William (Bill) Joseph Cretens

Resided in Rapid River, MI
Died September 6, 2021

William (Bill) Joseph Cretens, age 89, of Rapid River, passed away Monday morning, September 6, 2021, at Oscar Johnson V.A. Hospital in Iron Mountain, MI.

Bill was born on July 15, 1932, in Escanaba, the son of Andrew and Ardell (Burke) Cretens. He was raised in Escanaba and graduated from Escanaba High School.

On February 2, 1954, William Cretens married the former Faye VanDamme at All Saint’s Church in Gladstone, MI. They are the parents of seven children.

Bill was a veteran of the Korean War. He was employed with Harnischfeger Corp. for over 30 years, finishing out his career as the Superintendent of Assembly and retiring in 1984. Following his retirement with Harnischfeger Corp., Bill went on to work with Roy Ness Contracting.

Bill enjoyed restoring antique cars, fishing, gardening his raspberries, cutting down trees, laying stone, and being with family. He took special interest in designing and building 3 of his own homes and a cottage. Bill served on various school boards and church councils.

Bill was preceded in death by his wife Faye in 1999, son Thomas, parents Andrew and Ardell and brothers Louie and Jimmy Cretens.

Bill is survived by:
Children: Bill (Jane) Cretens of Trufant, MI, Patti (Dick) Peterson of Richmond, VA, Kristy (Randy) Robinette of Escanaba, MI, Cathy (Dean) Hartwig of Iron Mountain, MI, John (Myra) Cretens of Gladstone, MI, and Kelli (Tom) Thibault of Stafford, VA.

Sister: Mary (Tony) Vandermissen of Escanaba, MI

Sisters in law: Noma Cretens, Elaine Cretens and Ann (VanDamme) Olson.

Also listed among the surviving family are 17 Grandchildren, 29 Great-Grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Military rites and Funeral Services will be held privately at the Skradski Family Funeral Home in Gladstone. Bill will be laid to rest next to his wife Faye in the Fernwood Cemetery in Gladstone.

16 Tributes for “William (Bill) Joseph Cretens

    Mr. Cretens loved his Packers. Once when I was visiting with Bill for some walleye fishing the ticker tape was rolling on the tv with football scores at the bottom and the packer score came up and he said “Look Bill, the packers won.” The next time that score went by he said “look Billy, the Packers won again.” He was just giving a hopeless Lion fan a jab or two. What a fun and loving man he was! Rest In Peace Mr. Cretens.

    Tom Dugan – Grand Rapids

    Bill- sorry for your loss. I think I only met your dad once but it was the time he stopped by the IAI office to show off his ‘mini-bike/ scooter’ he had just purchased because it was a ‘classic’. I believe he was 78 or 79 at the time – your dad was really the ‘classic’ -a life well lived!

    Bill – what warm memories I have of your Dad showing us around his beautiful home up North many years ago. I particularly remember the amazing stone fireplace So sorry to hear of his passing. He was a gem of a man. Love and peace to you and your whole family.

    We are sorry to hear of your fathers passing. As a neighbor he was always available when we needed a helping hand. He will be missed. Rest In Peace Bill.

    Patti, Dick, and family. My deepest sympathy for the loss of your father, Patti. I hope the wonderful memories will soften your grief. Love and prayers, Verna Halloran

    Sorry about your dad, Bill. I remember when we were kids you used to live next door to Noma’s house and he would watch us play. -Peggy (O’Neil) Gonzalez

    To all the Cretens kids – I have so many good memories of your dad: his GTO, the fact that I never heard him swear, (oh, for crumps sake!), his laugh, and yes, the raspberries that we would sneak. I feel lucky that he was a part of the Holzworth kids’ lives. He certainly was a gentleman and will be missed.
    Love, Karen Miller

    Bill was a part of the lives of the Lachat family for at least 45 years. He took care of Johns parents from the time they moved to Stonington, always there when a problem arose or help was needed. When they were no longer able to come he totally remodeled the house, creating a beautiful place for us to spend our summers. Every summer he appeared at the door with a big bowl of his beloved raspberries that he braved the mosquitoes to pick. Almost every weekend he came with us for Friday Fish Fry at different area restaurants. He was a sweet, caring man who never turned down a request when it was our turn to ask for help. We have so many good memories of this good, unique man, and we will miss him.

    Our sympathy and love and prayers for all the Cretens! He certainly was a kind and wonderful man.
    You will have many great memories in these days and years ahead. Fred and Arda Stage

    We just heard about Bill’s passing at the Johnson VA Iron Mountain. Our sympathy to all of you including his sisters Mary and Noma . The last time I visited with Bill was when he was at an assisted living home. We always enjoyed Bill when we met at Bob and Eli Thibult’s home in Rapid River.

    May be rest in peace. Roman and Gayle

    We were sorry to read about Bill’s passing !! We will miss our visits at the cabin across the Bay when we make our annual visit to our old camp. We were glad to see Bill last year and some of the family. We stopped by again this summer, but no one was there. I am sure the old bunch in heaven are welcoming Bill.

    All my love and sympathy for the entire Cretens clan. Many of my most cherished childhood memories are of time spent at your family home with mom and dad Cretens! It was my second home with so much fun with my best friend Kelli. My heart feels happy that your parents are together again shining their love down on all of you each and every day. ❤️

    Cathy I just saw that your dad passed away in September.
    I’m so sorry for your loss.
    Thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

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