Life Story Funeral Homes®
The exclusive providers of the Life Story Experience


Life Story Funeral Homes®
The exclusive providers of the Life Story Experience

William Jay Klerk, Jr.

March 6, 2024
Kalamazoo, MI




William Jay Klerk, Jr., age 78 of Kalamazoo, passed away unexpectedly at his son's home on March 6, 2024. Bill was born in Kalamazoo on July 19, 1945, the first of four sons born to Dr. William J. and E. Anne (Althaus) Klerk Sr.

Growing up on Waite Avenue, Bill attended Hillcrest Elementary and South Junior High Schools. He graduated from University High School in 1963. He did his undergraduate work at Hope College, and continued with his graduate work at Western Michigan University to pursue being a physician's assistant.

As professional licensing was becoming important in the medical field, Bill was selected to sit on the committee that developed the rules and credential requirements to license Physician's Assistants. His hard work led to his one claim to fame. Bill was the first licensed Physician's Assistant in the state of Michigan. He held license #1 until his retirement in 2016. He spent his career working primarily for Dr. Jack Hunt at Gull Road Medical Practice and later Dr. Don Doyle at Down East Medical Center.

During the summer months, Bill was typically found on Gull Lake racing his International 210, the same boat he learned to race on with his dad. He spent many years assisting the GLYC on the race committee and serving as Commodore.

Born an old soul, Bill was drawn to antiques. His passion was classic cars of the 1950s and 60s, and the Lincoln Continental was his favorite. He was given his first Lincoln for his 21st birthday, and he still has that '58. He was known around town by his red '62 Continental convertible, his daily driver when he was sure there was no more salt on the roads.

His list of hobbies was long and eclectic including tinkering on cars, following weather patterns, name dropping obscure people's names, traveling to the white sands of Naples, Florida, enjoying a well poured gin & tonic and storytelling (our polite way of saying he talked constantly).

Bill is survived by his children: Christine (Scott) Broberg, Tommy (Kelly) Klerk and Jonathan Klerk; his grandchildren: Kelly (Jon) Van Winkle, Allison Broberg, Andrew & Oliver Klerk, Saylar, Eleanor & Evelyn Klerk and their brother Dawson Pettigrew; his great-granddaughters: Natalie & Parker Lehrer, and his brother Larry (Sue) Klerk as well as several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his brothers, Jim & Jack Klerk.

A Memorial Gathering will be held on Saturday April 13, 2024 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Gilmore Car Museum. A time of story sharing will start at 4:00 p.m.