Obituary: William Courtland, 99, Scottville. 

September 17, 2018

William Courtland

Obituary: William Courtland, 99, Scottville. 

William Ernest Courtland, 99 years 11 ½ months, of Scottville, went to join his beloved Betty on Sunday, September 16, 2018. He passed away at Oakview Medical Care Facility, which was his home and extended family for the past 4 ¾ years.  

Bill will be serenading Betty again, with one of their favorite songs, “You Are My Sunshine”.  Bill was born on October 1, 1918 in Grand Rapids, the oldest son of the late Ernest and Lettie (Gulembo) Courtland.  He moved north with his parents to Sherman Township and attended Elm Flats School and helped out on the family farm. Bill enjoyed music and attended many dances as a young man, although he never managed to get out on the dance floor.  At one of these events, a raven-haired beauty, Betty Riffle, caught his eye. Always one to keep his bases covered, when he went to pick Betty up for their first date, he had a back-up young lady (introduced as his sister) in the car, just in case Betty changed her mind about going out with him.  Betty didn’t learn until weeks later that there was no such sister. The two dated for the next five years, marrying on December 21, 1942 at the home of the The Rev. Stewart at Round Lake. Their honeymoon outing consisted of a movie at the theater in Scottville, with the tickets costing 25 cents each.  They enjoyed 71 years of marriage until Betty’s passing on September 12, 2014.

Bill was turned down for the war effort due to a heart murmur, so he worked in Muskegon at Continental Motors.  He also worked at Thompson Cabinet and drove a milk route for many years before he and Betty devoted their lives to full-time farming.  Their farming career spanned the gamut from dairy and pigs, to green beans and strawberries, then to wheat and corn. Even though Bill and Betty both had only eighth grade educations, they created a successful custom combining and grain drying business along with farming over 1,000 acres with their son Roger.  Bill sold the farm in 1972 and the two moved on to their retirement career of strawberries, raspberries, and vegetables sold from their home.

Bill enjoyed fishing and hunting but was always happiest to be outside with a hoe in his hand or side-by-side with Betty, harvesting the bounty of their fields.  Bill always maintained his love of music and his love of Betty. He entertained her for hours on the concertina, accordion, and even musical saw, all of which he played by ear.  They enjoyed many trips throughout the years to the Dulcimer Festival in Evart and Farm Days in southern Michigan making many friends along the way.

Bill enjoyed meeting new people and was often found out in the front yard or driveway, talking to someone that had been out for a drive; giving them seeds, plants or simply garden advice.  These chats were sometimes met with a disapproving word from Betty if they came as a result of Bill neglecting his share of the work, but all in all, theirs was a partnership blessed by Heaven.

Bill’s love extended well beyond Betty, to the rest of his family, including his children and grandchildren.  He and Betty both cherished the time spent with the “kids”. They were always there to lend a listening ear or a bit of advice, and were known and admired by many.  

Bill will be dearly missed by his two children, Roger Courtland of Ludington and Kristie (Kevin) Willick of Scottville; grandchildren, Jay, Kellie, and Todd (Jennifer) Courtland and Mackenzie and Connor Willick; nine great-grandchildren; two great-great grandchildren; loving caregiver, Julie Brandis; his wonderful roommate at Oakview, Bob Soneral and surviving siblings, Phyllis (Paul) Ruzgis, Jack Courtland, Joann (Robert) Borden; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Bill was preceded in death by his wife, Betty Courtland; siblings, Helen Shedina, Elmer Courtland, Fred Courtland, Florence Terryn, and Eleanor Wagner; and daughter-in-law, Diane Courtland.

Bill’s children, Roger and Kristie, acknowledge that they have been truly blessed with such wonderful parents, Bill and Betty, for many-many years, and invite family and friends to join them for a time of remembrance and a meal on Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 11 a.m. at Oak Grove Funeral Home of Ludington.  Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Please share your fond memories photos of Bill and Betty at

Arrangements were entrusted to Oak Grove Funeral Home of Ludington.

Area Churches

Eats & Drinks

Eats & Drinks