William "Bill" Gress, 64, Mandan, passed away peacefully Sept. 10, 2018, at his home with his daughter, Tiffany, at his side. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Sept. 17, at Weigel Funeral Home, Mandan, with the Rev. Rick Loewen officiating.
Bill was born on Sept. 5, 1954, to George and Mary (Schaner) Gress. He was raised and educated in New Salem, and graduated from New Salem High in 1972. He continued on to Bismarck Junior College, where he received his Electrical Lineman certificate in May 1975.
Bill worked as a lineman out-of-state for a couple of years. Then, in 1977, he started full-time employment with Oliver-Mercer Rural Electric Cooperative in Hazen. He worked his way up to a lead lineman and line superintendent. In 2005, he graduated from Robert I. Kabat Management Internship Program. Shortly after, he was promoted to an operations manager for Roughrider Electric Cooperative (formerly Oliver Mercer REC). Bill held the position until his retirement in 2011. He had many stories and cherished his time with the co-op where they were more than co-workers, they were a family.
Bill married Barb (Huncovsky) Gress on June 1, 1975, and remained married until 1998. They had two children, Tanner and Tiffany, and five grandchildren, Cody, Colton, Kaden, Edrick, and Mia. Bill cherished being a father and grandpa, oftentimes you would hear him talking fondly of his grandchildren. He loved his large family of siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins. The best memories were the times they were gathered together. He had such a giving, loving soul and would do anything for his family.
Billy was an amazing self-taught musician with a great passion for music. He enjoyed playing music along with his brother, Wayne, and father, George, at many family get-togethers. Bill could play numerous instruments but was a master with his guitars of which he had a huge collection. “Blondie,” his Blonde Gibson, was his pride and joy. He played lead guitar with the Missouri Valley band traveling across the state of North Dakota. Bill filled in with many bands and was known to appear at local jam sessions regularly, on occasion playing in church, and bringing his guitar almost everywhere so he was ready to sing and play at a moment’s notice. Give him a few minutes with a song, and he could play it.
William was a fun-loving man of many interests, talents, and abilities. He loved fishing, hunting, traveling, motorcycles, woodworking, playing guitar, his pets, family, and friends. He could do almost anything he set his mind to.
He is survived by his son, Tanner (Andrea) Gress, Ft. Meyers, Fla.; one daughter, Tiffany (Adrian) Austin, Mandan; five grandchildren, Cody Laws, Temple, Texas, Colton Laws, Rolla, Mo., Kaden Smith, Edrick Austin, and Mia Austin, all of Mandan; three sisters, Eleanore (Roger) Gappert, Rita (Lee) Reynolds, and Helen (Norman) Schafer; and one brother, Eugene (Sandy) Gress.
Bill is preceded in death by his parents, George and Mary Gress; his sisters, Tillie (John) Tibke, Janette (Roger) Nagel, Linda (Red) Tibke, Donna Hagel, and Vicky (Conrad) Pfleger; and one brother, Wayne Gress.
Bill's family wants to thank Dakota Home Care and CHI St. Alexius Hospice Care for their dedicated care that allowed Bill to stay comfortable in his home. We would also like to thank Ocean’s Paradise for bringing the ocean into his home so he could retire by the water and “fish” every day.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bill’s honor to Bismarck-Mandan Musicians Association, PO Box 88, Mandan, 58554.
Go to www.weigelfuneral.com to sign the online guest book and view tribute photos and videos.