ann (Roy) Benjamin and sister-in-law Anna Mae Illig; step-sisters Virginia Schaefer, Beatrice Kartes, Melva Goldy; and step-brothers Vern Green and Ty Green. Walter was predeceased by a brother Kenneth and sisters Alice Bartels and Delores (Vern) Wangler and his step-brother Frank Green Jr (Sonny). Visitation at the Steuernol & McLaren Funeral Home in West Branch will begin on Thursday, November 4, 2010 from 6-9 p.m. and Friday from 1-9 p.m. There will be a K of C Rosary and Scripture Service on Friday beginning at 6:30 p.m. On Saturday, November 6, 2010, Walter will lie in state at St. Joseph Catholic Church in West Branch beginning at 9:30 a.m. until the Celebration of Life at 11:00 a.m. Fr. Patrick Maher will officiate with burial following at St. Joseph Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations will be accepted by the family and distributed to charities of their choice.

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