William Michael Rich was born Jan. 16, 1954, in Great Lakes, Ill. Bill was very tiny; he and his twin brother, Rick, were three months early. Bill was a happy child who radiated his love and good humor to all. Because his dad, Fred, was in the Navy, he lived in Hawaii; Kodiak, Alaska; and New Orleans, La.; later moving to Durango with his mother, Paula, after his father passed away.
Bill loved to express himself creatively through music and art. He would sit at the piano and dramatically play whatever came to him. He proudly played in the school band. He studied the bass violin and had a beautiful tenor voice. He and his brother and sister had a folk group in New Orleans and sang at church events and coffee houses there during high school. Even in later life, as his memory faded, Bill would still remember the words and melodies of his favorite hymns and Christmas carols. Whenever Kathy would visit him at Pine Ridge Nursing Home, in Pagosa Springs, they would sing. Once, when they were singing Christmas carols, all the people in the nursing home wheeled over to listen and request songs.
Bill loved being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and was anxious to share his testimony. He served a mission in Colombia, South America.
After high school, Bill went to Delgado Art School to continue pursuing his great love of art. He won several awards and painted every day of this life until he lost his eyesight. Bill loved his family, especially his nephews and nieces that were part of his life. Each has special memories of Uncle Bill.
As he persevered with his increasing medical issues, Bill always loved serving the people around him.
Bill’s life was a great example of service to others. He served through his jokes, his painting, his songs and being himself. As the years progressed, he also allowed us the opportunity to serve him, which is the greatest of all opportunities in this mortal life.
Bill will be missed by all his family and friends until we are reunited again after this life.
He is survived by his sister, Kathy Callister, of Durango, and his brother, Rick Rich, of New Orleans, and many nieces and nephews.