William (Bill) Malstaff, 97, was born September 9, 1922 to Laura (Stickley) and Joseph Malstaff in Walkerton, Indiana and passed away on March 4, 2020 at Settlers Place in La Porte, Indiana. He was preceded in death by his mother, Laura and father, Joseph Malstaff; two brothers, Leonard Malstaff of Freeport, Illinois and Harry Malstaff of Walkerton, Indiana; and a grandson, Ryan Griffith of Houston, Texas.
Bill lived a vital 97 ½ years! He worked early during World War II at Allis Chalmers as a machinist in La Porte, Indiana, then joined the Navy where he served 16 months of active duty at Great Lakes, Indianapolis, and the Chicago Naval Station as 3rd Class Radio Man. He married Norma Jean Hewitt in 1942, who passed away in 1975, and was a loving mother of his sons. After coming home from the military, he farmed the homestead and worked at Studebaker Corp. crating pick-up trucks for about two years. Later he farmed during the day and worked at Cal-Dec Corp. making eating trays at night to provide for his family. He moved to his current homestead in 1949 which was his slice of heaven on earth. He loved nothing more than working the soil, adding acreage as opportunity allowed, and being surrounded by nature and peacefulness. At one time he also raised chickens. He began selling Pioneer Seed Corn in 1967 and continued to do so for local farmers, selling approximately 2000 bushels of seed per year. He retired from seed corn sales in 1985 and from farming in 1987. Having said that, it is doubtful he ever truly “retired” his love for farming. He was actively engaged in the daily decision making of his land and crops until his death. He was eternally grateful to Kenny and Josh Bolini who lovingly cared for his acreage the last 32 years and remained good friends.
On February 22, 1982 Bill married Norma Willadene (Davenport) who was a devoted, loving wife and survives today along with sons, Greg (Connie) Malstaff of Elgin, Texas and Chris (Nancy) Malstaff of Spring Branch, Texas; his sister, Kathy Granger of Walkerton, Indiana; three step-daughters, Judy (John) Feigal of Bullard, Texas, Julie (Keith) Rudolph of Mishawaka, Indiana, and Joyce (Lisa) Liggett of New Buffalo, Michigan; nine grandchildren, Adam Malstaff, Tiffany Ricker, Brandon Liggett, Brooke Whitaker, Adam Liggett, Nicole Mansfield, Natalie Devoe, Christopher and Brian Malstaff; and 11 great-grandchildren. He welcomed fun family visits and was happy to add a beautiful addition onto the farmhouse using barn siding from the barn he had recently replaced when his family grew.
Although farming was very time consuming, he enjoyed traveling to Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Michigan, Las Vegas, Texas, Florida and Arizona, when time allowed. He was a very gentle and generous man, allowing friends to hunt mushrooms, trap, and hunt deer on his property. He enjoyed fishing immensely, feeding the birds, growing roses, and owned only one new tractor and one new pick-up truck in his entire lifetime. He was a proud founding member of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Fish Lake, Indiana, and he helped build the current structure. He was a proud member if Knights of Columbus, La Porte Chapter.
The family would like to thank the medical community of La Porte and the caring staff at Settlers Place for the years of dedicated service which allowed us to enjoy him for such an extended time.
Per Bill’s request there will be no visitation. A private memorial service for family only will be held at a future date. Arrangements have been entrusted to Frank L. Keszei Funeral Home, Essling Chapel, 1117 Indiana Avenue, La Porte, Indiana 46350.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Wounded Warriors Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, Kansas 66675-8516.
Prayers, condolences, and memories and be shared with the family at Essling Funeral Home.com.
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