Cover photo for William  H. "Bill" Thorngren's Obituary
William  H. "Bill" Thorngren Profile Photo
1926 William 2023

William H. "Bill" Thorngren

March 30, 1926 — February 22, 2023

William H. “Bill” Thorngren, died peacefully on Wednesday, February 22, 2023, in Grand Island at the age of 96.

To honor Bill’s wishes, his body was cremated. Burial will be at a later date in the Moline Memorial Park Cemetery in Moline, IL. Apfel Funeral Home – Grand Island is assisting the family. Memorials are suggested to Meals on Wheels, c/o The Grand Generation Center, 304 E 3rd St, Grand Island, NE 68801.

William Howard Thorngren was born March 30, 1926, at Moline, IL to Walter A. and Florence T. (Jacobson) Thorngren. He grew up and received his education in Moline, graduating from Moline High School in 1944. Bill met the love of his life in 7th grade, at John Deere Junior High School, in Mrs. Wiggin’s homeroom. He and Betty F. Stoelting would later wed on May 25, 1947.

Bill entered the U.S. Army, July 13, 1944, receiving his basic training in the cavalry at Ft. Riley, KS, he went on to serve during WWII as a Corporal with the Military Police in the China, Burma, India Theatre of Operations. He was honorably discharged on June 5, 1946.

Bill was a lifelong contractor respected by his customers and his peers. He and Betty resided in Moline, later in Grand Island, NE and Port St. Lucie, FL.

He was active in school organizations, founding the Dad’s Club in Moline and serving on the PTA. He was involved with Civil Defense for Rock Island County, was a 50-year member of Doric Masonic Lodge #319 in Moline, and Past Master of AFAM – Amber Lodge #569 at Quick, IA.

Bill loved sports and was a YMCA swimming instructor in his earlier years. He enjoyed fishing and the outdoors and was a Master Gardener. He was once the runner-up in the National Victory Garden Competition sponsored by WGBH in Boston. He volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in Grand Island. Bill was also a self-taught wood carver and started the Pioneer Wood Carvers in Grand Island. At the age of 95, he wrote his memoirs from his time in the Army in the form of a book.

Survivors include his children, Julie Hanger of Moline, IL, Virginia Rush of Illinois City, IL, Teresa (Jeff) Seiler of Moline, IL, Jane Thorngren (Gail Yenny) of Grand Island, NE and Walt Thorngren (Sue Palmer) of St. Louis, MO; seven grandchildren; six great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Betty in 2016; his son-in-law, Ken Hanger; one brother, Walt Thorngren, Jr.; and three sisters, Betty Hufford, Shirley Otis and Janet McElhiney.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William H. "Bill" Thorngren, please visit our flower store.


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