William Joseph Vaudrin, 76, of Crookston, MN, passed away Friday morning, May 12, 2023, in RiverView Health, Crookston, after battling health issues for some time. He had become a resident of Benedictine Living Community Crookston on March 14th after living in Oak Court for many years.
Bill, as he was affectionately known throughout his life, was born on November 25, 1946, at Red Lake Falls, MN, the son of Donald and Marlys (Mercil) Vaudrin. He was baptized in the Catholic faith and as a young boy moved with his parents and sister, Sylvia, to Crookston. Bill attended Cathedral High School where he played football as a lineman for the Blue Wave and was nicknamed “Chopper” by his teammates. From these years a lifelong bond was formed with Coach Bill Sullivan, a man he greatly admired and respected. Bill graduated with the Class of 1965 and then attended UM Duluth, UM Crookston, and UND at different times. He enlisted in the US Navy on August 28, 1968 and spent most of his 6-year tour proudly serving as an ordinance mechanic aboard the USS America. This was during the Vietnam War and the America spent quite a bit of time in that theater of operations. For his service to his country, Bill was awarded the National Defense Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. Following his honorable discharge on August 3, 1974, he returned to Crookston. While caring for his mother he was also employed for several years at American Crystal Sugar during fall harvest campaigns, and later at Crookston Welding. He also worked a few winters with the Crookston Park Board taking care of the warming house for the skating rink in Central Park
Bill was a sports fan throughout his life. Whether it was following the local high school teams or the professionals, he loved keeping up with how they were doing. Bill enjoyed going for daily walks around downtown Crookston and stopping at Olson’s Barber Shop, Widman’s, and other places of business to talk sports and rehash games played the night before. He was truly ‘The Sports Guy’.
Bill was a devoted member of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and a Fourth Degree Knight with The Knights of Columbus, Council 1216. He was also a longtime member of American Legion Post #20 and VFW Post #1902. He loved his family very much and especially missed his mother after her passing in 2005.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Donald and Marlys Vaudrin; sister, Sylvia Lunos; uncle and aunt, R. Bray and Willa Mae Mercil; and his beloved cousin and second-cousin, Mary Mercil Tiedeman, and her daughter, Kari Tiedeman Demarais. He is survived by his brother-in-law, Rod Lunos of Bedford, TX; nephews and niece: Bryan, Michael, and Jennifer; his cousin-in-law, Gordy Tiedeman of Walker, MN; cousins: Cathy Miller of Devil’s Lake, ND, Steve Mercil of Pepin, WI, Michael (Ann Hamilton) Mercil of Columbus, OH, Richard (Rosa Panzarella) Mercil of Grand Forks, ND, and Emily Mercil and Maggie Mercil, both of Minneapolis; together with all their families; and his many friends. Blessed be the memory of William Joseph Vaudrin.
The Mass of Christian Burial honoring Bill Vaudrin will be held at 2:00 p.m, Friday, May 26, 2023, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Crookston, MN, with Fr. Pat Sullivan, presiding. Visitation with the family will be for one hour prior to the service. The Mass will be live streamed by logging on to www.crookstoncathedral.com and clicking on the prompt to view. The service may also be viewed by clicking on the prompt below. The Knights of Columbus, Council 1216, will lead a Rosary in the Cathedral at 12:30 p.m. Inurnment will take place in Calvary Cemetery, Crookston, with Military Honors provided by the US Navy Funeral Honors Team from Minneapolis, and the Crookston Veterans Council. Messages of condolence to Bill’s family may be made on his obituary page at www.stenshoelhouske.com.
Friday, May 26, 2023
Starts at 2:00pm (Central time)
Memorial Mass of Christian Burial Friday, May 26, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. Visitation with family 1-2:00 p.m. Graveside service to follow at Calvary Cemetery with Military Honors by US Navy and Crookston Veterans Council