William (Bill) Leonard Trees went home to be with his Lord and Savior on December 2nd, 2017, when he passed from this earth suddenly from cardiac arrest. Bill was born September 19, 1946 in Worthington, MN, the oldest of three children (sister, Dee and brother, Bruce) to Don and Verna (Tryon) Trees. He spent his primary school years in Armstrong, IA, then attended high school in Spirit Lake, IA. His family was talented in music and loved to sing, inspiring Bill to use his gift of voice throughout his life.
In college, Bill was voted “Big Man on Campus” while he was lead vocal for “The Kings.” It was during this time he met his wife, Sue, and they married in 1971, and welcomed son, Darin in 1971, and daughter, Brandi in 1975. Bill proudly served in the U.S. Army as a military police officer in Vietnam in 1969-70. He later served as a police officer Sargent and Captain for the Estherville, IA, police department.
Bill’s love of music brought so much joy to him and his audiences. He sang for 25 years with “The Stateline Celebration” barbershop quartet. In 1989, the quartet achieved a long-sought goal of “Grand Champions” in the CSD Barbershop Competition. Bill later continued singing with A Capella, Texas in Austin. Bill was always ready and willing to serve. He took every chance to serve others. Some of those acts were: serving on the school board, volunteer for Head Start preschool, coach, VFW, Austin Disaster Relief Network, Lifeline Chaplaincy, school peer group mentor, “Friend Speak” (teaching English using the Bible), World Bible School and so many more. He received awards for “Volunteer of the Year” and then just recently, “Grandparent Volunteer of the Year” from Brentwood Christian School.
Shortly after the birth of his daughter, Bill began studying the Bible, found a passion for Christ and the center of his life changed forever. He was baptized into the Lord’s Church (Acts 2:38) and his deepest desire was to bring others to Christ. He taught Bible classes, VBS, Sunday School and correspondence classes for more than half of his years on Earth. He also served as pulpit minister at the Spencer, IA, and Sioux Falls, SD, Churches of Christ.
He taught and subsequently baptized many souls into Christ, brought strangers into his home, gave money, food or shelter to anyone who asked. His final act of service was being an organ donor of his bones, tissue and eyes.
Bill had numerous hobbies and friends to fill his life, but his number one priority was worshipping and serving with his brothers and sisters in Christ. His number two priority was his family. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Sue (Ricklefs), son, Darin (Michelle) Trees, daughter, Brandi (Brian) Gruis, very special grandtreasures: Andrew, Brooke, Sydney, Billy, Adrie and Evan, sister Dee (Littleton, CO), brother, Bruce (Marana, AZ) brothers-in-law, Tim (Jan) Ricklefs and Ben (Kathy) Ricklefs, and many wonderful nieces and nephews. And not to be excluded, his best “little buddy,” and canine friend, Luis Gruis (Austin, TX).
Bill’s other pastimes were many: hunting, boating, radio airplanes, running, motorcycling, poetry writing, acting, fishing and grandkid spoiling. But he made it clear that the legacy of his life he wanted most to leave was the hope of Heaven.
An excerpt from one of his recent poems summarizes his journey:
I’ve run the race, I’ve fought the fight; against sin I’ve endured
I find my strength and build my faith by knowing my God’s Word.
“We are more than conquerors,” the Word of God rings true!
I’ve chosen Christ; I’ll fight for Him, my friend, will you fight too?
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones.”