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William "Bill" L. Van Lanen

 WAUPACA – William Van Lanen, “Bill” to all who knew him, age 70, died Saturday night, November 20, 2021 at University Hospital in Madison.

     Bill was born in Algoma on July 15, 1951 to Marvin and Marjorie (Sticka) Van Lanen. He grew up attending St. Mary Catholic Church and School and graduated from Algoma High School with the class of 1970.

     On November 9, 1990, he married Nancy Simdon in Appleton. They shared 31 years together. During his working life he worked at U.S. Plywood-Algoma Hardwoods in Algoma, Waupaca Foundry, and Sturm and Sons in Manawa, among other places. He enjoyed anything to do with cars, motorcycles, and racing. Shawano Speedway was his favorite local racetrack, and he was a regular in the stands there for many years. In recent years, he became the Lawnmower Man – buying nonworking mowers, fixing them up and selling them. It seemed he could fix anything with a motor. And once he started something, he didn’t give up until he got it right.

     Some of his best times were hanging out with his brother, Larry, to reminisce and search for the Paulding Lights in the UP. He loved the times he spent with his dad and brothers deer hunting in the Black Ash. He also enjoyed spending time reminiscing with his mom while trying to beat her at cards. Some of Bill’s favorite memories with Nancy include trips to Glacier National Park and Las Vegas, camping, and attending races and Shiocton basketball games. Bill looked forward to almost weekly local races with Ryan. Some of Bill’s best memories were of his annual trip with Ryan to Cedar Lake and their racing trip to Florida. Bill would rave about Amy’s special meals for days and was forever grateful to her for bringing Bucky Rogers into his life. Even at the age of 70, Bill loved to play a pickup game of basketball with his grandsons, Ben and Greyson. His grandson, Parker, never failed to make Bill smile and shared his love of races with him. Bill also adored getting to know his future daughter-in-law, Holly, and grandson, Rex. We have so many memories of adventures with Bill. He liked to share stories about his early years, including the trouble he and Larry hid from their mother. His grilling on the Weber in his garage will be missed by all of us. He will especially be remembered for being a good son to his parents by making sure to visit them often and helping care for them in their later years. 

     He will be missed by his wife, Nancy; his daughter and son, Amy Casto of Pewaukee and Ryan (fiancée, Holly) Van Lanen of Appleton; grandchildren, Benjamin and Greyson Casto, Parker Van Lanen, and Rex Harrison; brothers, Ken Van Lanen of Algoma and Larry Van Lanen of Crystal Falls, MI, and their families; Nancy’s family; other relatives; his best buddy, Jimmy Ringtail.

     He was preceded in death by his parents; grandma, Toni Sticka; brother, David Van Lanen; mother-in-law, Ruth Simdon; and other relatives.

     There will be no funeral service, but family will gather together to share memories and honor Bill. 

Bill will be laid to rest in St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Algoma with a graveside committal held at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, December 3, 2021, WEATHER PERMITTING. Check with the Schinderle Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Algoma (920-487-2662;; or to verify if the committal is still being held. 

     Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of William may be shared with his family through his tribute page at

     “We will miss him so much!”


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