Pug Sliger

Obituary of Pug Sliger

William “Pug” C. Sliger Jr. passed away peacefully on April 27, 2024 on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. He was 75.

On March 17, 1949, after a grueling delivery, a bouncing baby boy was born to William and Marjorie “Skeet” (Hosfeld) Sliger in Cadillac, MI. Upon first glance at his son, Bill decided he looked more like a beat-up pugilist than a baby and henceforth the legend was named: Pug.

In his youth, Pug, his younger sister Sally, and their parents settled in Northville, MI. His mother taught the third grade and his father owned and operated several local newspapers, including the Northville Record. Pug graduated from Northville High School in 1967. The quote under his senior picture read: “Don’t dare me, I might surprise you.” And surprise he did when he turned down an acceptance at the University of Michigan to attend Denison University in Ohio.

Pug joined a fraternity at Denison and met four lifelong best friends; Chip, The Fox, John, and Courtney. This ragtag group of men frequently caused a ruckus that continued well into their adulthood. And yet, through all the fun Pug succeeded to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in economics.

After college, the Vietnam War was still ongoing and Pug’s draft number was in the single digits, so he decided to enlist in the US Coast Guard. Pug traveled the country with the Coast Guard. In more recent years he reminisced fondly about his time spent stationed in Manhattan. It was his Coast Guard service that brought him back to northern Michigan.

Pug was a gregarious people-person. In his twenties and early thirties, he could frequently be found at watering and golf holes throughout Antrim County. He seemed to know everyone throughout the area and, as they say, he never met a stranger. During this time, he started selling advertisements for Up North Publications. One day, he walked into a dentist’s office to sell an ad and met a curly-haired boy in the waiting room. Little did he know that small person would ultimately change the direction of Pug’s life, as this boy’s mother, Jane, was working the front desk.

Pug and Jane (Luxton) were married on June 6, 1987, in an outdoor ceremony on Elk Lake, with Jane’s children, Melissa and Ryan at their sides. The union created an immediate family for the once-assumed life-long bachelor, and he embraced it completely.

The family moved to Elk Rapids, MI in 1987 and put down roots. A few years later they welcomed their son, Ian, and daughter, Calli, thus completing their family. Pug showered his children with love. He owned an appraisal business and worked out of the house well before it was common; so, he was always shuttling kids. He never missed a little league or soccer game, band concert, choir or play performance, art show, or honors award presentation. He was the first to let out a supporting whistle (IYKYK) and shout of encouragement; along with a holler or two at a blind referee. Pug was a stellar dad-joke teller and shared his obnoxious sense of humor with his “favorite child” Calli (although she gave that moniker to herself). He shared his love of U of M football with his family, and they all learned the fight song at his insistence. He also openly welcomed his children’s friends into the fold and became a surrogate dad to many over the years. However, perhaps his greatest gift as a parent was simply showing his children how much he loved and respected their mother.

Pug adored Jane.

Together, they loved to cross country ski and volunteered for the White Pine Stampede for many years. They frequently took trips to the UP in the winter to ski and vacationed on Hilton Head Island every spring. Their move to Birch Lake completed the dream of living on the water. People often gathered at the lake for a Pug-built campfire. And the annual event, Sliger-fest, provided much laughter and fun for friends and family. In recent years, they would take a quiet boat ride in the evenings to enjoy the sunset.

Over the years, they watched their family change as their kids grew and moved away from home, creating new lives for themselves. They cared for ailing parents; Pug dutifully cared for his mother in her later years. They welcomed with open arms new members to the family through marriages and friendships. And the love multiplied infinitely when each of their six grandkids were born.

Pug embraced the title of Grampug with gusto and welcomed the youngest generation of Sliger in November 2023. He wore his #1 Grampug t-shirt with pride. Just as with his own kids, he watched his grandkids play sports and cheered at dance recitals. He made sure they didn’t hit their heads on the table as they ran through the house and that they always had their life jackets while on the lake. And above all, he loved them fiercely.

Pug’s booming laugh and thoughtful personality will be explicitly missed. Therefore, when you find the cheapest gas somewhere, think of him. When you have dessert, add ridiculous amounts of whipped cream and always take the piece of cake with the most frosting. This fall cheer on the Wolverines and think of him. If you’re sad, watch Uncle Buck or dance the Wooly Bully. And know that somehow, he will always be waiting to help guide the boat to the dock.

The loss is immeasurable but so is the love that is left behind.

Pug is survived by his loving wife, Jane, their children Melissa (Christopher) Ellis, Ryan (Susan) DeLiso, Ian (Katie) Sliger, and Calli Sliger; grandchildren: Sebastian, Alexander, Helena, Lilian, Madeline, and Luxton; and the best sister a guy could ask for, Sally (John) Martin, as well as many nephews, nieces, and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents.

Please join us for a Celebration of Life Open House on Saturday, May 18th from 2 PM-5 PM at Edward C. Grace Harbor in the Jack Blesma Pavilion, Elk Rapids, MI. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Pug’s life.

Please consider a donation to The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration in Pug’s honor.

A Memorial Tree was planted for Pug
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at The Island Funeral Home & Crematory
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