Funeral of Bill French on Saturday, 5/26, 2pm

William M. (Bill) French, Jr.
August 8, 1926 – May 18, 2018

William M. (Bill) French, Jr. passed away on May 18, 2018, in Wilmington, NC, after a lengthy illness. He was born in Bowling Green, KY, on August 8, 1926. He attended Bowling Green High School and later attended business school. Bill was a WWII veteran, having served as a combat engineer in Germany. After exiting the service, he was the owner of Southern Fence in Bowling Green and enjoyed tending to the animals on his farm. Upon his retirement, Bill moved to Wilmington, NC and he enjoyed the simple pleasantries of life, walks by the river, watching bluebirds, and chocolate milk.
Bill is survived by his wife of 45 years, Margaret Baldwin French of Wilmington, NC; a daughter, Cheryl Duncan (Steve) of Greenville, NC; a granddaughter, Daphne Wiles (Benjamin) of Anderson, SC, and two great-grandchildren, Ellie (4) and Duncan (2) of Anderson, SC; step-daughter, Barbara Colton (Doug); step-grandchildren, Colt, Shaun (Kelly), Nicole (VJ), Natalie (Steven), Patrick, Tammy (Howard), Misty (Bill); also step-great-grandchildren, Brooke, Shaun Michael, Leo, James, Vivian, McKenzie, Tyler, Alexander, Chase, and Kalynn. He was preceded in death by his mother, Nona French; father, William M. French, Sr., a brother, Robert French, a grandson, Billy Peters, a step-son, Michael Griffin and an infant step-son, Patrick Griffin.

Bill will be remembered for his great smile, friendly nature, and his love of chocolate, fishing, grits, dogs, and family.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm Saturday, May 26, 2018, at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, 612 South College Road, Wilmington, NC, 28403, (phone 910-791-4582).

The family is grateful for the loving care provided by Trinity Grove in Wilmington, NC. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Bill’s name to the American Heart Association or the Pastor’s Discretionary Fund at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, 612 South College Road, Wilmington, NC, 28403.

St Matthew's Pastor Sam Zumwalt


The Rev. Dr. Samuel Zumwalt has worked in churches for 42 years and in May 2018 celebrated the 37th anniversary of his ordination to the holy ministry. He is a member of the Society of the Holy Trinity ( In 2004, Pr. Zumwalt moved with his family to Wilmington from Texas, where he served for 23 years as pastor of small, midsize, and large congregations.