William “Bill” J. Powell, age 76, of Munising, died unexpectedly Tuesday, July 4, 2023 in Martin, South Dakota a place he loved to hunt with friends and ride his motorcycle. He was born March 17, 1947 in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Jessie Anna Powell and James Dixon. Bill’s early years were spent on the family farm on Lehnen Road, the place where he spent his summers growing up. His mother married Ernest Frey and together they raised Bill, settling in Saginaw, Michigan. He attended Arthur Hill and Bridgeport High School. Bill married Nancy Hancock in 1970 and together they raised their daughter Christina. Bill was a heavy equipment operator who specialized in running a dragline. His expertise made him sought after by many contractors. He worked across the south moving his family from town to town following work. In 1986, he moved back to Munising and started Powell Excavating. Bill worked across the U.P. spending a lot of time in Alger and Delta Counties working on many projects and digging countless ponds. He later returned south to Louisiana and continued to operate the dragline before retiring in 2021 and returning to Munising. Bill enjoyed riding his motorcycles and was a member of a Gold Wing Motorcycle group for many years. Bill was a proud card-carrying member of the NRA. He loved to hunt and target shoot, winning multiple awards in handgun competitions. He shared his passion of shooting with his grandson Blaine and daughter Christy. Bill was strong minded, a bit opinionated, and always did it “My Way”. He would love to talk and share his views starting the conversation with “Did you see the news?” Bill had a passion for learning about history, astronomy, and how things worked. The only thing he didn’t want to learn was fueled by his disdain for technology. No emails or texting for this guy. He also didn’t understand why he couldn’t get a vehicle without all the extra junk and just roll the window down. Bill was a workaholic, but always made time for his trips out west to go prairie dog hunting. He loved visiting the ranchers and friends he met along the way sharing new theories and solving all of the world’s problems.
“Well Dad, you passed as you lived, doing things you loved. On a hunting trip on a motorcycle. You always told me that when something happened to you, to be comforted by knowing that you lived life on your terms and didn’t get cheated. You packed so much into your 76 years. Know dad, that we sure will miss you.”
Bill is survived by his daughter and son-in-law – Christina and Erik Elore of Munising; grandchildren – Blaine (Ashlee) Bradley of Kentucky, Ciera (fiancé A.J. Emmons) Bradley of Munising, and Garret (Zoey Berger) Elore of Munising; great-granddaughter – Bailee Elizabeth Rose Elore and one more on the way; mother – Jessie Frey of Saginaw; siblings – Laura Frey, Ernest Frey, Jr., and Cheri (Bob) Dodge. He was preceded in death by his father – James Dixon; father – Ernest Frey; sister - Michele Ballard; grandson – Gavin Lee Elore; and former wife - Nancy Jean Powell.
Interment will be at the Grand Island Cemetery on Grand Island on Saturday, August 26, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. Attendees will be responsible for their own transportation to the island and the hike to the cemetery. If inclement weather will not allow boat travel that day, a memorial gathering will take place at the West Shore Drive Pavilion please check the website for updates. SERVICES WILL BE HELD AT THE WEST SHORE DRIVE PAVILLION