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Willis C. "Bill" Bullard Jr.

July 12, 1943 December 18, 2020
Willis  C. "Bill" Bullard Jr.
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Obituary for Willis C. "Bill" Bullard Jr.

Senator Willis "Bill" Clare Bullard, Jr. was born on July 12, 1943 in Detroit and passed away December 18, 2020 at Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital from complications of COVID-19. Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Willis Clare Bullard, a formidable lawyer, and Virginia Gilmore Bullard, a fierce collegiate debater; he was the eldest of their three sons. He emerged from his childhood in Grosse Pointe Woods as a Republican with an aptitude for master negotiation and deal- making; skills that would set the stage for a life in politics.

While earning his B.A. in political science from the University of Michigan, Bill worked as the managing sports editor for the Michigan Daily. As a law student, he was a sportswriter for the Ann Arbor News. After earning a law degree from the Detroit College of Law, Bill settled in Highland, where he began his lifelong devotion to politics; he became Highland Township Trustee in 1978 and Highland Township Supervisor in 1980. He served in the Michigan State House of Representatives (1983-1992) and in the Michigan State Senate (1996-2002). Bill then joined the Oakland County Board of Commissioners as Chair for three of his four terms (2003-2011), and as Oakland County Clerk/ Register of Deeds (2011-2012). He later became a partner at Strategic Communications Solutions where he continued to advocate for better government. In November 2020, Bill was appointed Deputy Clerk of White Lake Township.

Throughout his political career, Bill was well known for working effectively across party lines, and many of his colleagues became good friends. He was instrumental in passing more than 170 bills into law, was named Legislator of the Year by many organizations, and received a multitude of additional awards and honors.

His passion for politics was rivaled only by his enthusiasm for sports, an undeterred ability to live life to the fullest, and extreme pride in his children. Bill held season tickets to University of Michigan football and basketball games, and rarely missed a Lions, Tigers, Red Wings or Pistons game. A true extrovert, he was a fixture at restaurants in downtown Milford, and would often entertain friends on his pontoon boat. Bill read stacks of biographies and political history, and devoured newspapers. Each winter, he looked forward to soaking up the Florida sun. A compassionate father with wit, Bill instilled robust independence in his children, and encouraged them to follow their hearts.

Senator Bill Bullard is survived by his children Willis Bullard III, Dr. Melissa Bullard, and Kaila Bullard, brothers Dr. David Bullard and Jonathan Bullard, nieces Anna Heath and Allison Ignatius, nephews Scott Bullard and Michael Bullard, grandnephews Roman Heath and Caleb Ignatius, and grandniece Sylvia Heath. The family is deeply grateful to the medical and nursing staff who took such fine care of our father, brother, and uncle.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Highland Township Activity Center or the Detroit Zoological Society.


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