William "Bill" Bland, 86, passed away Wednesday, July 27, 2016, in the home he built for his family, after a long battle with cancer.
He was born April 7, 1930, to William and Leora Bland in Wabash, Indiana, where he attended school and worked to help provide for his family.
He married Mary Louise Hillstad in 1950 and had their children, William "Billy," Marilyn and Karen Sue. In 1951 he enlisted in the Army, where he served as a medic in the Korean War. After his honorable discharge he moved his family to Williston, North Dakota. He and Mary Louise later divorced and he moved to Missoula, where he met his wife of 49 years, Margie Patton. They were married in 1966 and had their children, Bryan and Lisa.
He worked in Missoula as a mechanic and in 1979 traveled to Alaska to work as a diesel mechanic until he retired in 1999.
He was a man of few words, but what he lacked in words he excelled in character, selflessness and love for his family. He had a great passion for motorcycles and spent much of his earlier years hill climbing and flat track racing and was well know by his nickname "Snortin' Nortin" derived from his nearly unbeatable Norton motorcycle. Bill became a licensed pilot and loved spending his weekends flying with his family in his Cessna. He also enjoyed water skiing, fishing, hunting, restoring old cars and any opportunity to help a family member or friend. Bill was deeply loved by many and will be greatly missed.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents; his siblings, Anna Harvey and Nancy Wegley; his son, William Bland; and son-in-law, Paul Solverson.
He is survived by his wife, Margie; his brother, Raymond Bland; children, Marilyn Solverson and Karen Chesnut (Mark), Bryan Bland (Sue) and Lisa Miller (Scott); 12 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at the Sunset Memorial Funeral Home at 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Camp Mak-A- Dream in Bill's name, P.O. Box 1450, Missoula, MT 59806.