William DeBruyn

BATES TOWNSHIP – William “Bill” Edward DeBruyn, 91, of Bates Township, beloved father, husband, brother, friend, teacher, passed peacefully early Sunday morning, July 14, 2013, surrounded by loved ones.

Bill was born Jan. 16, 1922, in Norway, to Edwilda Rita Asselin DeBruyn and Edward Cyril DeBruyn, youngest of three children. He had two older sisters, Charlotte and Elnora.

Bill graduated from Norway High School in 1940. He attended Northern Michigan College of Education in Marquette. During his senior year in 1943, Bill left his studies to join the Army Air Corps when the U.S. became involved in World War II. He served in the Intelligence Branch at Eglin Field, Fla. He returned to college the day after he got home from the Army.

Bill always said that 1946 “was the best year of my life” He was discharged from the Army, finished his bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan College of Education, got his first teaching job, and married his sweetheart Florence Lemyra Brown on Aug. 17, 1946, in Fergus Falls, Minn.

Bill and Florence settled into their own apartment in Munising where both had teaching jobs at the high school. In 1948 they returned to Florence’s hometown of Fergus Falls where all five DeBruyn children were born. Bill purchased property that became Hiawatha Lane-Hobbycraft-Gifts-Games. Bill loved working at “the store” but decided to go back into teaching so he could spend more time with his family.

Bill took a teaching job at Bates Township School in 1957. Mr. D taught science, social studies, and physical education to 5th through 8th graders and coached junior varsity Bates Braves basketball. Bill retired from teaching in 1978.

Mr. D was preceded in death by his wife, Florence in January 2002 and his beloved daughter, Edwilda Marguerite “Rita” in April 2013.

Bill is survived by daughters, Lemyra Martha DeBruyn of Bernalillo, N.M., Sidonie Marie DeBruyn (Richard A. Rozek) of Santa Fe, N.M., and Florence Nanette DeBruyn-Haynes of Emporia, Kan.; son, Eduard Francis DeBruyn (Linda Lopez DeBruyn) of Santa Fe; devoted son-in-law, James V. Hedin (Rita’s husband) of Eagan, Minn.; grandchildren, Eduard Alexander DeBruyn, Krystl Keiana DeBruyn, Elsie Kathrine Haynes, William Peterson Haynes, and Barbara Florence DeBruyn Haynes; sister, Elnora DeBruyn Pratte; and beloved companion Marian Galajda.

The family will have a private celebration of Mr. D’s life.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to a no-kill animal shelter of choice.

Condolences may be expressed to the family of Bill “Mr. D” DeBruyn online at

Funeral arrangements made by the Jacobs Funeral Home of Iron River.