Cover photo for William Lewis Switzer's Obituary
William Lewis Switzer Profile Photo
1935 William 2023

William Lewis Switzer

November 10, 1935 — December 26, 2023

Cooper Township

William Lewis Switzer
November 10, 1935 - December 26, 2023

William Lewis Switzer, beloved husband, father, and respected teacher, passed away peacefully on December 26, 2023, at his home in Plainwell, MI. Born on November 10, 1935, in Cedar Springs, MI. He was the youngest of five children born to Sherman and DeLove Switzer. He lived a life full of love, dedication, and a genuine passion for education.

William, known to his loved ones as Bill, will forever be remembered for his compassionate and unwavering devotion to his family, friends, and students. With his warm smile and gentle demeanor, Bill touched the lives of countless individuals throughout his career as a high school teacher.

Bill's education journey began in a one room schoolhouse.  He would walk about a half mile each day.  He loved to tell the story of walking by prisoners of war on his way to school. They would toss apples to him from the orchard where they were working. In high school, Bill was active in Future Farmers of America, he played football, sang in the choir and was a class officer. Bill graduated from Rockford High School in the class of 1954.  He went on to attend Grand Rapids junior college and then Western Michigan University where he earned a BA in 1960 and his MA in 1963. He held degrees in English. After earning his master’s degree, he dedicated over four decades to shaping the minds of young learners, instilling in them a love for knowledge and a thirst for growth. His students often referred to him as their favorite mentor, praising his patience, understanding, and ability to ignite a love for learning within them.

In addition to his remarkable teaching career, Bill proudly served his country. Enlisting in the Army on August 17, 1954. Bill was sent to Fort Devens where he learned Morse Code.  He also spent 14 months in Alaska’s Wildwood Station. Bill displayed courage and commitment, leaving a lasting impact on all who had the privilege of serving alongside him.

Preceding Bill in death are his parents, his sisters: Yvonne Alles (and her husband Ray and daughter Judy), Gerry Parmalee and Freda Switzer; his brother Donald; in-laws Arthur and Lorena Coveyou as well as his sister in-law Sally Watson and beloved brother in-law Alfred Watson and their two children Tom Watson and John Watson; his nieces and nephews and many dear friends.

Outside of work and his military duties, Bill cherished his time spent with his loving family. He is survived by his devoted wife of many years, Patsy Coveyou, who stood by his side through thick and thin. His children, Kurt Switzer (Chiara) and Ellen Glueck (Charles), were the pride and joy of his life. Bill's loving grandsons, Christopher, Aaron and Daniel, also survive him, and cherish the precious memories they shared together. He loved being outdoors and working on his land and in his garden. He was involved with the MEA as well as Bowbenders and the Thornapple Dulcimer Club.

Bill retired in 1994 and enjoyed his retirement years, hunting, gardening, camping and learning to play the hammered dulcimer. His favorite saying was “if you’re early, you are on time. If you are on time, you’re late. “

Remembered fondly as a man of compassion, optimism, and kindness, Bill Switzer will forever hold a special place in the hearts of those who knew him. He will be remembered for his infectious laughter, his love for storytelling, and his genuine interest in the well-being of others.

Friends and family are invited to join together to celebrate the remarkable life of William Lewis Switzer at his memorial visitation on Thursday, December 28th from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Avink, McCowen & Secord Funeral Home; 120 S. Woodhams St. in Plainwell. A memorial service will be held at the Plainwell First Presbyterian Church on Friday, December 29, starting at 11:00 a.m. A reception will follow, providing an opportunity for all those gathered to share their cherished memories of Bill.

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made to Centrica Care Navigators or the First Presbyterian Church of Plainwell.

Although our hearts ache with the loss of our dear Bill, let us find solace in the knowledge that he will forever remain in our fondest memories and his legacy will forever be etched in our hearts.  As we remember his laughter, kindness, and unwavering love, may we continue to be inspired by his example and strive to make the world a better place, just as he did.

While visiting Bill’s webpage at please sign the guestbook and/or share a memory with the family.


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Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, December 28, 2023

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Avink, McCowen & Secord Funeral Home and Cremation Society, Plainwell

120 South Woodhams Street, Plainwell, MI 49080

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Memorial Service

Friday, December 29, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

First Presbyterian Church

303 E Bridge St, Plainwell, MI 49080

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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