Serving West Michigan Since 1899

Bill Butterfield

March 11, 2020
Holland, MI


Life Story / Obituary


Arthur William Butterfield January 28, 1934-March 11, 2020.

Arthur William “Bill” Butterfield passed away on March 11, 2020. Bill was a loving father, grandfather, husband and friend. Whether he had known you for years or just met you he shared the same joy and smile in seeing you. You couldn’t go anywhere with Bill without multiple people greeting him, whether on the street or at one of his favorite breakfast places.

Bill was born in Detroit, Michigan to Arthur and Elizabeth Hawkins Butterfield. He was the beloved younger brother of sister Pat. When distance made it harder for them to see each other they kept in contact on a regular basis. The relationship was an important part of both their lives. Bill proudly graduated from Cass Technical High School, providing him with both math and technical skills that served him throughout his professional life. He then entered Officer Training School and was commissioned as an officer in the Air Force. He served as a navigator patrolling the east coast flying on Lockheed Super Constellation aircraft that served as an early warning system against Soviet aggression. His time in the Air Force solidified his love of flying. He would go on to get his small plane and instructor licenses, flying well into his later years.

Bill married June Goodwillie in 1955 and they remained married until her death in 2012. They met when June was a student at the Liggett School in Grosse Pointe, Michigan and modeling for local department stores. Bill often remarked that he was a lucky man to be married to her. During their 57 years of marriage they raised two sons, Kevin William and Brian David.

The boys were active in all sports and Bill was found coaching them in baseball and hockey or cheering them on from the sidelines. Those dark, early morning rides to the outdoor hockey rinks bring back fond memories for his sons.

While remaining in the Air Force Reserves, Bill began a career as a manufacturer’s representative for companies that made automobile parts, soon moving from employee to owning his own small business. Bill’s congenial manner and technical knowledge was a perfect match for this work. His son, Brian, joined him in this business for a number of years before taking the skills he learned from his dad into real estate. While son, Kevin, moved to North Carolina to pursue a legal career, Bill often asked Kevin for his opinion on business matters. Bill was elected and served for a year as the President of the Society of Manufacturers Representatives.

As much as Bill loved to fly, he also felt at home near or on the water. Family vacations were spent at Charlevoix, East Tawas and Holland Michigan. Holland become Bill’s second home upon his retirement.

It was in Holland that he met and married Marcia Westrate. They were married in January, 2016, on the anniversary of their first date. They shared a love of boating and travel. One of their favorite destinations was Crescent Beach, Florida. On their way to and from they would often visit their respective children and grandchildren. Bill introduced Marcia to his favorite jazz club in Fennville and Marcia introduce Bill to the Holland Symphony. Bill shared his love of birds, Cape Cod and motor boating while supporting Marcia’s passion for sailing and gardening. Together they developed an appreciation for community theatre and were often in attendance at Hope College basketball games. They were faithful members of Fellowship Reformed Church. Bill’s faith became increasingly important to him later in life and he often shared his experience of God’s presence in his life. There is great assurance knowing Bill is in full health now, being welcomed into the communion of the faithful who have gone before.

Bill is survived by sons, Kevin (Leslie) of Chapel Hill, North Carolina and Brian (Joyce) of Beverly Hills, Michigan, grandchildren Corrie, Jack, David and Parker, sister Pat Jones of Florida, wife Marcia Westrate and family, Kara and Russell Burns of Plymouth, MI ( Aaron and Adam), Kyle and Sasha Miller DeYoung of Washington, DC (Anna and Iris).

A celebration of life will be held at Fellowship Reformed Church in Holland, MI at a time to be determined after the public health emergency has subsided. Visitation with the family will be following the service in the fellowship hall. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Heart Association.