William Harris Anttila, 73, of Mass City, Michigan, passed away on Friday September 13, 2019, in Paw Paw, Michigan, at the home of his son, Barry, after an extended illness. He was born on August 30, 1946, in Ontonagon, Michigan.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, William Brenolf and Geraldine Evelyn (O’Connell) Anttila, brothers John Thomas and Dean Robert, sister Mary Lee, and brother-in-law James Juntunen.
Bill is survived by his children, Stacey Anttila of Mass City and Barry Anttila of Paw Paw; brothers Joseph Anttila (Nona) of Toivola and Donald Anttila (Carole) of Llano, Texas; sisters Jane Juntunen of Greenland, Evelyn Good (David) of Chelsea, and Nora T'Niemi (Bill) of Toivola; and grandson Cullen Lindsay of Tampa, Florida; former spouse, Susan (Molaski) Myllymaki of Ontonagon; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Bill graduated from Mass High School in 1964 and attended Suomi College and Northern Michigan University. He was inducted into the U.S. Army in April 1968, where he served in Company A 720TH Military Police Battalion of the United States Army at the Bearcat base in Vietnam. Bill worked for Copper Range Company in White Pine for more than 24 years. In June 1977, Bill purchased Tige’s Bar in Mass City from his aunt Mildred (Sis) and uncle Toivo (Tige) Uotila. Bill loved bringing people together, and Tige’s was the base from which he sponsored many years of baseball, softball, pool, and dart ball teams. He pitched slow-pitch men’s softball and hit more than a few home runs for Tige’s Mets. He loved sports of all kinds and took pride seeing local youth compete for their schools. He loved fishing, hunting, and trail rides. Know that if you participated in any of these things, you brought him great joy.
Bill had the unique gifts of making people feel special and remembering everything from the past in epic detail. He had a powerful sense of humor and loved to sit and tell you stories about your relatives, his childhood, Mass City’s history, and Vietnam. He gave many lively “buck reports” on the Deerhunters’ Roundup radio show. A member of VFW Post 4167 in Mass City for 50 years, he was passionate about supporting the post through fundraisers and dinners, ensuring that veterans received a proper burial to honor their service, and honoring those who served and sacrificed. Bill worked to help other veterans get the benefits they were due, especially those who had been exposed to Agent Orange, as he was.
A big man with a big heart, Bill was known to be a guy who would show up for you when you were in trouble. He wanted to help people in need and believed in giving people many chances to right themselves through quiet acts of mercy and compassion. Always an independent and strong (and stubborn) sort, Bill was not happy to be in a position to need any assistance himself; but he embraced the immense loyalty and love from his employees, countless friends, caregivers, and large extended family.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday September 27, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. with the Father Michael Jacobus officiating at Holy Family Catholic Church, Ontonagon. Bill’s family will receive friends at Holy Family at 10 a.m. Military rites and burial will take place at 2:00 p.m. at Maple Grove Cemetery in Greenland, with a gathering to be held afterward at Tige’s Bar. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Bill to the Fisher House (fisherhouse.org) or Vietnam Combat Veterans, Ltd. (themovingwall.org caretakers of The Moving Wall and Museum) in White Pine, Michigan.
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