Born in Hubbell, Michigan, he was the youngest of Henry and Albertina (Gunville) Bilgen’s eight children. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Gloria (nee Bonifas); three daughters, Rev. Vicki Fink (David), Neenah, WI; Karil Bilgen Curran, Lake Villa, IL; Jan Bilgen Craggs (Jay), Whitewater, WI; six grandchildren, Margaret Fink, Emily Steele, John Fink, Claire Curran, Caroline Curran, and William Curran; a great-grandson; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Bill graduated from Lake Linden-Hubbell High School in 1945 as class president. He was drafted into the Army, where he coordinated efforts for troops returning home. In 1950, he completed his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Management from the Detroit Institute of Technology and married his high school sweetheart. His 39-year career with Allstate Insurance Company began in Detroit, where he was a Clerical Supervisor; when he retired, he was Senior Executive Vice President of Operations nationwide.
From a young age, one of Bill’s passions was music. He took organ lessons early on and continued his musical pursuits as an adult by installing a theater pipe organ in his home, bringing enjoyment to many. He wrote and helped produce an operetta about the Copper Country where he grew up, “Boomin’ Copper,” which was performed at the Calumet Theater in Calumet, MI. As a board member of Opportunity, Inc., in Northbrook, IL, Bill helped provide jobs for disabled adults. He has also registered a patent for harnessing wind energy.
Over the years, Bill and his family have enjoyed the home he designed and had built in Egg Harbor, WI. The deck looking out onto the water was a favorite spot for visiting with his wife, children, grandchildren, and a variety of friends. Many family gatherings and celebrations were hosted at “The Rock House.”
The family is grateful for the dedicated caregivers at Hearthstone Memory Care and Rainbow Hospice Inpatient Center. Quick to appreciate Bill’s dynamic personality, they offered attentive care and light-hearted companionship.
A funeral service will be held on April 25, 2018, 11:00 a.m. at First English Lutheran Church in Whitewater, WI, Pastor Steve Hanson officiating. Visitation will be held beginning at 10:00 a.m. Interment will be in Moss Lake Cemetery, Isabella, MI.
Nitardy Funeral Home is assisting the family.