Proverbs 22:29 asks, “Have you seen a man skillful at his work? He will stand before kings. He will not stand before common men.” All who knew him would agree that Bill Hartwig, himself, was no common man. He spent nearly 98 years of life developing an unmatched reputation of hard and skillful work. He developed his work ethic as a boy on a small farm in New Mexico. At the age of 14, he left home and began a career as a farm-implement repairman and dealer that spanned more than 7 decades. He provided well for his beloved wife, Sylvia, and his 9 children and step-children. Over the years, he taught the value of hard work - by word and example - to his 15 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.
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He was born on November 13, 1922 as the oldest son to Ima Nell. She and his step-father moved him from Wolfe City, Tx to Portales, New Mexico when we was 7 years old. He lived through the Great Depression, survived the infamous “Dust Bowl” of New Mexico, served in the Philippine Islands during World Ward II, suffered a broken back on at least 3 occasions, and even pulled his own teeth. The man was tough. However, as calloused as his hands were, his heart remained tender. He loved his family, friends, and congregation deeply. It was always a delight to be in his company. He was known for his interesting stories, unique mannerisms, and his pleasant habit of always humming or whistling a tune. He was blessed with many, many friends and always went out of his way to care for them as if they were his own family. He often came to the aid of a man in a hard spot, or gifted a lady with hand-crafted jewelry he’d made as a hobby, or pulled a mint from his pocket to give to a young one, or shared the produce from his garden. His hard work was a blessing to all.
As hard as he worked secularly and as a family man, the work he valued the most was spiritual. As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, he made preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom a priority of the highest importance for over 50 years. As he wore out the pages of his Bible, he helped countless individuals learn and apply the truth and principles found in God’s Word. He had complete faith in Jehovah God’s promise of an earthly paradise, where the righteous would dwell in peace forever. (Psalm 37:11, 29) He knew the pain of living in this system of things, having experienced not only the loss of his beloved wife in 2017, but also three of his step- children, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. He took great comfort in the Bible’s promise of the resurrection of our loved ones. (John 5:28, 29)
He will be missed, and has left a void in the lives of his family and friends that cannot be replaced. But we rejoice in the fine reputation he cultivated as skillfully as he cultivated the soil of his garden. His lifetime of hard work will continue to yield produce through the work ethic and fine habits he passed on to those that were blessed to have him as a father, friend, and mentor. There is no doubt that he was a man skillful at his work. And he certainly will stand before kings. Those that knew Bill Hartwig are confident that he will be found worthy of everlasting life. (Revelation 20:12) Online condolences may be made at www.northsfuneralhome.com