William (Bill, Will, or “Coach”) Spears, born Willie Ottis Spears, passed away peacefully late in the evening of December 3rd, 2019 at his home in the woods in Custer, Wisconsin, just as he had wished.
Bill was born on January 13, 1940 near Elkhorn City, Kentucky. He was the fifth of nine children of Earl and Bama (Thacker) Spears. Bill joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1959 and served proudly for six years, achieving the rank of Sergeant, and becoming a combat veteran of the Vietnam era. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in teaching at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and his Master's Degree in school and business administration at Winona State University. In the early 1960s Bill was stationed at Camp Pendleton, and it was near there in Southern California where he met and fell in love with Andrea Bannach. On July 8th, 1967 Bill married Andrea in Custer, and together they raised two children, Matthew and Lea. Bill and Andrea enjoyed 49 years of marriage together, until Andrea’s passing in March 2016. About a year afterward, Bill met Marilyn Miller, and Bill and Marilyn deeply enjoyed one another’s company. Both Marilyn and Lea were at Bill’s bedside at the time of his passing.
Bill initially dedicated his post-military career to teaching and coaching track and football at Stevens Point Area High School (S.P.A.S.H.). Later he would start his own independent insurance agency, from which he ultimately retired.
Bill was passionate about sports, the outdoors, his family, and his adorable dog Benn. He especially loved walleye fishing in Canada with his family and wintering along the Gulf of Mexico in Alabama Shores, which often included visiting family in Kentucky and Georgia on the drives down. Bill also was a self-taught carpenter and gardener, and he enjoyed applying those skills to create a wonderful home, filled with hand-built furnishings and surrounded by a sprawling lawn and flower gardens. Bill will be remembered dearly.
The family deeply appreciates all the incredible support from Aspirus Hospice: especially Donna, Spencer, Melissa, Rhonda and Jane. In lieu of flowers, donations to your local Hospice are encouraged.
Along with his wife and parents, Bill was preceded in death by five brothers and two sisters: Paul, Randal, Artemus, Ray Vene, Robie, Faye Dell and Octavia. Bill is survived by his son Matthew (Nate); daughter Lea (Mike); two sisters Loretta (Dave) Sanders and Gloria Jean (Palmer) Adkins; special friend Marilyn Miller, sisters and brothers in-law Judy & David Peplinski and Peggy & Mike Elliott, as well as by numerous nieces, nephews, and all their wonderful children.
A Mass for Bill will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Friday December 20, 2019 at Saint Mary’s Immaculate Conception Church, located at 7176 Esker Road, Custer. Friends and family will gather at the church to informally share memories with one another from 3:00 p.m. until the time of services. Online condolences may be sent by visiting www.shudafuneral.com.