William R. Vanator

William “Bill” Robert Vanator, 85, longtime resident of Berne and Adams County, passed away on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne. He was born on May 22, 1932 in Kosciusko County to Charles and Mable (Lake) Vanator. He was married on January 3, 1958 to Sandra Lee Stevens. Although they had met many years earlier and knew each other for some time, it wasn’t until after his return from the Air Force that they began dating.

He attended Leesburg School where he graduated in 1950. As an Air Force steward, he served in Thule, Greenland and grew to love airplanes of all types. He also enjoyed reading about military history and loved model trains. His large HO gauge train set took up most of their home’s basement. The family often joked that it would soon require a tunnel to expand. He was a skilled marksman and enjoyed Westerns like Gunsmoke and anything with John Wayne. A ping pong champion, IU basketball fan (especially of the Bobby Knight era) and expert tinkerer, he had worked for several places as a manufacturing engineer. Most notably, he worked for Dalton Foundry, Peabody Seating Company, Hubbard Spool, and MacIntosh Corporation.

Having grown up around his parent’s apple orchard, making cider and harvesting apples became a family tradition for him, his wife, and their children, too. From this, he learned a lot about plants and gardening and developed a love for caring for his own plants and yard. He was “just the right amount of ornery” and loved to play and roughhouse with his children and grandchildren, who will always remember him as quiet and kind hearted, hard-working, loyal, tenacious, and witty.

He is survived by his wife of Berne; son, Jonathan (Amy) Vanator of Pendleton; three daughters, Leslie (Greg) Gregory of Fort Wayne; Valerie Cullen of New Castle, Colorado; and Jennifer (Marco Pagliacci) Vanator of Washburn, Wisconsin; sister, Iva Johnston of Pewaukee, Wisconsin; and six grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and two sisters, Betty Tampkin; and Mary Evelyn Bearinger.

Visitation will be two hours prior to the 2:00 p.m. funeral service on Sunday, May 6 at Titus Funeral Home, 2000 E. Sheridan St., Warsaw. Officiating will Pastor Jim Schwartz of First Mennonite Church of Berne. Burial will be at Leesburg Cemetery.

Military rites will be provided by members of the US Air Force, American Legion Post 49, and VFW Post 1126.

Arrangements provided by Titus Funeral Home in Warsaw. To sign the guestbook or send condolences, please visit www.TitusFuneralHome.com.