William Gene ‘Bill’ Erdmann


William Gene ‘Bill’ Erdmann


Bill Erdmann
Bill Erdmann

William Gene “Bill” Erdmann, 79, died peacefully at home on July 23, 2016. He was born on Aug. 5,1936, in Golden Valley, N.D., to William Fredrick and Wilhelmina (Miller) Erdmann. He was the youngest and only son born to a family with four sisters.

Bill and his parents traveled from Golden Valley to Billings in the 1940s when he was about 6 years old. There, his father started Erdmann Construction. It became the family business until 1962. Bill attended Broadwater Elementary and graduated from Billings Senior High in 1954. Soon after, he attended Eastern Montana College for a short period of time, but soon left to work in the family business. In addition to working construction, he worked other various jobs from the packing plant to the oil rigs when construction was slow. During that time, Bill also joined the U.S. Naval Reserves and served his country for 20 years.

On May 24, 1958, Bill married Marcella Louise VanElsen. Bill and Marcella had a deep love and affection for each other. Together, they raised three independent boys: Steven John, Mitchell William and William Scott. Many trips were spent fishing, hunting and camping with family and friends, often ending the long evenings listening to the boys pick guitar. In 1976, Bill and his boys built the family dream home in Emerald Hills. It was this place that was most loved until both their passings. Bill enjoyed the outdoor life, often working long hours in the yard. He also enjoyed photography and horticulture. He spent many hours cultivating beautiful bonsai trees. Later in life, Bill and Marcella enjoyed traveling with their good friends until traveling became difficult. Then they spent their days with their grandchildren and great-grandsons.

Perhaps one of the many accomplished moments in Bill’s life was his job as a Billings Firefighter. On Sept. 1,1962, Bill was hired by the Billings Fire Department and worked for 36 years until his retirement as a Captain on Dec. 31, 1998. He made many lifetime friends and left his legacy for future firefighters. In between working at the fire department and raising a family, Bill started his own carpet-installing company, in which he had various partners including his sons and grandsons.

Bill is preceded in death by his wife, Marcella; son, Steven; and grandson, William Robert; his parents and three sisters, Ruth, Florence and Laverne. He survived by his sons, Mitch (Rosemary), William Jr; daughter-in-law Shirley; sister, Barbara; grandchildren and great-grandchildren; as well as many nieces, nephews and many friends.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial in Bill’s name can be made to Rocky Mountain Hospice and/or Billings Firefighter Benevolent Fund.

Funeral Mass will be at 12 noon on Tuesday, Aug. 9, at St. Patrick Co-Cathedral. Interment will take place in the Lavina Cemetery following mass.

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4 thoughts on “William Gene ‘Bill’ Erdmann”

  1. Kenny and Daphne Ehly

    IT was such a joy to have known Dear Bill. He showed every one respect and he had a very loving heart. His true love for his Dear wife Marcella and all his family . Showed in the proud way he talked about each and every one of them. He always made people feel at home in his presence.We will always remember him in a very loving way. Treasureing the beautiful memories we shared. We will miss you Dear Bill. God please bless you and all your lovely family. Untill we meet again. Rest in pease Dear Cousin.

  2. Hank / Pat Schmitz

    Bill we will miss you Cella ,Monica so much .You and your family have shown us so much kindness and hospitality over the years.thanks for all the good times , laughter and letting us be part of your family. What a kind loving family. / your Canadian fetters
    Hank/ Pat /Family
    gone but won’t be forgotten/always in our hearts

  3. Bill was a good Man and I enjoyed working for him as my Captain for a spell on the Billings Fire Dept! My condolences go out to his Family!

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