William Charles Westerlund, affectionately known as "Bill" , passed away January 2, 2022. He was born June 5, 1948, in Waterbury, Connecticut to Charles Westerlund and Hilda Coates Westerlund.
They moved to Hammond when William was very young, and resided there for many years. He was a 1966 graduate of Morton High School and enlisted in the United States Marine Corp, where he served his country for seven years. He served in the Vietnam War in Recon. He had a list of battles over two pages long, and was very proud to be a Marine serving his country for our freedom. After his honorable discharge in 1973, he was employed at Inland Steel (now Cleveland Cliffs), retiring after thirty years of dedicated service. After his retirement from the mill, he was employed as a Groundskeeper at Ridgelawn Cemetery for several years. He was a hard worker and loved working at the cemetery.
Bill was into photography for awhile, taking really nice pictures of some of his nieces and nephews. He also loved to take nature walks in Gibson Woods and enjoyed bird watching. His love for cats was extraordinary. He had a black one some years ago, named Isis, and currently had a black and white one named Lyzza, after his love for Liza Minelli.
He was very intellectual and before his stroke left him without the ability to speak, he would talk your ear off about anything and everything. Once when he was home on leave he encouraged ditching school and going to the beach instead. He loved running on the beach, while some of us slept and was burned to a crisp. He once drove to Alabama with his sister to help his cousin move back to Indiana, which allowed us lots of brother and sister time, driving a U haul while leaving his sister to drive his Torino. Many hours of staring at the U haul logo "Adventure in Moving", no adventure in that long trip home !
As kids he was extremely aggravating, and the biggest tease ever ! Poking eyes out of dolls, beating the stuffing out of teddy bears. Never really knowing what was next ! His nieces and nephews loved when he came to visit, but he would get them all wound up , then announce he was leaving, which meant someone had to settle them down.
He was preceded in death by his father, Charles Westerlund; mother, Hilda Isom; stepfather, Ted Isom; brothers-in-law, Scott Smolinski, Paul Schweiger, and niece, Holly Smolinski; great nephew, Bradley McLeod; step-sisters, Donna MacDougall, and Sandra Isom.
Bill leaves to cherish his memory: five sisters, Marsha Smolinski of Griffith, Indiana, Dorothy Westerlund of Chesterton, Indiana, Barbara Schweiger of Chesterton, Indiana, Janet (Fred) Howe of Oregon, and Kelley (Jeff) Fulmer of Birmingham, Alabama; stepsister, Rae Linda (Jim) Wampler of Illinois; stepbrother, James Isom of Oklahoma; and step-brother-in-law, Alan MacDougall, and numerous nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews. Loved by all and will be missed dearly by many.
Visitation will be Saturday, January 8, 2022, 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. from Ridgelawn Funeral Home 4201 West Ridge Road Gary, Indiana 46408. Military Honor burial at Ridgelawn Cemetery immediately following visitation.
MASKS ARE REQUIRED BY ALL ATTENDEES VACCINATED OR UNVACCINATED !
In lieu of flowers the family request donations be made in honor of Bill to garysinisefoundation.org (for veterans) and www.sc4pets.com
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