William Joseph Spraggins

William Joseph Spraggins


William “Bill” Joseph Spraggins, 88, of Kirksville, Missouri, formerly of the Martinstown community, passed away Saturday (October 20, 2012) at the Lenoir Retirement Home in Columbia, Missouri.

Born December 23, 1923 in Malvern, Arkansas, Bill was the son of William Joseph and Julia Mae (Behrens) Spraggins.

Bill is survived by his wife, Kathryn of sixty-six years; two daughters and a son-in-law, Carol Ertel of Kirksville, MO and Martha and Greg Unruh of Woodland Park, CO; four grandchildren, Ginger Ertel of Greentop, MO, Billie Snyder and husband Cooper of Columbia, MO, Joseph Chase Unruh and wife, Hailey of Colorado Springs, CO and Morgan Elmore and husband, Drew of Columbia, MO; two twin great-grandchildren, Joseph McCuskey Snyder and Grace June Snyder, as well as a number of nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; one son, William Joseph “Billy” Spraggins; two sisters and four brothers.

Bill grew up in Malvern, Arkansas, the youngest of seven children. His father died with he was an infant and even though he had no father he grew to become a great father and grandfather.

He started working at age twelve picking cotton on his grandfather’s farm. His many jobs as a teenager included delivering ice by wagon, cooking at a local café and caring for his invalid mother.

Bill was a proud veteran. He joined the Merchant Marines in 1944 and was sent overseas on several missions. After his service in the Merchant Marines, he joined the Army in 1945. He was a member of the Kirksville V.F.W. Post #2508. Bill was honored to attend one of the Freedom Flights to Washington D.C. last year.

He met Kathryn Fowler in 1944 at a USO dance on Catalina Island, California while he was in cook and bakers school. They continued their courtship dancing to the big bands of the times such as the Jimmy Dorsey Band and Glen Miller Band. On December 11, 1945 they were married in Little Rock, Arkansas. After their ceremony Kathryn went back to Unionville and continued working in her beauty shop. Bill went back to the Army. After his honorable discharge from service he and Kathryn moved to Bethany, Missouri, where he owned several grocery stores. He was very active in the Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis I.O.O. F. Lodge and other civic organizations.

In 1955, Bill and Kathryn moved to a farm near Martinstown, Missouri. He was active in many volunteer activities and served on various boards including the Putnam County Hospital Board and Martinstown School Board.

Bill enjoyed traveling and he and Kathryn visited all the western states in their R.V. They drove to Alaska twice and also spent a month in Mexico, RVing. He loved to fish and hunt and while in Alaska in 2005, Bill caught a 110 lb. Halibut. Later in life Bill became a security guard at Treasure Lake RV Resort in Branson and worked there into his 70’s. He and Kathryn continued to travel, making their annual trip to south Texas up until last winter. Bill suffered a major heart attack in March and had been in declining health since then.

His sense of humor was well known and he always had a story or joke to share. Bill was a true gentleman with a kind, generous heart and was a role model to his family and friends. He was deeply loved and will be missed.

Public visitation will be held Thursday (October 25, 2012) with family receiving friends from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the chapel of Travis-Noe Funeral Home in Kirksville.

Funeral services will be held 1:00 p.m. Friday (October 26, 2012) at Travis-Noe Funeral Home in Kirksville, with Pastor Roger Bushnell presiding. Interment with military honors will follow the service at Pleasant Home Cemetery west of Worthington, Missouri.

Pallbearers will be Glen Spraggins, Chase Unruh, Bob Roemer, Drew Elmore, Cooper Snyder and Paul Kimmel.

Expressions of sympathy in memory of William Spraggins may be made to V.F.W. Post 2508 of Kirksville. Memorials may be left at or mailed to Travis-Noe Funeral Home, P.O. Box 306, Kirksville, MO 63501.

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