William C. Harre, 77 of Gaylord, passed away peacefully on Friday, September 21, 2018 surrounded by family and friends at Medilodge of Gaylord.
Born on September 20, 1941 in Toledo, OH, Bill was the son of Willis and Stella Harre.
Bill’s life was epitomized by his love of pianos and music. He began playing the piano at the tender age of four years old. After high school, he attended Western Michigan University where he played the tuba in the band while pursuing a degree in education. Music eventually became his life, and he began traveling and playing with bands all around the country.
While playing in Colorado, he met Elaine (Lehnan) Hawkins. They were married on December 20, 1976 in Gaylord. Bill had discovered this area years earlier and liked it so much that they decided to move here.
Once they settled down in northern Michigan, Bill began playing the piano at the Chalet, Hidden Valley, and Treetops during their dinner hours as well as for private parties in and around Charlevoix and Harbor Springs. He loved jamming with his friends whenever he had the chance as well. He also established his own business, Complete Piano Services, and gained a reputation as an outstanding piano technician--tuning and repairing pianos, including player pianos--all over including at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.
Bill and Elaine eventually bought an over 100 year-old caboose as their home, and it was even featured on a television episode of “Extreme Homes.” They were also in the restaurant business in Gaylord, first with Taco Bill’s and later with Willy’s Coney’s. For several years, Bill enjoyed being part of a Friday morning local radio show. In his spare time he was a licensed ham radio operator which he enjoyed for many years. He also attended the Gaylord Church of Christ.
His great legacy includes passing on the gift and love of music to everyone around him and especially to his grandchildren who he loved very much, He was also loved by everyone that knew him including those that he met at Tendercare and MediLodge in recent years.
On December 11, 2002, Bill was preceded in death by his wife, Elaine. Surviving are his step- children, Steve (Karla) Hawkins of Gaylord, Mark (Margie) Hawkins of Miami, FL, Denise Davis of Boca Raton, FL, Ellen (Robert) Colon of Weirsdale, FL and Marybeth (Luis) Almanza of Miami, FL; many grandchildren including Ariane, Daniel (Stephanie), Anjuli, and Dustin (Taylor) Hawkins all of Gaylord; and great grandchildren, Kyte, Avery and Adeline Hawkins.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 PM Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at Gaylord Community Funeral Home & Cremation Service where the family will visit with friends beginning at 12:00 noon. Bill’s stepson, Pastor Steve Hawkins, will officiate. If anyone would like to assist with his final expenses in lieu of flowers, please contact Gaylord Community Funeral Home & Cremation Service. Please share your memories and personal messages with the family at www.gaylordfuneralhome.com