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William Herbert Fullmer died on 2/15/2022. He was newly 80-years-old, though he looked much younger, and was passionate about life and the many opportunities it held. His family is grateful to the team at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing who provided care in his final days and supported his loved ones being present with him, to include his daughter Mari and her partner Carter; his son, Travis; and Bill’s partner, Nancy. Also present with him were the many loving messages of family and friends.

Bill was born in Ft. Atkinson, WI to Harley and Ruth Fullmer. He is survived by his two sisters, Mona Mason and Nancy Mueller, and has many beloved extended family and friends in the WI area. He cherished his family and always looked forward to visiting, especially attending the annual Mason Family Jamboree.

Bill attended Ft. Atkinson High School and then attended University of Wisconsin Lacrosse for undergraduate studies. He moved to Kalamazoo, MI in 1966 to attend Western Michigan University where he earned his Masters in Behavioral Psychology. It was here he met his beloved wife, Mary. They had an instant connection and after 6 weeks were married on 10/25/1966. They moved to Minneapolis, MN where Bill continued his graduate studies and they began a family.

In 1976, Bill and family moved to DeWitt, MI where he held various roles for the State of MI Department of Mental Health in Lansing for 30 years. He was a leader in the department and responsible for management and allocation of funds for mental health resources around the state.

DeWitt remained Bill’s home for the last 46 years. He cared deeply about his community and was actively involved over the years in Kiwanis, Garden Club, the DeWitt Library Board, and he also remained a dedicated Panther football fan long after his children graduated.

Gardening became a significant passion and Bill created an incredible haven at their current home in DeWitt. He loved plants and noticed them everywhere he went. He also loved the habitat they provided. He found great enjoyment in his bird houses, especially sitting on the garden swing to watch the wrens feed their young and to search for turkey vultures in the sky. This winter he was amazed to find at least 6 male cardinals sharing the backyard and feeder.

Bill was incredibly passionate about music and the arts. He was a champion for local music and was on the board for the Lansing Symphony as well as the Friends of Absolute Music. He loved attending Wharton Center events, the E. Lansing Jazz Festival, as well as the Williamston Theater, and so much more. Music fed his soul and frequently brought him to tears. It was captivating to watch how enthralled he was when listening to a concert.

He was also deeply committed to the Lansing Parkinson’s Association after Mary became ill. Together they were on the steering committee and worked together to spread awareness of Parkinson’s. He remained dedicated after Mary’s passing in 2019, including creating his own lending library for supportive equipment to others in need.

Bill loved to travel, especially to Washington D.C. and Chicago; he loved attending the Chautauqua Music Festival; made frequent trips to San Francisco and Santa Barbara to visit daughter Mari and granddaughter Gaia; and of course his yearly cross country skiing trip with friends to Stokely Creek in Canada was a highlight. He also loved football, especially the Spartans and the Green Bay Packers. He and Mary attended MSU women’s basketball games for many seasons. Bill looked forward to weekly chats with daughter Mari, regular dinners with his son, Travis, and always enjoyed time with his granddaughter, Gaia whose creativity and enthusiasm he admired.

Bill was an incredibly kind man and brightened the day of those around him with his warmth, interest, joyful eyes, and smile. His enthusiasm could be contagious and he had such skill for seeing beauty in the world and in others. Bill was a deep thinker, a dreamer, and wanted to make the world better. He wrote letters to magazines when an article moved him and was passionate about social issues.

He had a passion for life and easily let it show. Bill was known to dance in the lobby of restaurants while waiting for a table or at the street corner waiting to cross. He was a soulful man who was a master at awe and finding joy. This supported him richly as he became a caregiver for his beloved Mary, and navigating grief after her passing in 2020; they had been married for 54 years and found ways to make each other laugh through it all. It also allowed him to love again with his dear partner, Nancy. He had again found happiness and much to look forward to.

Bill leaves behind a rich community of family and friends. His family is grateful to all those who loved and appreciated him and who have offered their support in our time of grief and celebration. Life is precious and he would want us to find joy wherever we can and often.

A memorial will be held later, when the gardens are in bloom and we can celebrate outdoors.

Contributions in Bill’s honor can be made to the Lansing Symphony, FAM, DeWitt Garden Club, or Michigan Parkinson Foundation.


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28 Condolences

  1. Karen Petersmarck on March 14, 2022 at 2:53 pm

    Bill Fulmer was a beloved member of the Lansing Area Parkinson’s Support Group. He first joined to support his wife, Mary, making sure that she was able to attend every meeting. Before long, his support was extended to other caregivers. Soon after that, he and Mary became invaluable members of the group’s Steering Committee, where he spearheaded efforts to spread the word that no one has to deal with Parkinsons’s alone. He took the lead in placing striking billboards all around Lansing reading, in part, “Parkinson’s Disease? You are not alone!” He set up a website and a Facebook page for the group. He recently established a personal lending closet for adaptive equipment that could help people with Parkinson’s.
    Bill never complained about anything. When taking on a task, he stayed with it until it was done, and done right. After Mary passed away, he continued facilitating the Caregivers Support Group. Whenever Bill arrived at a meeting, we all felt a little bit better. He will be missed for all his contributions, but he will be even more missed for his ready smile, his unfailing optimism, his enthusiasm for helping the community, and his effective, creative, problem solving.
    The members of the Lansing Area Parkinson’s Support Group offer our most heartfelt condolences to Mari, Carter, Travis and Nancy. Considering how much we miss him, we can only imagine how much you feel his absence.

  2. Paula Yingling on March 15, 2022 at 6:13 pm

    Bill and Mary were very special people and both are missed dearly

    Forever remembered Paula Yingling

  3. Dick Witter on July 11, 2022 at 11:09 am

    I met Bill in 2011 at the inaugural meeting of what would become Friends of Absolute Music. Bill was passionate about FAM and the music it sponsored. I was the first president. Bill was vice president. We both worked on bylaws, concert logistics and developing a partnership with Richard Sherman, the brain trust of the project and our founding artistic director. It was an amazing several years, schlepping chairs at the Absolute Gallery under the watchful eye of Kathy Holcomb, and nurturing this child we had collectively birthed into a healthy juvenile. The organization has now become an adult, Bill went back on the board and became its president. My relationship with Bill was invigorated in more recent years with the help of Stu Hallgren, a friend of Bill’s. Stu had to back out of our shared football tickets and suggested Bill might be a good partner. Bill and I then attended several MSU football games, most recently in the fall of 2021, and I looked forward to a continuing partnership at Spartan Stadium. It was not to be. My most sincere condolences to Bill’s family and also to the lady who came into Bill’s life and who I met fleetingly, at a concert at Wharton Center this past season. I will miss him.

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