A Natchitoches resident since 2015, William “Bill” Marshall Puls passed away after a brief illness on April 15, 2020, at the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center.
A native of Fort Worth, Texas, he attended Texas Christian University and the University of Texas. He served as a Seaman in the U. S. Navy from October 26, 1957 until March 28, 1962, spending the bulk of his time on a ship overseas. While in the Navy, he earned the Good Conduct Medal. His name was added to the Indian Wells Eisenhower Walk of Honor in California on November 11, 2014.
Bill held various jobs before beginning his career with American Airlines. He started there in 1960. He retired from American in 1998 as Supervisor of Operations and Pay Audit. His forthright and friendly manner with his colleagues and subordinates made him one of the best-liked and most respected members of management.
Bill was a talented athlete who loved sports. A season ticketholder to NSU football, basketball, and baseball, he fully supported and never gave up on his teams. He would say, “That’s why they play the game.” He was generous with his time as a coach, referee, and umpire for his children and grandchildren. He ran multiple 5-Ks and marathons. He thought it was important to keep moving and participated in aerobics, tai chi, and yoga. He jumped rope and ran the stairs along the Cane River Lake on Front St. daily. He started playing golf at an early age, scoring four holes in one and shooting his ate at 73. From ages 70 to 79 on his birthdays, starting early each morning, he would play as many holes of golf as his age.
He loved music, especially the blues, and often described himself as a frustrated “want to be” musician. He enjoyed cruising and traveling both in the United States and Europe. In 2014, he went to Scotland for the Ryder Cup, which was one of the items on his bucket list.
He never met a stranger and could talk to anybody about anything but always remembered to listen as well. He was a consummate southern gentleman with a dry sense of humor and impeccable manners. He was always thinking of others, asking little for himself.
Bill was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth, Texas, but joined Trinity Episcopal Church after moving to Natchitoches. An active member of Trinity, he frequently served as an usher, welcoming all with a big smile and a twinkle in his eye. He joined the Walter Ledet Coffee Club, known for its community outreach, and enjoyed the camaraderie of the men as they gathered for coffee daily.
Bill was preceded in death by his first wife Jeanell Beeson Puls, his mother Mildred Benning Puls, his father George Puls, Sr., and his brothers George Puls, Jr., and Dr. Richard Puls. He is survived by the love of his life, his wife of 29 years Regina “Gina” Bohn Puls; his son William Kelly Puls and his wife Kelly of Fort Worth, Texas; his stepsons Williams Winston Davenport and his wife Linda of Trophy Club, Texas; Rex Bohn Davenport and his companion Tobey Levine of Fort Mills, South Carolina; five grandchildren, Kelcy Cranford of Denver, Colorado, William Kelly Puls, Jr., of Chicago, Illinois, Kristopher Blake Puls of Austin, Texas, Paige Lee Davenport of Dallas, Texas, and Williams Winston Davenport, Jr., of Austin, Texas. He was everyone’s favorite uncle and is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews, great-nieces and nephews, and great-great-nieces and nephews. Other survivors include brothers- and sisters-in-law: Robert Peterson and Barbara Bohn of Anchorage, Alaska; Roy and Susan Chustz of Livingston, Louisiana; and Bernard and Carolyn Gaten of Cocoa Beach, Florida.
A celebration of his life will be held in Natchitoches at a later date when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. His ashes will be scattered on Hole Number 7 at Ridglea Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, where he scored his first hole in one, followed by glasses being raised in the “19th hole” of the club house to his final hole in one.
Memorial donations can be made on-line in his name to Disabled American Veterans (dav.org) or the Wounded Warrior Project (support.woundedwarriorproject.org), two charities that he supported.