William “Bill” Neil Isetts, age 82, of Escanaba, passed away Tuesday morning, February 21, 2023 at ProMedica Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation in Kingsford, MI. He was born on January 28, 1941 in Mason Twp., MI, the son of LeRoy and Lilian (Foster) Isetts. Bill was raised and attended school in Pinconning MI. Bill enlisted in the U.S. Navy in August of 1958 and served his country during the Vietnam War until he was honorably discharged in August of 1968. During this time, he served 13 months in Vietnam. Upon his return from Vietnam, he married his first wife, Jean Blumberg, and together they raised 4 children to adulthood over a 28-year marriage. They traveled coast to coast while he was still in the service. After Bill left the service, he gained employment with Michigan Bell for 6 years, worked in the woods for some time, and later managed the U.P. Action News. During that time, he furthered his education and received an Associate Degree in Business Retailing. Bill later married his second wife, the former Linda Susan Hermes, on August 27, 1994 in Ford River and she preceded him in death on September 19, 2014. Together, the couple shared 20 years of marriage.
Over the years he was actively involved in veteran affairs. Bill was employed as the director of Private Vet Center for 20 years. He worked with Pointman Ministries and dedicated his time to helping fellow veterans. In 2010, he was awarded U.P. Veteran of the Year. As a proud veteran, he was privileged to receive the U.P. Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. in September of 2017 on Mission XIII.
Bill was also well-known as “Billie the Clown.” He and his wife, Linda, known as “Jingles the Clown” were active members of the Clowns Around the World, traveling with various mission teams entertaining children abroad. They also were very active locally as clowns for the U.P. State Fair, local churches, and businesses. Bill was an avid hunter and looked forward to spending time outdoors. He was a member of Wildlife Unlimited and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Bill is survived by his brother, Jerry (Barb) Isetts; sister, Joyce Isetts; daughter Paula (Isetts) Derouin; sons, William S. Isetts Jr., Troy Isetts, and Steven (Vonceil) Isetts; stepdaughter, Heather Bunno; and many nieces and nephews as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In addition to his parents and wife, Bill was preceded in death by his eldest brother, Leroy Isetts.
The Family would like to Thank Samantha Berube for her longtime in-home care of Bill. Her dedication to Bill even after he had moved to the care facility was greatly appreciated.
Visitation will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., Saturday, February 25, 2023 at Grace Church in Gladstone. Military Honors will be conducted at 12:45 p.m., Saturday, by the Rock American Legion Post 559. Funeral services celebrating the life of Bill will follow with Pastor Tim Haugen officiating. A luncheon will be served at the conclusion of the services in the church fellowship hall. Burial will take place in the New Garden Cemetery.
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