William “Bill” VanValkenburg passed peacefully from this life on January 7, 2020, after a valiant battle with brain cancer. He was born on December 8, 1946 to Glenn and Grace (Moriarty) VanValkenburg and grew up in the Sixteen Acres section of Springfield. After moving to East Longmeadow, he went to East Longmeadow High School in 1962. After graduating in 1964, he enlisted in the Navy, and later served his country as a sailor and photographer in the Coast Guard, taking the official photos of the sinking of the oil tanker, the Argo Merchant, on the Nantucket Shoals off Massachusetts early on December 15, 1976.
Bill is survived by his beloved daughter, Wendy Brouillette, and her husband Mark of Montgomery, VT, and his son, Michael Hunter, and his wife, Nancy of Chillicothe, IL. His granddaughter, Katie West, her husband, Leon, and their two children, Odin and Rowen of Berkshire, VT enjoyed seeing Bill on his visits to Vermont each summer. He was very proud of his two great-grandsons. He also leaves his two sisters, Gail M. Wood of East Longmeadow, MA, and her husband, Larry, and Valerie Kara of Upton, MA, and her husband Dan.
Bill will be dearly missed by his nieces and nephews: Jennifer (Wood) Paquette and Christopher Wood, Emily and Alex Kara, Brenda Reilly, and Glenn VanValkenburg, IV. He also leaves behind his Aunt Dorothy VanValkenburg of Salem, VA, and many cousins. He was predeceased by his older brother, Glenn “Sandy” VanValkenburg, III in 2010.
Bill was an avid Red Sox and Bruins fan, a gifted carpenter, and a very active largemouth bass fisherman to the very end of his life. He enjoyed spending time fishing with his good friend, Keith Raymond, every chance he could get during the summer.
Bill’s family would like to express their sincere thanks to the staff of Vero @ Wilbraham and Beacon Hospice for the kind and compassionate care given him throughout his illness.
A gathering for family and friends will take place from 2:00lPM-4:00PM on Saturday January 18, 2020 in the Forastiere Smith Family Funeral Home, 220 North Main St., East Longmeadow. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the D’Amour Cancer Center, 3350 Main St., Springfield, MA 01107www.forastiere.com