We are all deeply saddened by the loss of one of the area’s finest sons. For over two decades Bill’s writings have penned the history of the moments, events and stories of the communities to which our papers are circulated. With timeless journalistic style, ethics and workmanship, Bill was considered by many to be the “best.” I can recall the thousands of calls from individuals over the years seeking some historical fact, often times from several prior decades. With ease, he would reveal the fact in question and send the inquirer on their way.
I never imagined the journey we were about to embark upon that hot July day in front of the Shiawassee County Courthouse. I was driving back to our office in Durand and spotted Bill walking in front of the courthouse. I quickly parked my vehicle and flagged him down from the other side of the street. Always cordial, he waved and waited for me to talk. It was a sweltering hot day with the temperature in the mid-nineties. It took me three hours to convince Bill to leave the Flint Journal and come work with our papers. He told me no or he would think about it nearly twenty times before he finally consented.
We will always remember his caring and friendly smile or that mischievous grin when you caught his attention. He brought wonder into the room as he revealed the stories he was crafting in his mind, and his attention to detail and historical fact was never in question. Bill cared deeply for our communities and the families that represented them and he sought to pen their stories with his unique style. Average was never a word in Bill’s life.
He was known to get the dander up of many a politician in the area. He believed we should hold their feet to the fire, and although many of you may have felt frustrated or challenged, you knew in your heart Bill was always fair and balanced in his reporting and approach.
It has been a joy to create the Independent together for over two decades. Our friend, you may have passed on, but your historical writings published every week will live on forever. Although we will miss your presence, your leadership and your colorful personality in the office, you will always be in our hearts and forever will be the Independent.
On a clear dark night, look up and find the brightest star, pretty sure that will be Bill making his presence known in the heavens. It has been an honor to work alongside with, create with and record history with you.
Michael L. Flores
Publisher/Owner of The Independent Newsgroup