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Obituary for William C. Smillie

William C. Smillie




William C. Smillie, 86, of West Salem, passed away peacefully on Monday, January 7, 2013, surrounded by his loving family at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, La Crosse.
He was born November 25, 1926, in Reeseville, Wis., to Harry and Mary (Boeldt) Smillie. In 1944, Bill graduated from Jefferson High School in Jefferson, Wis., before joining the U.S. Marine Corps, serving from December 29, 1944, until August 11, 1946. He later joined the U.S. Air Force and served from January 12, 1951, until September 4, 1953. During that time, he continued his college studies at Wisconsin State College at Platteville, where he received his teaching degree, graduating in 1952. From 1954-1956, Bill was a high school math teacher and a basketball coach in Wilton, Wis., where he also met his future wife, Verna Witt. The two later married on June 9, 1956, at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church at South Ridge near Kendall, Wis., and they have shared over 56 wonderful years of marriage. Bill and Verna then moved to Lake Geneva, Wis., where from 1956-1962 he taught math and also coached basketball and golf. In 1960, he received his Master's of Science Degree by attending summer classes at Wisconsin State College in La Crosse. In 1962, they moved to West Salem and Bill began his active career at West Salem High School. There, he taught math and physics, was principal from 1967-1973, served as athletic director, and coached basketball and golf, retiring in 1988. Even after retirement, he still remained active in the district office for a number of years. Bill was also the Coulee Conference Commissioner and first Commissioner of the Mississippi Valley Conference. He was a member of Christ Ev. Lutheran Church in West Salem, where he served on the church council. Bill was also a member of the West Salem Lion's Club, holding many offices including District Governor in 1984. He was a passionate golfer who was also an avid Packer, Brewer, and Badger fan. Bill enjoyed playing cards and loved to teach his grandchildren the game. He was the most loving grandpa anyone could ever ask for and will be sadly missed by his family.
Survivors include his wife, Verna; one daughter, Dawn (Paul) Gullickson of Wausau, Wis.; one son, Scott (Theresa) Smillie of La Crosse; five grandchildren, Leah and Jenna Gullickson, and Benjamin, Alyssa, and Jack Smillie; one sister-in-law, Betty Smillie of Ft. Atkinson, Wis.; one brother-in-law, Ivan (Shirley) Witt of Kendall, Wis.; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, five sisters, and four brothers.
Memorial services will be Thursday, January 10, 2013, at 11:00 a.m. at Christ Ev. Lutheran Church, 500 Park St., West Salem. Pastor Joel Stuebs will officiate. Burial will be in the church cemetery with military honors by the Berg-Hemker-Olson American Legion Post 51 of West Salem and the U.S. Marine Corps Funeral Honor Guard. Friends may call at Jandt-Fredrickson Funeral Home, (Jostad Chapel), 121 N. Youlon St., West Salem, on Wednesday from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. and at the church on Thursday from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service. Memorials may be given to Christ Ev. Lutheran Church, West Salem. Online condolences may be sent at
The family would like to give their heartfelt thanks to the staff on 3-Center as well as the hospice staff at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center. They truly appreciate all of the excellent care that they gave to Bill and the comforting support given to the family, making this very difficult time much easier.