At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place
Memphis, TN 38105
The National World War II Museum-National Processing Center
PO Box 758590
Topeka, KS 66675-8590
Life Story / Obituary
William Earl Gargano was born on October 25, 1924, in Detroit, Michigan, to Amilcare and Maria (DiPaolo) Gargano, who emigrated from Italy and met in the United States. Bill's love and commitment to family and strong work ethic came from his parents. His mind was sharp to the end and he passed away peacefully on December 5, 2022, with his loving family surrounding him.
Bill attended Cass Tech in Detroit. From 1943 – 1945, Bill served as a Radar Operator in the United States Army. He was deployed to Europe, entering France at Normandy, and served at Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge), Rhineland, and Central Europe. He was awarded by his grateful country an American Theater Campaign Medal, an EAME Campaign Medal with 3 Bronze Stars, a Good Conduct Medal, one Overseas Service Bar, and a Victory Ribbon.
Marriage to Carol Jane Holmes, a Holland Senior High School English teacher, came in August 1954. They enjoyed more than 52 years together and Carol pre-deceased Bill in 2007. He is survived by his children: Jeffrey Gargano; Mark and Christine (Riemersma) Gargano; Anne Gargano Larson; Lisa Gargano and Daniel Whelan; and daughter-in-law Moira Poppen Gargano. He has five grandchildren: Rachael Ingrid Gargano, Nathan Amil Gargano; Rebecca Marie (Jeremiah) Conley, Leslie Ann Gargano; and Erik William Larson. He also is survived by his brother, Amil Gargano (Elaine) of New York, NY, sisters-in-law Betty Jean Gargano of Rochester Hills, Michigan, and Marjorie Holmes of Idaho, and nieces and nephews. His sister, Anna Gargano Weinand, and brother, Peter Gargano, preceded him in death.
Following military service, Bill attended night classes in Speech, Radio, and TV, at Wayne College (1951 - 1952) and worked days at Chrysler. During that time, he volunteered in Detroit Public Schools Radio. He also spent two years in Radio Engineering School in Chicago. He advertised in Broadcasting Magazine for a job as a radio announcer and interviewed first at WHTC, was offered the job on the spot, and accepted. After one year Bill became Program Director.
In 1956, Bill and Carol moved to Janesville, Wisconsin, for a radio position. WHTC called him several times to come back and, while Janesville was a nice community, they knew Holland would be a nicer place to raise a family. Bill returned to his program director role at WHTC in May 1959 and brought from Janesville the idea of the Talk of the Town show. The Janesville station interviewed people randomly selected from the phone book. Bill thought that in Holland it would be more interesting to invite people to call in, and so it began. Bill hosted the two-hour show for several years, but now Radio Station Manager, his responsibilities had grown to the point where he invited the station engineer, Juke Van Oss, to host the second hour. Two books came out of Talk of the Town, “Bill and Juke’s Talk of the Town Cookbook,” and “Bill and Juke’s Talk of the Town How to Do It” book.
In 1964, the local group Latin American Society approached Bill about having a Spanish-language program on the radio station. He pitched it to the station owners and the program began. Lupita Reyes, host for 57 years, said he named it Alegria Latina after asking her the goal of the show (bring happiness to the Latino community). That original Holland-only show has lasted 58 years and now streams live to listeners across the US and world.
For many years, Bill conducted WHTC's Holland Public Schools' 6th grade classroom spelling bees, which were then broadcast on WHTC on Monday evenings. The spelling bees ended in 1981 when WHTC’s new owners chose to discontinue them. Over the years, many locals have told Bill's children they have fond memories of that experience. Among other community involvements are announcing during Tulip Time parades, Rotary Club, probation officer, and Boards of Holland Public Schools and Holland Area Arts Council.
Bill and Carol bought and operated the established Rainbow's End Ice Cream and Balloon Shoppe from 1984 until the mid-1990s and loved the many repeat customers they met during that time. Although Bill worked at Ottawa Savings & Loan during those years, he supported Carol in the business in various ways and most evenings arrived to close and watch the employees get safely to their cars.
Bill's hobbies included woodworking, gardening, reading, cooking delicious Italian food and teaching his children his recipes. He was completely involved in raising us and teaching us to be responsible people. We have realized over and over in adulthood how Dad's and Mom's love for each other, complete care for us, good health, and personal integrity, made all the difference in our becoming who we are. We will think of and miss him daily and are so grateful for his 98 years.
A memorial service will be 11:00 am, Thursday, December 15, 2022 at Dykstra Funeral Homes - Mulder Chapel, 188 W. 32nd street in Holland. Rev. Jim Neevel will be officiating. Burial with military honors will be in Graafschap cemetery.
Visitation will be from 6-8 pm, Wednesday, December 14, 2022 at Mulder Chapel. Memorial contributions may be given to The National World War II Museum, National Processing Center, PO Box 758590, Topeka, KS 66675-8590 or the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.