William Charles Smith, of Saline, Mich.: "Willy" as a child, "Bill" to friends in high school, college and in work, and "Trout" to family and many friends.
He was born on Dec. 1, 1965, in Flint, Mich. He attended Flint public schools, and graduated from Flint Central High School in 1984, where he was in the Magnet program, Model UN and National Honor Society. He attended Kalamazoo College, which included study abroad at Oxford University, graduating in 1989.
His career in the automotive industry spanned almost 20 years, almost entirely at Burke E. Porter Machinery Company in Grand Rapids. His positions as sales engineer and sales manager took him across the country and around the world.
While at K College, he met Kathy Reus, and they were married June 22, 1992, at Sapphire Point, overlooking Lake Dillon near Keystone, Colo. They began their lives together in Kalamazoo, then moved to Grand Rapids, and then to the Ann Arbor area, where they've lived for many years.
He was passionate about cooking, taking great joy and pride in the feasts he prepared for family and friends ¿-- particularly ribs. He was an avid reader and news junkie. He loved spending time at his in-laws' cottage on Walloon Lake -- long float-boat rides, grilling at 10 p.m. at summer dusk. He enjoyed traveling with Kathy -- they visited family and friends across the United States, and had the gift of traveling together to Europe.
He prided himself in a "job well done," whether it was working at his family's lumber yard in Flint, the months of negotiations to close a deal, or cutting down trees at Walloon Lake. More than anything, he loved just hanging out, talking, swapping stories, sharing jokes and laughing. Nothing in life was better than just hanging out with Trout.
On March 18, 2010, he suffered a significant brain injury as a result of a fall and cardiac event. This began the incredible journey that ended entirely too soon on July 23, 2011. He was in hospitals and skilled nursing rehabilitation for 14 months, residing in an adult foster care home after. Since May 2010, his most important job of his life has been therapy, and he gave it his all, learning to walk, read and think again. He never gave up, and was making progress to the end. He and Kathy were on the road to building this new life, playing the cards they were dealt together with love -- steady on.
He is survived by his wife, Kathy Reus, of Saline; his sister, Leslie Smith, of South Glastonbury, Conn.; in-laws, Eileen and Paul VanPernis of Ashland, Wis., Susan and Ben Wirt of Birmingham, Ala., Jim and Diane Reus of Olympia, Wash., Janet Reus and Tim Swanson of Carmel, Ind., and Mary and Bob Munn of Eldorado Hills, Calif.; eight nieces and nephews, extended family, and many friends.
He is preceded in death by his mother, Betty Aton Smith; his father, John Smith; and his brother, Howard Smith. He loved animals -- especially his dogs, Scout and Lola.
In lieu of flowers, send donations in William Smith's honor to the Humane Society of Huron Valley or to the family for a memorial scholarship to be established. The family will receive friends from 11 a.m. until the time of the memorial service at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, at the Nie Family Funeral Home, Liberty Road Chapel, 3767 W. Liberty Road, Ann Arbor.
Visit Bill's personal page at www.caringbridge.com/visit/trout and www.niefuneralhomes.com.