Cousin Bill’s birthday

A couple months ago, I celebrated the birth anniversary of my paternal grandmother Bonnell and published a photo of the entire family. Included in that photo is her sister Bessie. Bessie had three children, two girls and a boy, Bill, who celebrates his 81st birthday this Sunday. It’s impossible to describe Bill in one short blog post, but I’ll try to capture some of the highlights. Bill was only six months younger than my dad and both grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. Since Bill only had sisters and my dad was an only child, they came to think of each other as brothers instead of first cousins and spent a lot of time together, mostly playing sports. This photo is of Bill’s college team at North Central in Illinois. He was a catcher and is seated on the far left.

As frequently happens, their lives separated for a while as my dad went through medical school and eventually established his career in California whereas Bill completed his theological work, completed an overseas mission and returned to Illinois to raise his family. One of the happiest moments in my dad’s life (and mine too) was when he convinced Bill to move west in the early 1970s and I know Bill doesn’t miss the Midwest winters. Our families would frequently get together and the two guys would go to baseball games. Bill even talked Dad into playing in his senior softball league one time. Bill finally retired from his pastoral duties last year, but continues to play softball. He will be celebrating this weekend with his wife of more than 45 years, his three daughters and his seven grandchildren. I wish I could be there to marvel and his wonderful singing voice and cringe at his terrible puns.

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