William “Big Bill” Bernard Van Wie, 71, of Wisconsin Dells, passed away peacefully Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, in the comfort of his own home surrounded by family.

Bill was born Oct.25, 1946, in Baraboo, the son of R. Jack and Dorothy (Bisely) Van Wie. He graduated from Wisconsin Dells High School and later attended St. Norbert’s College and earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1970. In January 1970, he married Paula Meister in Reedsburg. Later that year he joined the 32nd Infantry Brigade, part of Wisconsin Army National Guard. Bill worked in the insurance industry for 46 years. He truly enjoyed and cared for each of his clients.

Larger-than-life, ever-positive, and always rooting for the underdog, Bill was happiest when he could make others smile and spend time with the family he loved above all else. He made sure his children always knew they were a top priority and devoted his time to coaching their sports teams, traveling the United States to watch them play and engaging them in unforgettable experiences.

Upon the birth of his 10 grandchildren, his pride and joy, Bill’s love of being a fan grew even more. He proudly attended everything from Christmas concerts, to school plays, to sporting events to show his love and support. His children and grandchildren are blessed and forever grateful to have had such a wonderful example of a selfless family man and an overall extraordinary person—one who didn’t sweat the small stuff. He lived his life with perspective, optimism and a great sense of humor.

Bill fought his two-year battle against multiple myeloma in the same way in which he lived life; with a strong faith, upbeat attitude and an ability to make others laugh even under difficult circumstances. He liked to start his days at BJ’s where he was surrounded by good friends. He had a desire for his loved ones to find happiness even in the saddest moments.

Bill is survived by his wife of 47 years Paula; children, Anne Moore of Sun Prairie, and her children, Bryce and Elle, Billy (Amanda) of Waunakee, and their children, Morgan, Kaitlin, Lauren and William Bernard II, Betsy (Jason) Field of Wisconsin Dells and their children, Jack Melvin and Natalie, Andy of Waunakee and his children, Drew and Gavin; brothers, Robert (Evelyn) of Wisconsin Dells, John (Joanne) of Wisconsin Dells;and sisters, Elizabeth (Cliff) Wolfram of Portage, and Mary Van Wie of Springfield, Virginia; many other loving family members and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother David; brother-in-law Rich Lucke; and sister-in-law Ardie Meister.

Bill will forever live in the hearts of his family and friends, and there is comfort in knowing his inspiring legacy will continue. There’s no doubt he will be sitting in his favorite front row seat on the 50-yard line with his good friend “Buck” Kahler at all of his loved ones’ big events to come.

Bill’s children would like to extend their deep appreciation and love to their mom for taking such good care of their dad and showing exemplary strength. The family would also like to thank Dr. Huen, Dr. Calander, Dr. Sessler, Dr. Dubray, Dr Orkfritz, Bill’s favorite nurses, “Katie Boom Boom,” and Mary Alice Koch, and all of the other staff at St. Clare Hospital and St. Clare Oncology Clinic who loved him, laughed with him and relished in his humor. The family would also like to thank SSM Health at Home Hospice for assisting Bill and his family so he could be at home.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church in Wisconsin Dells or St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Baraboo.

The Mass of Christian burial will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church in Wisconsin Dells, with Father Eric Sternberg celebrating. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery with military honors. Visitation will be held from 3-7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, and from 9 a.m. until the time of service on Friday at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church.

Picha Funeral Home and Crematory of Wisconsin Dells, assisted the family with arrangements. For online condolences and information, visit pichafuneralhome.com.