Veteran, Motorcyclist, Father: Remembering Bill Phelps – Winchester Sun


“He was the parent who could be told anything,” said daughter Denise Lindquist, “he was a good listener and he was never a stranger. If you wanted to get into Walmart and get out of Walmart quickly, never take it with you, ”she laughed.

William Jack Phelps, better known as Bill, was a pillar of the Clark County community. He was an avid biker who loved to tell jokes, grill and especially pay tribute to those who served in the armed forces.

Phelps was born to the late Carolyn Sue and Eddie Phelps on August 16, 1972 in Elyria, Ohio. A veteran of the military, he would go on to become a member of two separate veteran support organizations: the Patriot Guard Riders and Rolling Thunder.

“In 2019, he and I went to DC for a Rolling Thunder ride, recalls Lindquist, who is also a Rolling Thunder member. “For four full days, we walked through DC together, trying to reach as many memorials and museums as possible. We were up at 5 a.m. and went to bed at midnight. We ended the days at the Vietnam Wall, WWII Monument, and Korean War Memorial. It’s probably my best memory of him.

Lindquist explained that Phelps joined the Army in 1989, being part of Desert Storm and achieving the rank of Specialist. His military service ended in 2002 when he left the Ohio National Guard, and in 2005 he moved to Clark County to be closer to his family.

In 2008, Phelps got his first motorcycle, a Yamaha. Later he would buy a Honda 1300 VTX and a Kawasaki Vulcan Voyager – his last motorcycle.

“He loved the freedom, the thrill of riding a motorcycle,” explained Lindquist, “the freedom of a good country road with loud music and lots of curves. It was his favorite thing. Phelps herself taught Lindquist to ride a motorcycle in 2018 on the aforementioned Honda. He always advised to “keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down”.

In 2013, Phelps joined the Patriot Guard Riders, a non-profit organization that protects the families of fallen heroes from disruption to their services. They are known to have opposed protesters at the Westboro Baptist Church, who call the deaths of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan “divine retribution.”

“The reason he always gave us to join was that he wanted to honor everyone he could,” Lindquist said. “My dad, he could walk down the aisle to the grocery store, there would be a man in a veteran’s hat and my dad would stop and thank them for their service. Especially if he was a Vietnam vet he would add “welcome home”. We are happy that you are still here with us. It was important for him to make sure that every veteran knew he was appreciated.

Rolling Thunder, which Phelps joined in 2018, aims to raise awareness of POW MIA. In WWII alone, 72,462 men and women are still missing. He has also volunteered for the Beacon of Hope Emergency Shelter in Winchester, which provides safe shelter, food and self-reliance resources for homeless members of the community and surrounding counties.

“I think he’s taught us to love everyone,” Lindquist said. “Do it for others, because you never know, one day it might be you. Volunteer and just be nice. I think that the legacy he leaves is only the legacy of the gift. Give to the veterans, give to the homeless, go ahead and be a good person. “

“Bill was truly one of a kind. He was compassionate and always put others first, ”said Cpl. Matthew Bradford of Nicholasville, a retired US Marine and a friend of Phelps. “One of the many stories I have with Bill dates back to two years ago, when I was cycling through Kentucky and stopped by the side of the road in Paris. It was hot and we were almost at our stopping point for the day. Bill unexpectedly showed up alone as we were sitting there. When I asked him what he was doing, thinking maybe he just drove on us, Bill said Matt was in Rolling Thunder, one of us and we’re not going to let him. that without us beside him. Bill is the real meaning of “above and beyond” for others. I am very fortunate to have shared so many stories and to have many memories with Bill. He was a proud Patriot as he served this great country, and continued to serve throughout his life. It is an honor to wear the Rolling Thunder vest and even to share the same birthday with it. The way Bill cared for others and lived his life should be emulated by all. Until we meet brother, Semper Fidelis! You will certainly be missed and you will never be forgotten.

Bill is survived by his wife of 16, Tracie. Her children, Denise (Tim) Lindquist, Tori (Daniel) Hall and Ryan. Her stepchildren Timmy and Tommy Morrow. His grandchildren, Adrien Hall & Corbin Phelps. Her brothers, Russell (Melissa) Phelps and Jason (Sara) Phelps. His stepfather, Earl Bacon and his stepmother, Frances Hughart. He is survived by his nieces and nephews, Stephanie Kaiser, Russell (Bri) Phelps, Brittany Phelps, Anthony, Frank Workman, Nick, Nathan and Mason Roesch as well as several great-nieces and grand-nephews. He is also survived by many uncles, aunts and cousins.


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