Willard C. Kendall

February 3, 1939September 11, 2021

Willard (“Bill”) Kendall, 82, of Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, passed away on Sept 11, 2021, surrounded by his wife and children.

He was born to parents Willard and Eunice Kendall on February 3, 1939, in Detroit, Michigan. Bill graduated from De La Salle High School and received undergraduate and graduate degrees from University of Detroit. His career was in education. It began in the classroom as a teacher, then later evolved into college administration. For many years he led the Employee Relations Department at Oakland University, where, as the administration’s labor contract negotiator, he earned the unofficial title of “Mr. Reasonable”.

He married Janet, the love of his life, in 1968. She survives him. Bill is also survived by son Curtis, daughter Carrie and spouse Tom - as well as grandchildren Patrick, Zoe, Christina, Alicia, Anthony and James.

Bill was known for his active lifestyle. He was a runner, a tennis player, a golfer, a cross country skier, and in his later years, an avid fly fisherman (an activity enriched through combination with his love for dogs, in particular his Chocolate Lab and constant companion “Orvis”). Throughout his life, he maintained a consistent dedication to fitness and healthy habits – but suffered a persistent late-night susceptibility to ice cream, direct from the carton. Bill was also a person who cultivated an enduring intellectual curiosity - and could speak with familiarity on a broad range of topics. He had a remarkable vocabulary, a knack for nuance, and a subtle sense of humor. However, Bill’s strongest attributes were grounded in his character: he was honest and a hard worker; he was fair and loyal; he was kind, and generous, and ever loving with those dear to him.

An open itinerary memorial reception will be held on Saturday, September 18, 1-5pm at the Rochester Bistro, in Rochester MI. Family and friends are invited to stop in and share some moments and memories of Bill with his survivors. The family requests that, if inclined, people make donations to the Salvation Army, in lieu of sending flowers.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Willard C. Kendall

have a memory or condolence to add?

Chuck Pearce

September 15, 2021

I’m writing this enjoying my second scotch and a good cigar. This was one of mine and Bill’s favorite past times.

I met Bill and Jan(through our kids)in the mid 70’s when we lived a few doors away. We played golf almost every weekend for almost twenty years then occasionally after that until the mid 2010’s.

We took up cross country skiing in the late 80’s and enjoyed many trips to northern Michigan, Quebec, Vermont and New Hampshire for 8 or nine years.
Then we got into fly fishing and fished most of the streams in northern Michigan near our Gaylord cottages.

In the early 90’s Bill and I went to a golf expo at Oakland University and each won a golf weekend trip for two at the Otsego Club in Gaylord in August. It happened to be the weekend of the Pleiades meteor showers. Bill and I dragged two chairs from our rooms up the ski hill and golf course overlooking a big valley armed with a bottle of scotch and cigars around 11:30 to enjoy the meteor shower.

I was about 100 yards from that spot when Jan called to tell me that Bill had just passed. I don’t know what to call that, serendipity, coincidence or something else. All the memories came rushing back.

I am so sorry for your loss Jan. I know what you are going through and if there is anything I can do please ask.

Rest In Peace Wild Bill! Love you.

Pamela Vitali Baker

September 15, 2021

A happy well- lived life is the most exquisite work of art and Bill Kendall's smile lines were in the right place.

To paraphrase Cicero: “If you want to be immortal, live a life worth remembering.” When our loved ones pass, their life will continue in the memories of their loved ones. As long as they are remembered, they will continue living.

Bill Kendall is loved and will not be forgotten by those who knew and loved him.

Thomas Baker

September 14, 2021

I consider myself an extremely lucky man to have married into this family, and to have had Bill as my father in-law. I was never uncertain that he loved me, and he always treated me like a son.
From Bill I learned to appreciate scotch, fly fishing, Glenn Gould and Herbert Von Karajan. And loyalty to my family. My family which would have been impossible to have without him.
So, to a man I love and admire, I’ll play the Goldberg Variations, lift a dram (or a few) of Scotch Whiskey, and toast to a life well lived. Whatever Heaven awaits you deserve the bluest and best.