ELKHART – William Thomas “Bill” Overhulser, 93, of Edwardsburg, Mich., died peacefully in the early morning hours of April 22, 2020, at Greenleaf Health Campus. His wife of 42 years, Phyllis (Hapner) Overhulser, was able to sit with him before his death, and his friends and family prayed from many locations.
Waterman-Westbrook & Clouse Funeral Home of Elkhart is handling arrangements. Mr. Overhulser’s remains will be cremated.
Mr. Overhulser was born March 9, 1927, in Warren, Ohio, to William O. and Ruth (Williamson) Overhulser. He was raised primarily in the Elkhart area. He earned a GED, attended Fort Wayne Bible College and completed more college courses in Michigan.
Mr. Overhulser married Josephine Ummel in 1947 in Elkhart. Together, they had four boys, Joseph, Lyle, James and David. The family lived in north Elkhart and, later, on Long Lake, where they enjoyed boating, swimming and hosting family gatherings.
In 1952, Mr. Overhulser began working for Richardson Homes in Elkhart. Five years later, he founded Lil’ Sport Coach and built travel trailers in the family garage. He renamed the company Del Rey Industries and designed and produced campers until 1969, when he retired at age 42. Mr. Overhulser was a founding member of the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and was inducted into the RV Hall of Fame in 2016, noted for producing “iconic models of truck campers which set the pace for the burgeoning industry.”
Mr. Overhulser was known as a “jack of all trades,” and it has been said he and his boys could fix or build most anything.
A pilot, Mr. Overhulser served as a self-appointed missionary to Central and South America and flew relief supplies in to Guatemala in 1976 after a devastating earthquake killed more than 20,000 people.
Mr. Overhulser was a Christian and spent much of his life sharing the gospel with people far and wide. He would want those reading his obituary to hear the good news: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (I Peter 1:3).
Survivors include wife, Phyllis, of Edwardsburg. They were married Dec. 9, 1977, and lived 17 years in Florida before coming home to Michiana.
Also surviving are sons, Lyle (Brenda) Overhulser of Van Horn, Texas, Jim (Vicki) Overhulser of St. James City, Fla., and daughter-in-law, Linda (Moore) Overhulser of Minden, La.; grandchildren Stephanie (Tim) Price of Union, Jason (Lynette) Overhulser, Rachel Davis, Daniel Overhulser and Matthew Overhulser of Elkhart, and Erica (Andrew) Gehring of Atlanta; step-grandchildren Teri (Thomas) Lee of Sturgis, Mich., Dennis (Zindle) Medford of Edwardsburg, David (Keri) Medford of Union and Doug (Cathy) Medford of White Pigeon; six great-grandchildren; and many step-great-grandchildren. Two adopted children, Rita of Florida, and Abel.
Sons Joseph Lee and David Paul preceded him in death in 2018 and 2014, respectively. Also preceding him in death were a brother, Daniel; a sister, Mary; a step-grandchild; and former wife, Josephine.
Sincere Thank You to Cassie and the staff at Greenleaf.
Phyllis has requested that contributions be made to the church of one’s choice or to organizations that distribute Bibles worldwide.
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