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1932 William "Bill" 2023

William "Bill" Messenger

January 2, 1932 — October 15, 2023

William (just call me Bill) Edgar Messenger, was born in Birmingham, England on January 2. 1932 to Percy and Christine Messenger. He would enter this world with a purpose, meant to defy the odds and live a life most extraordinary. As brother to his four siblings now passed - Ron Messenger, Joan Jarvis, Maureen Painting and Michael Messenger - he grew up during World War II, experiencing the hardships of war as a youngster in a way that would shape his life for decades to come. Until the 1960s, while working as a manufacturing engineering apprentice, he was able to seize opportunity and emigrate to the United States to begin a whole new chapter.

After meeting and marrying a lovely young woman named Geraldine Loretta Merriman in 1967, and adding two children to the mix - David Messenger and Erika (Messenger) Bantz - the Messengers moved to New Hampshire where Bill worked for Scovill Manufacturing Company. While there, Bill invented, and eventually patented, a design for a childproof aerosol actuator in 1974.

Bill’s engineering skills brought the family to Denver Colorado in the 1970’s working for Sundstrand Corporation, and it was there that Bill and Geri fell in love with the mountains and beauty of the West. Together they would embrace living in a most beautiful state, taking up sailing, skiing, hiking and countless other mountain-related pursuits. While there, Bill would earn his BS and MBA degrees from Regis University – all while working full time and raising two young children. They enjoyed raising David and Erika there for more than 12 years, when Bill moved the family one last time, still with Sundstrand, to Rockford, Illinois. It is there that Bill and Geri would remain, while David and Erika, now grown, set out to create their own lives.

David, with his daughter Cassandra, would move to Arizona and embrace Native American spirituality while working as a machinist and talented tattoo artist. Erika would move to Ohio and then Wisconsin, marrying Alexander Bantz along the way, and settling into life with her husband, two dogs, and a career in healthcare and consulting.

With Geri’s Parkinson’s diagnosis in 1999, Bill began what would become his life’s work – creating a safe and stable environment for Geri while the ravages of the disease took hold. During the last decade of their lives, both Bill and Geri made Wesley Willows their home, and their neighbors became dear friends and extended family. After Geri’s passing in April 2020 at the start of the COVID pandemic, that dear and treasured extended family sustained Bill during some of the loneliest and saddest times of his life. He loved getting news from his family in the UK, and became proficient in email, digital photography and texting - with emojis even! 😊 He also embraced Wordle, and would have running daily competition with Erika.

To his friends and family in the United States as well as in the United Kingdom, Bill would not want anyone to be sad about his passing, rather he would want joy from the fond memories of fun had during days gone by, and a kind thought every once in a while. He had lived an amazing life, and he was ready to be with Geri once more. Not one to fuss or crave attention, his service will be a private and modest affair, on November 11, 2023, with his and Geri’s ashes scattered in the mountains of Colorado – a place they both loved so dearly, and never quite made their way back.

In the end they will be together, settling amongst the pine and aspen trees, looking down from above with love and affection for a life well lived.


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