Rev. William D. Schoonover
Rev. William D. Schoonover, age 94, stepped into heaven on December 29, 2020. Bill Schoonover, the son of Carl and Hilda (Houghten) Schoonover, was born on a Saturday morning on a farm near Utica, MI on August 3, 1926. After graduating from Utica High School in 1944, he joined the U.S. Navy as an aviation ordinance man, gunner-bombardier. Following an honorable discharge in 1946, Bill obtained a pilot’s license, farmed, and worked the afternoon shift at G.M. Truck and Coach in Pontiac.
On September 9, 1950 he married Norma Rose Henderson and they started a family in a house they built near Rochester, MI. During that decade they were active at the Elmwood Methodist Church and after accepting Jesus Christ as their personal savior at a 1953 Billy Graham Crusade in Detroit followed by a series of “Spiritual Renewal” services at their home church a couple of years later, Bill felt a definite call to preach.
By the fall of 1959, they began their ministry at the Brent Creek – West Vienna charge. In 1962, Bill was appointed to the Elba Methodist Church and after graduating Adrian College enrolled at the Chandler Theological Seminary at Emory University in Atlanta, GA where he pastored the Culloden, Yatesville, and Rogers Methodist charge while earning his Masters of Divinity degree. Upon returning to Michigan, Bill was appointed to Norway – Faithorn in 1968, Negaunee Mitchell 1974, Flint Asbury 1982, Ontonagan-Rockland and Greenwood in 1990 to complete his ministry as an ordained elder in the United Methodist Detroit Conference.
During his tenure, he served on the Board of Ordained Ministry, Evangelism, Missions, and many others. He and Norma were camp counselors and deans at Michigamme and Bay Shore. From 1969-1983, Bill was the Civil Air Patrol Chaplain where he had an opportunity to combine his love of flying with his love of God.
After retirement, he continued to pastor at Three Worlds RV Resort in Davenport, FL and fill pulpits wherever he was needed. Norma and Bill made many journeys to the Holy Land where they served as hosts for Educational Opportunities tours.
He called his farm at Faithorn, MI home where he could garden, saw lumber and run his grandchildren around the fields on a hayride. He was a woodworker and rock collector, but above all, a husband, father, and grandfather who loved a family gathering at the farm, an annual trip to the Experimental Aircraft Association show in Oshkosh, and serving with the people of God.
“Pure logic and philosophy cannot explain the marvelous workings of the Lord in a life changed by faith.” -Rev. William Schoonover, Theological Statement, 10/26/1989
Reverend Bill, as he was affectionately known to his parishioners, was preceded in death by his parents, his siblings, and his youngest son, Thomas Schoonover on December 25, 2020. He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Norma; and his children: William (Lynda) Schoonover Jr., Alice Crookham, Ruth Burby, Anna (Mel) Laurila, and Deborah (Russ) Hanstein. He and Norma enjoy 16 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren.
Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held at 2 PM on May 30, 2021 at Grace United Methodist Church, 130 O Dill Dr., Norway, MI with interment at the Faithorn, MI cemetery. Visit Bill’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you may read his Life Story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign his online guestbook.
Memorial contributions may be made to the United Methodist Committee on Relief through any local United Methodist Church or at www.umcmission.org/umcor.
Arrangements by Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr., Kalamazoo, (269) 375-2900.
Condolences can be sent to Norma Schoonover, 5591 Goldenrod St., Kalamazoo, MI 49009.