William R. Waring, 82, passed away at home on Tuesday, June 29, after a brief illness. Bill was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on July 24, 1938 to Helen (Hoffman) and Nathan Scarritt Waring. He is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Patricia (Pence), son, Christopher, daughter, Natalie (Scott) Bernecker and grandsons Billy, David, and George Bernecker. Also surviving are his sister and brother-in-law, Barbara and Samuel Metcalf; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Steve and Marie Eve Pence; sister-in-law, Bonnie Smith; and, many nieces and nephews including Jill Smith, Molly (Metcalf) and Robert Tholl, Mike and Nicki Metcalf, Stephanie (Pence) and Matt Martin, Molly (Pence) and Corbett Troyer, Camille (Pence) and Olivier Maignan and Thomas Pence.
An entrepreneur, businessman, Marine, and community advocate, Bill graduated from East Grand Rapids High School in 1956. Upon graduation, he immediately enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and proudly served our country. He graduated from Western Michigan University and began his career in Chicago at Steelcase as an account representative. A business opportunity in Grand Rapids brought him back to the Grand Rapids area and for more than 30 years Bill owned and operated State Plating and Finishing Company, an electroplating company. He expanded the company over the years to include production of brass and glass furniture. Always entrepreneurial, Bill designed and produced solar panels in the late 70s and dabbled in movie production in the 90s.
Bill was admired for his integrity and loyalty. On Friday nights for years, one would find Bill at Cannonsburg where he was a member of the National Ski Patrol. As an avid skier, he taught family members and friends how to ski during his numerous ski trips to Colorado and weekends in Northern Michigan. His other passion was sailing and he served as Commodore of the Grand Rapids Yacht Club, the Spring Lake Yacht Club and the Western Michigan Yachting Association. Bill earned his private pilot license and instrument rating license early in his career and loved flying his Cessna for family jaunts around the Midwest. Later in his life, you could find Bill in the bleachers at East Grand Rapids and Southern Little League sporting events cheering on his grandsons.
Bill’s commitment to Grand Rapids led him to serve on the Rotary Club of Grand Rapids, the Gerald R. Ford Museum Reopening Committee, and the Gerald R. Ford Funeral Committee. He served proudly on the Opera Grand Rapids Board and the Western Michigan University Alumni Board of Directors. He received the Outstanding Alumni Award from WMU. As a lifelong member of East Congregational Church, Bill served the church as chair of the ECC Church Council, Sunday School teacher, and Capital Campaign chairman.
Visitation will take place at Metcalf & Jonkhoff, 4291 Cascade Road, on Tuesday, July 6 from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. A funeral service will be held at East Congregational Church, 1005 Giddings SE, on Wednesday, July 7 at 11 a.m.
Memorial contributions in honor of Bill Waring may be made to the following organizations: East Grand Rapids Schools Foundation at 2915 Hall Street, Grand Rapids, MI 49506, https://egrsf.org, Grand Rapids Junior Sailing Association, PO Box 6127, Grand Rapids, MI 49516, or East Congregational Church at https://eastchurchgr.org/give.
To send flowers to Bill's family, please visit our floral store.