Cover photo for William "Bill" Sorensen's Obituary
William "Bill" Sorensen Profile Photo

William "Bill" Sorensen

June 13, 1940 — January 4, 2023


William "Bill" Sorensen

William Hugh Sorensen, 82, of Kalamazoo, Michigan passed away peacefully in his home on January 4, 2023. He is survived by his loving wife of 35 years, Sharon Stickney Sorensen; daughters Jennifer (Dave) Barry and Katrina (David) Steele; grandchildren Gabriella and Kyle (Lauren) Barry and Brenna, Lydia, and Elyse Steele; great-granddaughters Malaya and Nyla Barry; and other cherished extended family.

He was predeceased by his loving mother Margaret Marshall Sorensen; beloved sisters Mary Anne Balmer and Janet Hinterman; and father Hugh Sorensen.

Bill was born June 13, 1940 to Hugh and Margaret Sorensen in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Growing up in small town Chelsea, Michigan in the 40’s and 50’s filled him with unforgettable experiences. His grandparents lived nearby and he recalled memories of spending Saturday afternoons in their home listening to classical music. He played the coronet in his high school marching band and was quite the self-proclaimed delinquent during his teenage years, undoubtedly the reason his mother sent him to spend summers on a Montana ranch. After graduating high school in 1958 he went on to attend his class reunions for more than 50 years; always delighted to catch up with old classmates.

In 1967, Bill graduated from Ferris State College and moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan where he and his late, former wife, Ann Browder, raised their two daughters. As a young man, Bill was a self taught wood worker and model train builder. His passion for long distance biking and running sparked him to compete in a biathlon in which he jokingly bragged that he came in 2nd place (out of 2 in his age category). He treasured time spent with his daughter cheering on the WMU volleyball team and family vacations to Glen Lake.

In 1988, Bill married the love of his life, Sharon Stickney. Together they built a life focused around church, family, and friends. Bill was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Kalamazoo where he volunteered and worshiped throughout his life. He cherished his church family and was an ardent supporter of racial, gender, and LGBTQ+ equality. After retirement, he spent many summer hours volunteering at Hope Garden growing produce to donate to Loaves & Fishes and volunteering at Gilmore Car Museum. Both brought him great purpose and joy for many years.

Through his soft, gentle nature ‘Gramps’ lovingly built a unique and special bond with each of his grandchildren, unceasingly supporting and championing them everyday of their lives. It was not uncommon to see tears of joy and gratitude streaming down his cheeks. Bill lived his life graciously bestowing love, encouragement, and tenderness to those he cared about. He will be remembered for his fierce love of family and church, his sense of humor, his tender heart, and his open mind. The family would like to thank the many people from Centrica Care (formerly Hospice Care of Southwest MI) who provided such compassionate care during his final weeks.

Memorial Service will be held Saturday, April 22, 2023 at 1:00pm in Kalamazoo’s First Presbyterian Church, 321 W. South Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49007. Interment will be in the church Columbarium. Contributions may be sent in Bill’s memory to First Presbyterian Church, Kalamazoo for the Hope Garden.

While visiting Bill’s webpage at please sign the guestbook and/or sharing a memory with the family. The family is being assisted by Avink, McCowen & Secord Funeral Home; 5975 Lovers Lane in Portage 269 344-5600.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William "Bill" Sorensen, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, April 22, 2023

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

First Presbyterian Church

321 W South St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

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