William "Bill" Frank Betzler

Navy Badge
  • Name: William "Bill" Frank Betzler
  • Location of Birth: Two Harbors, Minnesota
  • Date of Birth: September 19, 1922
  • Date of Death: November 17, 2016
  • Parents: Albert Betzler & Francis (Slovik) Betzler
  • High School and Class: 1940 Greenway High School, Coleraine, Minnesota
  • College: Itasca Junior College, Coleraine, Minnesota
  • Highest Rank: Quartermaster 1st Class
  • Branch: Navy
  • Other Branch:
  • Date Sworn In: December 12, 1942
  • Place Sworn In:
  • Date of Discharge: February 18, 1946
  • Place of Discharge:
  • Military Awards:

  • Military Highlights:
    WW II Draft Registration Cards – 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947
    State: Minnesota
    Name: William Frank Betzler
    Race: White
    Age: 19
    Birth Date: September 18, 1922
    Birth Place: Two Harbors, Minnesota, USA
    Residence Place: Calumet, Itasca, Minnesota, USA
    Registration Date: June 30, 1942
    Employer: Lerch Brothers, Hibbing, MN (Calumet, MN mine)
    Weight: 160
    Height: 6-2
    Complexion: Ruddy
    Eye Color: Blue
    Hair Color: Blonde
    Next of Kin: Mrs. Albert Betzler, Calumet

    Newspaper article: Bovey Press, Bovey, Minnesota - September 22, 1944 – “Dear Ann: Since the Doughboys started sending us the “Press” I have been reading your letter more or less regularly. There have been some large gaps, and there are still a lot of papers chasing me. Take today, for instance, I received one dated May 19. Old or new though, they are royally welcomed by me. No matter how many letters I get from back there, and I get my share, I still find things in the Press that are new to me. Your informal, chatty way of putting all the news is a relief from impersonal news briefs we receive on board ship. I, myself, am from Calumet, but G.H.S. [Greenway High School] and I.J.C. [Itasca Junior College], plus the night spots all across the Range makes me quite familiar with almost everyone and everything you talk about. I should have written you long ago, especially when I was back in the states. I had unusually good luck back there meeting people from home. Also, there were things happening that I could write about. At one time or another I’ve met people from Grand Rapids, Coleraine, Bovey, Taconite, Marble, Calumet, Nashwauk and Hibbing. Every time it did happen, you can bet that there was a general bull session and a lot of the people back home got a good going over. Perhaps you know Clara Evanoff from Calumet. She’s living in Frisco. It was a treat to dance with a girl from home again. She lived just 2 houses away from me in Calumet. Here’s a brief history of my life in the Navy. Dec. 24, 1942, donned the Navy blue, in time finished boots – no leave – then to school, finished July 30, 1943, made QM2c – no leave – Frisco, assigned to the USS Reno – no leave – ah, leave at last, Sept. ’42 [’43 ?]. After leave more Frisco and other parts of Calif. Then to sea. Aug. 1st, QM 2c and here I sit looking wishful toward the east, hoping and praying that soon we will set our course for the Golden Gate. Navy life isn’t too bad, but it can never compare with life in Northern Minnesota. I’ll be back there some one of these days. I’ll drop in then and thank you personally for the help you have given me and all the other boys from home. You’re 4.0, Ann, Bill (Wm. Betzler)”

  • Wars Involved:
    World War II

  • MIA / POW:

  • Civilian Life:
    William Betzler married Agnes Skary in 1945. He completed his degree in mining engineering from the University of California Berkeley. He worked for Jones & Laughlin Steel in a number of towns across the Iron Range, retiring as assistant manager at J&L, Minnesota Ore Division. Bill then worked for the MN Department of Revenue. He was an Eagle Scout and then devoted more than 60 years to scouting, ultimately honored with the Silver Beaver Award.

    William Betzler died in Duluth, Minnesota and is buried in Lakeview Cemetery, Buhl, Minnesota. He is survived by his sister, Alberta; three sons, William Jr., David (Barbara), and Steven (Cindy); two daughters, Laurie (Jerry) Collier and Marilyn (Ron) Balchan; and nine grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Aggie; daughter, Barbara Hellgren Raihala; his parents; and his brothers, Albert, Lloyd and Carl.

  • Tribal Affiliation(s):