William A. Vanderkooi. Sr.
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GALION: WILLIAM (Bill) Albert Vanderkooi, Sr. January 21, 1931-February 6, 2013 After 82 years, the Lord received Bill into heaven. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, children: Cathy (Dana) Sanders, Christine (Larry) Burns, Debra (Steve) Brown, Brett (Tammy) Vanderkooi, and Phillip (Patty) Vanderkooi . Also surviving are a brother, George D. Vanderkooi, numerous grandchildren, nieces, nephews, great-grandchildren, and friends that he adopted as family along the way. He was preceded in death by: his parents, George and Zenobia, 5 sisters, and 2 brothers, and 2 sons, William Vanderkooi Jr. and Randy Beck.
Bill was a life member of the VFW, and the Amvets , and an active member of the Korean War Veterans of America, Chapter 51. He was proud to be an American veteran and was rarely seen out without his Korean Veteran ball cap.
He coached Iberia baseball for Pee Wee, Little League, and Pony League for many years and was a friend to the boys. He served as President of the PTO at Iberia School.
Throughout his life he had many professions: chicken plucker, truck driver, mechanic, welder, electronics technician, and railroad chauffer, but his greatest role was that of musician. He was a star that made this world a little brighter for so many people. At age 8 he decided to become the accomplished guitarist that God has now called to the heavenly band. His favorite entertainer was Vernon Dalhart, followed closely by Hank Williams Sr. He became an expert 5-string banjo picker, played mandolin, resophonic guitar (Dobro), and harmonica. He even "fiddled" around with the fiddle. He wrote lyrics, composed music, and became an expert at recording. He built and repaired stringed instruments, always trying to improve upon the sound and quality. Most importantly, he mentored anyone who was willing to learn to sing, to play, or to build.
Bill believed that every person could sing "if you just find the right key". The number of people that he introduced to the joy of music could not be counted. He had, and was part of, many bands over the years, but is probably best known as "The Morrow County Ramblers". He worked with many accomplished musicians over the years to bring a mix of Round & Square Dance and Bluegrass to audiences wherever they performed. He had an amazing singing voice and a stage presence that no Hollywood star could beat.
Bill's family and friends will miss the amazing gift of his stories. His gift of storytelling could draw you in and make you feel as if you were right there with the characters. His eyes would be alight with the excitement and his laughter was infectious. He loved life, his family, and his music and was always looking for the good in the people he encountered. He will be missed by us, but the Lord certainly has claimed a jewel for His crown.
A memorial celebration to the life of an amazing man will be planned and announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Korean War Veterans of American. These contributions may be made payable to: KWVA, Chapter 51 and sent in C/O Mark A. Schneider Funeral Home, 303 Portland Way North, Galion, OH 44833.
The Mark A. Schneider Funeral Home is honored to assist the family of William Vanderkooi.
Online condolences may be made to the family at masfh.com
Published in the News Journal on Feb. 10, 2013