William Joseph Best

March 30, 1922April 28, 2018

Lieutenant J.G. William J. Best (Bill) Naval Veteran and P T Boat navigator during WWII passed away peacefully at 96 on April 28, 2018 surrounded by family and his “Angels” from Mendelson Home Assisted Living at Lourdes Senior Community, Waterford, MI. He was married to his high school sweetheart and the love of his life, Elizabeth for 72 years. William graduated from University of Detroit and was an innovative chemical engineer for the auto industry but his claim to fame was contributing to the development and patent of Nerf Foam. Bill was an avid golfer and loved spending time with family and friends on Cedar Island Lake where the family lived for over 60 years. Survived by his wife Elizabeth (O’Donnell) Best; sister Marytherese Merritt and sister-in-law Rita O’Donnell. Father of 9: the late Christopher, Melinda (David) Calme, Rebecca (Richard) Holman, the late Timothy, Jennifer Cronin, Lisa (Dean) Wilson, Mary (Remi) Zecman, the late William T. and Georgina (Jamie) Neylon. Fun Grandfather of 13: David (Valbona) Calme; Coral and Megan Cronin; Erica (Charles) Sloan; Jesse (Neil) Fiest; Lindsey (John) Pilling; Kaitlyn, Amanda and Joseph Wilson; Madeline (Jack) Snyder, Eric Zecman; and Phoenix Neylon. Proud great-grandfather of 16: Griffin (fiancé Alex) and Morgan Calme; Paola Kaciqi; Kendal, Devon, Zoey and Connor Sloan; Anneliese Fiest; Lyla, Eve, Addie and Oaklee Pilling; Orion and Archer Traverso; and Alivia Kate Wyatt. Loving uncle of many notable nieces and nephews especially Martin “Co-Bro” Jones and honorary “Grandpa” to Amine Moussaousi. Preceded in death by parents JFW and Berenice (Franchere) Best, sisters: Sr Gilmary Best IHM, Dorothy (Jack) Jones, and Isabelle (John) Kanaly; sister-in-law Jane (Robert) Anderson; brother-in-law William (Joyce) O’Donnell; grandson James Christopher Neylon and grand-daughter Deana Calme. William and Elizabeth were active members of St. Patrick Catholic Church, White Lake, for over 60 years where Bill was a Catechist, Eucharistic minister, lecture, and children’s liturgy minister. William will be fondly remembered for his personal charity work with homeless, going as far as bringing them to his house to live and even buying homes for some. He’ll also be remembered for his adventures including broken down motor home trips, famous elevator rides, two tracking up north in the live military range, scary Halloween exhibits and tricks, freezing at the cabin with no electricity, heat or plumbing, spontaneous vacation and fishing trips. A memorial mass will be held at 11:00 am, Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 9086 Hutchins in White Lake. Arrangements handled by the Union Lake Chapel of the Elton Black and Son Funeral Home.


  • Memorial Mass Tuesday, May 29, 2018

William Joseph Best

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Mark Anderson

May 4, 2018

Uncle Bill taught me how to play poker when I was young and would get to spend a couple of weeks at the lake in the Summer. Tim, Jenny, Becky and I would ride our bikes for what seemed like days up to the store for stuff. Then the ride home would be so long, dusty and hot by the time we got back that I wouldn't even dismount from my bicycle but just ride it off the end of the dock into the lake.
Water skiing, playing cards and statue with the Flyns, swimming and fishing in the lake are memories i'll never forget. Being included in the motor home trips to Florida and Mammoth Cave in Kentucky were a plus.
My mom and Aunt Betty had their routine down pretty good. I remember the trade off spot at Orchard Lake by the boat rental where the kid swap was made, half way between Birmingham and Union Lake.
As I became older and more mature I remember being 16 or 17 years old and hitching down to Florida with a friend and then getting split from him on the way back. I was in the middle of a rain storm in Ohio, a drowned rat on the side of the road with my thumb out and Uncle Bill came by in his RV, returning from a vacation with the family, stated aloud "I think thats Mark" , turned around and rescued me from the side of the road and drove me the rest of the way home.
Later in life after Bill retired we became golf buddies and I was the recipient of many of his golf club products. Playing together at Springdale golf course in Birmingham, he really loved the 8th hole because it was short enough that he could still shoot par most of the time.
Another example of Bills determination was when one day I stopped by the house on Ceder Island, Bill must have been in his mid 80's by then, and I found him in the lake in water up to his knees, working on the dock.
Uncle Bill was a great example to me about dedication to family, how to have fun in life, work hard and take the lumps life gives you with grace, integrity and a touch of class.

chrissy Hauser-McDonald

April 30, 2018

I remember the motorhome trip I got to take with Mr. and Mrs. Best and Family. we went to Kentucky and visited a lot of the big horse farms. I was real little but I remember the great time I had as a small kid riding in that big motorhome. I still talk about that trip today. Thank you Mr. Best for one of my great memories from my childhood. Rest in Peace.