On Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, William Wesley Wisenor passed away at the age of 71.

Bill was born May 14, 1949, in Enterprise, Ore., to Wesley and Mabel. He grew up in Grangeville with his two brothers, Clyde and Roy. It is a miracle he survived his childhood as he and his brothers were so naughty, their tiny mother threatened to beat them within an inch of their lives. He always told people that as a child he thought his mother was 6 feet tall and weighed in at 250 pounds. She stood her ground probably in self-defense.

Charles Reginald “Rex” Crookes

He joined the U.S. Army at 17 and entered helicopter flight school and successfully earned his wings. On his first tour of duty in Vietnam, his helicopter came under fire, he was shot through the foot and his co-pilot was killed, but he was able to fly the helicopter to a safe zone. He was sent home to recover from his injuries, and once he got his feet back under him, he returned to Vietnam for a second tour. His injury provided him hundreds of free foot rubs in his later years. Bill took pride in serving his country, so after his Vietnam tours, he joined the National Guard and spent the next several decades flying helicopters. He joined the Spokane Fire Department in 1973, serving 25 years. A humble man who would never describe himself as a hero, his career was spent saving lives, making lifelong friends and having many adventures that he turned into hilarious stories.

Bill raised three daughters in Spokane, Tracie, Debbie and Amy, with his wife Sharon. He was a very active man who enjoyed golfing, various team sports, hunting, camping and setting off fireworks for the neighborhood. He was a jovial storyteller, prized a sense of humor, appreciated a cold beer, and raised his children and grandchildren to take a good teasing. He taught his daughters how to drive a stick shift by starting on a steep hill. His sole goal was to have each of them graduate high school not pregnant and not on drugs while at the same time telling them to reach for the stars and that they could be anything they wanted. He enjoyed taking these lessons to the next generations.

After he retired from the fire department and the National Guard as a chief warrant officer 4, he moved to White Bird. He worked for the Doumecq Road District with Tom Cullin part time, as well as working with Keith Ray pouring concrete. Yes, the man couldn’t retire. He joined the four-wheeler club and participated in many rides in the backcountry, once again enjoying the mountains he grew up in.

Bill reinstated in Idaho as an EMT and was active for several years. He was a member of the White Bird American Legion; participation was important to him, flag and country. He participated in forming White Bird Medical and Relief, an organization dedicated to helping those in need in our area.

Bill and Millie moved to Las Vegas in 2004, where he flew helicopter tours over the Grand Canyon for several years. In 2006, he decided he would commute from White Bird to Galiano, La., flying crews to the oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. After six long years of commuting, he gave up the flying and came home. His life was filled with community activities, time with friends and family, and, of course, hunting season at the cabin.

William Wesley Wisenor was, is and always will be an amazing man to all who knew him. He had an extraordinary zest for life, he didn’t let hard times get in the way. He moved through obstacles that posed a problem, leaving them in his tracks. He placed positive thoughts before him and left the negative behind; they didn’t belong in his future.

Bill had so many experiences throughout his life and had a story for every occasion. His sense of humor would come roaring to the forefront as he told stories about the many facets of his life.

He was a joke teller; he remembered them all and told them to anyone who would listen. Some were shocking and others would bring down the house in an uproar of laughter. He had a way of making people smile with just a gesture or simple comment.

He genuinely loved so many people who passed through his life during his many careers, military, firefighter, EMT, helicopter pilot and last but not least, bar owner. With those career choices, you would have seen it all, heard it all or maybe even done it all. There was never a dull moment in his life. He kept trying to retire but the odds were against him. He would have found life very boring and that wouldn’t have sat well with his young-at-heart attitude.

Bill came full circle, starting out in White Bird with a few stops in between, Grangeville, Vietnam, Grangeville again, Spokane and back to White Bird to finish the circle with a full and meaningful life created within that circle.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Wesley and Mabel Wisenor; and his brothers, Clyde Wisenor and Roy Wisenor.

He is survived by his wife Millie; and his children, Tracie, Debbie, Amy and Brodie; his grandchildren, Christina, Mat, Gabe, Dan, Jake, Bryson, Kaitlyn and Jessica; his great-grandchildren, Olivia, Jamison, Aubreigh, Rhiley and Charlie; his beloved sisters-in-law, Alice Wisenor and Coleen Wisenor, and their families. He adored them all; they were a big part of his heart and soul. Each was important in their own way, never judged but encouraged, and proud to call them his own.

This has been a life well lived by a man who was loved by many. He will remain forever in our memories and our hearts as we try to move forward. William “Billy” Wisenor — not gone just taking the helicopter out for a test flight. See you on the tarmac, Billy.

A memorial service with military honors will be held Dec. 5 at the White Bird Veteran’s Park. Time is TBD. Arrangements are under the direction of the Blackmer Funeral Home of Grangeville. Send condolences to the family to blackmerfuneralhome.com.