Dear Gail and the Lind family.
How sad I am. I grieve with you deeply. Although it's only been on rare occasions that Willie and I have seen each other during our adult life, we certainly did growing up. Willie, thanks to our Uncle Mono, was Tinker to us then. Tinker was my favorite cousin, my buddy, and my best friend. What fun and mischief we had during our youth. It started when we were toddlers, playing with whatever at each of our parents homes while they played smear. As we got older, sleep overs were common allowing for an extension to our playtime. The Lind farm was always a source of self created entertainment and mischievousness. Tinker and I had great imagination and were both daring sorts. There were many a scoulding and, sometimes, a smack, by Rita or Jean. We loved to fish and hunt together. Occasionally, one of our parents would drive us to the Brule River and drop Tinker and I off up stream of the US Highway 189 bridge for an afternoon of trout fishing. We would wade the river back to the bridge in our sneakers and jeans. Sometimes, shedding them and underwear for a skinny dip. We learn at a very young age about guns and hunting. Many a "bird" (partridge) was downed in the nearby woodlands.
When in our pre-teens, Tinker found a new passion, automobiles. Yup, we both learned to drive way before the legal age. Tinker, like me and most boys, liked cars, but he loved the mechanics of them. During his teens, Tinker became a self taught expert of the automobile engine.
When we were in ninth grade, my family and I moved to Marquette, MI so his Uncle Danny (my Dad) could attend college. After that, we only saw each other at annual family picnics, graduations, weddings, funerals, and such.
Willy left us all so unexpectedly, it's hard to comprehend.
I'm very sad but feel good to share some of my memories with Willy's family. Rest in peace my cousin.
Words cannot express how sad I am to hear about Willie. In all the years I worked with Willie....not a day would go by that he didn't make me smile in some way. He was truly a wonderful man taken too soon from your family.