William John Grant
Bill’s life journey ended on Thursday, April 7, 2022. He passed away peacefully with his wife, Genie, by his side after a 20 day hospitalization for COPD at Zablocki VA. He was working on getting back home but took a sudden turn and his struggle ended.
William John Grant was born to Sylvia and Leonard on July 10, 1948, in Milwaukee. He grew up in Hales Corners, the second youngest of five children. They all attended Sacred Heart Catholic Elementary School in St. Martins—a former hamlet in Franklin. He graduated with the Class of 1967 from Franklin High School. He served honorably in the US Army–101st Airborne Division, Arty, A/377, flying “Hueys” in Vietnam during 1968 and 1969. The division suffered almost 20,000 soldiers killed or wounded in action in Vietnam. He met Genie shortly after he returned home from combat and they married at St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Milwaukee’s Southside on October 30, 1971. He was known by many as Uncle Bill and Grandpa Bill to some. Bill, a classic outdoorsman, worked for Milwaukee County as an Equipment Operator first at Lake Park and later at the zoo until his retirement. Bill and Genie bought their West Allis home in 1976 and later purchased “Old Pink” (their home in Necedah) and transformed it into a cozy second home where they enjoyed gatherings of family and friends for 38 years. Genie describes those years as “phenomenal.” Necedah is the perfect setting for all things outdoorsy especially hunting and fishing and offered Uncle Bill the opportunity to teach his ethics for safe and respectful hunting to interested youngsters. Bill’s retirement years also provided opportunities to be of service in other ways; he became the one to call when needing help with any home repair or project. Nothing was impossible for Bill to tackle. Gratefully, he also shared some of these invaluable skills with other family members. No wonder he was also a car and motorcycle enthusiast having had snazy muscle cars in the early 1970’s, customized vans, a brightly detailed and polished 1966 Chevy convertible, and a Harley Classic Tour Ultra Glide (with a queen seat). Genie said there was nothing like the feeling she got from him while riding together listening over and over to Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” He was able to ride to multiple 101st Airborne Division reunions around the country which were as healing to him as they were pleasurable. Bill also had creative and artistic skills in woodworking and carving as well as jewelry making. Although Bill was always the beloved and life loving friend and family member, some of the effects of Vietnam remained with him. But these didn’t ever damage his love and warmth—he was compassionate, respectful and a defender of every living thing and person. Bill came to suffer with Churg-Strauss syndrome, a rare blood vessel syndrome resulting in double below knee amputations three years ago. Because of his age and health challenges some clinicians predicted he wouldn’t do well ambulating with prosthetics. However, Bill’s passion to ride his Harley combined with expert treatment at Zabolicki VA and unparalleled caregiving by his wife, Genie, proved these naysayers wrong. Genie’s caregiving approach was holistic, including diet, touring and picnicking around the state, music, sheepshead with family and friends, and openness to spirituality. Bill pushed himself and eventually strapped on his oxygen equipment and prosthetics and got back up onto ride his Ultra Classic Harley trike often by shifting gears and hearing the clicks. His excitement for riding this upcoming season can still be felt in the air.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, brother Gene, nephew Troy, sisters-in-law, Barbara A. and Barbara E., brothers-in-law–Chuck, Carl, Dennis, Richard, Bob, and Greg and loving pets–Tia, Misty, Twiggy, Java and Rex.
Bill is survived by his devoted wife–Genie and precious Shih Tzu–Mia, sisters–Judy, Cathy and Joan, sisters-in-law–Barbara, Mary El, and Patty, brothers-in-law–Mickey and Raymond, nieces–Chris (Mitch), Jodie (Mike), Sherry, Jenny, Kris (Dan), Liza, Roberta, Therese (Chris), Paula, Toni (JD), and Jill (Chuck), nephews—Jeff (Tawana), David (Betsy), Lon (Hailey), Terry (Leslie), Dan, Matthew (Shannon), Jeff (Tasha), Frank (Karrie), Tony and Jeffrey, grandnieces, grandnephews, grandsons—Christian, Nicholaus, and Gabriel, and other loving relatives and friends.
Bill was a lifetime member of Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and was a long time member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Milwaukee.
A Covid considerate (wear a mask indoors) funeral will be held at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, 3722 S 58th St, Milwaukee, WI 53220, on Wednesday, April 20th. Visitation from 11AM until 1PM. Mass of Christian Burial at 1PM followed by military honors outside of the church building. Internment at a later date in the Konz family plot at Mount Olivet Cemetery, 3801 W Morgan Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53221. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Our Lady of Lourdes Parish or Zablocki VA Voluntary Services, 5000 West National Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53295 are appreciated.