William Michael Zirngibl (Bill), 65, passed away peacefully at his home on Monday, January 23, 2023. He was surrounded by loved ones.
Bill was born on March 28, 1957 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was the third of five children of Ray and Carol (Kreger) Zirngibl. Bill loved spending time at his grandpa’s farm in Medford raising chickens, including his favorite, Gertrude. He went on to graduate from Saint Frances de Sales Seminary and later University of Wisconsin. Bill’s love for donuts started early when he was a baker at Mr. Donut. Shortly into his tenure as a baker, he met Susanne Barranco, and they married on March 17th, 1979. They went on to welcome four daughters Jean (John) Baker, Therese (Mike) Constable, Gwen Zirngibl (Thomas O’Neil), Michelle (Jason) Taylor, in addition to Sue’s two daughters Laura (John) Emanuelson and Lynn Mautner.
After moving to Michigan, Bill spent over 25 years working in the Detroit Public Schools. From a biology teacher to Planetarium Director at the Detroit Children’s Museum, he spent his years passing his love of animals and science onto anyone who would listen. It was in Michigan where he also got his master’s degree from Wayne State University. In 2001, Bill married Dena (Becker) and welcomed another daughter, Ashley (Dan) Raveau into the family.
There are no words to describe Bill’s eclectic nature and how much he did in his life. He was an amazing man of many traits. These included building the first family home in Superior, Wisconsin and restoring his grandpa’s tractor. He was always tinkering with something and also spent his days outside, hunting with his siblings, fishing, or camping. He set up a maple syrup operation at his farm in Medford, Wisconsin where the family loved spending weekends tapping trees and laughing around the evaporator. He had a love for the sky, teaching about the stars and later obtaining his pilot’s license to fly on his own. After learning to fly, he taught himself to sail, and eventually sailed solo across Lake Michigan and later down the Mississippi. During a two-year span, he hiked over 2000 miles of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia, making it into Connecticut before a motorcycle injury and Lyme disease moved him to his next adventures. A cross-country trip to Alaska van camping for 8 weeks, 3 weeks traveling across Russia and China on a Trans-Siberian train adventure, and a German countryside road trip were just a few of the experiences he loved to reflect on.
Those who most enjoyed hearing about Bill’s adventures were his beloved grandchildren. The favorites, most of which were almost always true, were about bears, deer hunting, fishing, and how nature works. These stories were told over a glass of fruit punch or hot chocolate (with unlimited refills) and many other sugar-filled treats (much to their parents’ chagrin).
Bill was always a phone call away to answer questions pertaining to a broken AC, flooded basement, car that wouldn’t start, and was there when you needed his support. We will miss our husband, dad, grandpa, brother, son, and friend more than words can express. Bill was preceded in death by his father Ray, wife Sue and brother David.
A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, May 20 at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in the town of Little Black, Medford, Wisconsin. Following the committal service, please join the family for a luncheon reception & a toast to Bill at High View Inn, W7766 Perkinstown Ave, Medford.
Hemer-Pickerign Funeral & Cremation Services of Medford and Rib Lake is serving the family. Online condolences can be left at www.hemerfuneralservice.com.
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