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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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William W. Fernstrum

Issue Date: March 3, 2021

William "Bill" Warren Fernstrum, 100, passed away Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021.

Born Oct. 12, 1920, along with his twin brother Benjamin, to Benjamin Albert and Mary Elizabeth (Niles) Fernstrum in Menominee, Mi., he graduated from Menominee High School in 1938 and participated on the MHS track team during 1937-38. He graduated from Michigan State with a BS degree in Horticulture in 1949 and also earned a Master's Degree from Northern Michigan in 1967. He worked at Menominee Paper Mill and Buick Motors in Flint, Mi., taught science at Menominee Middle School and supervised the Menominee Boys Cross Country team for four years.

He and his brother were the first twin Eagle Scouts for the U.P. He was scoutmaster at Roosevelt Grade School in Menominee and also at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Flint, Mi. He took a group of Boy Scouts to Bear Paw the first year it opened in 1946 and while there, he was initiated into the Order of the Arrow. He returned to Bear Paw with a group of scouts in 1948.

The brothers spent many times at their mother's hometown of Fergus Falls, Mn. and the ranch outside of Tappen, N.D., which began at one year of age and ended when the twins celebrated their 82nd birthday in Fergus Falls in 2002 with their good friends Warren and Lorna Johnson of Fergus Falls.

He attended the Citizens Military Training Camp at Fort Brady, Sault Sainte Marie in the summer of 1938. His first year at Michigan State College, he enrolled in the ROTC program and also was a member of the freshman track team in 1941-42. His college days were interrupted when he served 47 months during WWII, from August 1942 " July 1946, mostly in the North Atlantic Group of the Air Transport Command. He spent 14 months in Iceland and left the service as a First Lieutenant.

A life member of the VFW, he was a charter member of the Menominee Sea Scouts which started in winter of 1938-39, He was also a charter member of the Menominee County Historical Society serving as its first treasurer,

He enjoyed the outdoors, loved trees and said that trees never talked back. He was also interested in birds and insects, enjoyed being at camp, but was not interested in hunting, but shot his first buck during his 27th season at age 70.

He married Carol Jane Olsen on April 15, 1950 at Christ Evangelical Church in Menominee and they joined Vasa Order of America in 1964. She preceded him in death on April 16, 2011. The family enjoyed spending time at the Vasa cottage along the Menominee River. He gives all the credit to his wife for raising their 12 children.

He is survived by five daughters, Sheri (Roger) Zorn, Cindy (Bill) Frappier, Gail Schei, Julee (Oscar Burnett) Miller and Mary Kay (Paul) Boyce; six sons, Scot, Lary (Peggy), Lee (Giselle Grimm), Michael (Sarita Marie Brubeck), Marvin (Jennifer Hnilicka), and Mark (Nicole); 23 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; a sister-in-law, Lorraine Ranach; a brother-in law, Dale (Marilyn) Olsen; many nieces; nephews; friends and other relatives.

Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife; a son, Craig; a son-in-law, Chris Schei; his twin brother, Benjamin (Bernice) and three brothers-in-law, Ken (Theresa), Mike Ranach and Doug Olsen.

Visitation will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Menominee on Saturday, March 6, from 10 a.m. until time of the funeral service at noon with Rev. Ron Helgerson officiating. Military Rites will follow conducted by the Military 20 Year Club. Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery. Masks and social distancing will be required. Cadieu Funeral Home of Menominee is assisting the family with arrangements


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