William Arnold Sheets, 87, of Onalaska, Wisc., passed away Saturday, February 18, 2017, at Eagle Crest North. He was born in Portland, Ore., on September 25, 1929, to John and Wilma (Ruping) Sheets. Bill joined the Navy when he was “17 years and 6 days old.” While he was an Assistant Weapons Officer in Charleston, S.C., he met and fell in love with a young Navy WAVE, June Marsh. They married Aug. 23, 1952, in Charleston, S.C.
His veteran service spanned the periods of WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Cuban Crisis, as well as the Cold War. He served 18 years with the U.S. Submarine Fleet stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He was instrumental in engineering the fourth nuclear powered submarine into commission. He actively participated in the silent service with special clearance operations and was responsible for establishing radio communications under the polar ice cap while stationed at Point Barrow, Alaska. For this service, he received a United State Naval commendation.
During the Vietnam War, he assumed the role of Commanding Officer at the Navy and Marine Corps Training Center in La Crosse, Wisc. He retired as Lieutenant Commander in La Crosse after 23 years of service. In his retirement, he was a founding member of the SubVets Base in Great Falls, Mont., and became its first serving commander.
Throughout his Naval career, Bill pursued his avid love of aviation and obtained multiple flight ratings. Upon retirement from the Navy, he started his corporate aviation career in La Crosse and culminated his aviation career as an aerial applicator after having started a successful aerial application business in Big Sandy, Mont. Bill was on the Montana State Aeronautics Board and was a founding member and the first president of the Association of Montana Arial Applicators.
He is survived by his wife, June; daughters, Debra (Mike) Kabat; Terry Sheets; Kim (Ralph) Clark; and Kathy Sheets; grandchildren, Allison (Jeremy) Miller; Michael (Katie Jo) Kabat; Holland Kabat; Liberty (Andrus) Wollerman; Loren Wollerman; Lacey (Joe) Crane; Emily (Jonathan) Clark; and Brittney, Chloe, Matison and Dylan Jakscht. He is also survived by nine great-grandchildren and a niece and a nephew.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his older sister, Beryl Belknap.
Memorial services were held on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, at noon at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 1201 Main Street, Onalaska. The Reverend William Bader officiated and inurnment was in the Oak Grove Mausoleum with military honors. Friends visited with the family on Wednesday at the church from 10:30 a.m. until time of service. The Dickinson Family Funeral Home and Crematory assisted the family with arrangements.
The family would like to thank Gundersen Health System with special thanks to dad's cardiologist, Dr. Raju Ailiani and the entire cardiology team, Lois Tucker RN, and Tammy RN at Eagle Crest North for their expert, thoughtful, and attentive care.
Our husband and father was a cowboy at heart with a great devotion to God, family, and this great nation he served. We will miss you dad and will rejoice when we meet with you again at the end of the trail.
Information and online condolences may be given to the family at www.dickinsonfuneralhomes.com.
Information from The Chronicle and our advertisers (Want to add your business to this to this feed?)