Doolittle, Francis Wm. (Bill) – of Venice, FL, formerly of Kalamazoo, MI, passed away April 10, 2014 in Grand Blanc, MI at age 90.
Born in Mansfield, OH, he married his high school sweetheart, Lenore. His love of football began as an All State QB in H.S. and later at The Ohio State University. Joining the Marine Corps during WWII he earned the Bronze Star. Bill taught and coached football in high school and college levels including, Brown University, Owosso, MI, Flint Central, Mansfield, OH, USMA at West Point and finally Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI where the 1966 team won the MAC championship. He retired from Western as the Director of Mike Gary Athletic Fund. Bill was inducted in to the WMU Hall of Fame, Greater Flint Hall of Fame and the Mansfield High School Hall of Fame. He had a positive rapport with players, staff, friends and family who were all important to him. His smile, bow tie, cowboy hat, American Flag and friendly spirit were his trademarks.
Bill was preceded in death by his wife, Lenore; son, Stephen. He is survived by his daughter, Karen (Bill) Sams of Davison, MI; daughter-in-law, Ilene (Tom) Tomson of Sparta, MI; grandchildren, Michael (Rachel) Sams of Auburn Hills, MI, Kimberly (Joe) Gerstenschlager of Colorado Springs, CO, Kensey (Matt) May of Rockford, MI, Tomi Tomson of Sparta, MI; great-grandchildren, Brayley May and Landon Sams.
A Celebration of Life Memorial will be held in Kalamazoo, MI on Sunday, June 22, 2014 from 12-3 PM at the WMU Seelye Center at the east end of Waldo Stadium on Stadium Drive. Contributions may be made to the WMU Mike Gary Athletic Fund in honor of Coach Doolittle.