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William Lee McDougall, 41, Duluth, moved on to eternal life in heaven the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, with family and friends by his side, following a valiant, lifelong fight against Becker Muscular Dystrophy.

He was born on Jan. 18, 1973, in Duluth, and was the third child of James A. and Irene A. (Bussa) McDougall.

He graduated from Duluth Central High School in 1992 to the cheers of his classmates as he walked across the stage to accept his diploma.

Bill, affectionately called "Billy" by family, worked for McDonalds in West Duluth during high school, the State of Minnesota Workforce Center in Duluth following high school graduation, and also enjoyed volunteering his time at St. Mary's Medical Center's Education Department, the Benedictine Health Center Laundry, and Carlson Upholstery. Just prior to his death, he was looking forward to beginning work at UDAC. He was an active participant in the Duluth and Minnesota State Special Olympic games for many years, winning the State Bowling Championship in the mid-1980s.

More than anything else, Bill loved his family "dearly" and knew that he was loved dearly in return. He had a great sense of humor and a fantastic memory. If ever someone needed to find something, Bill was your man--even when he hadn't been able to go downstairs in the basement for years he knew where that "something" you needed was located. He loved to be silly, tell knock knock jokes, and tease some of his favorite people by calling them "troublemakers." One of his favorite sayings any day of the year was "Happy New Year!" He had a compassionate heart and was a great advocate for himself and his illness always letting caregivers know his needs. He regularly told the people he loved that he loved them. He had a love of lighthouses and lanterns which he collected for years and enjoyed visiting, ever believing that they were a symbol of his guiding light to Jesus, guiding him throughout his life and helping him to maintain the focus, sense of direction, and assistance he needed in his fight against his neuromuscular disease. The day before his death he asked his sister, Beth Ann, twice to "light all the lighthouses for me!" His niece, Jasmine, counted 34 lighthouses in his bedroom! He was an honest, brave, strong, and fun-loving man who taught those who knew him well how to have fun, smile, keep things simple, always persevere, always have hope, and that it was okay to be different.

Even with his Muscular Dystrophy disease and his developmental disabilities, Bill knew how to be happy and "keep going." During his life here on earth, he enjoyed many things: snowmobiling; golfing; bowling; fishing; boating; Legos; MatchBox cars; jigsaw puzzles; classic cars; Volkswagen Beetles; movies; classic TV shows; trains; tractors; dancing; pepperoni pizza; apple pie; Manwich; Fritos Scoops with cottage cheese; Mom's famous tator tot hotdish; Dukes of Hazzard; CHIPS; Country Western music; going to concerts; hats; T-shirts; wearing out his tires when riding his scooter in Ponderosa Groves while listening to music and visiting friends; keychains; traveling; motoring trips in the Mall, retail, and grocery stores; plants; birds; coloring; holiday celebrations and decorations; and telling stories. His favorite color was blue, which was the color he chose for both his scooter and his brand new electric wheelchair. He enjoyed spending time with family and going to his Aunt Donna's cabin at Side Lake, Minn., as well. When he was 12 and still able to walk, he enjoyed his most favorite trip of all which was flying to visit Disneyland, SeaWorld, and Death Valley in California; Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, and Lake Mead in Nevada; and Tijuana, Mexico. Most recently, he was learning to play guitar with his friend, Kurt. He also enjoyed the special relationships he had with the family's Miniature Schnauzer, Benji, and his beloved Toy Poodle, Curly. Bill was also a Christian who enjoyed attending the Vineyard Church with his sister, Beth Ann, and her family.

The family would like to give special thanks to the compassionate and highly skilled medical professionals at St. Mary's Medical Center's and Essentia Health's Departments of Emergency Medicine, NeuroTrauma, Nine West Nursing Unit, Palliative Care, Hospice, Urology, Physical Medicine, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Gastroenterology, Grief Support Services, and Hermantown Clinic, and to ARC Northland's personal care assistants, and the University of Minnesota Duluth Department of Speech Pathology -- all of whom played an instrumental role in Bill's life. Additional special thanks to the personal care assistants at DRCC-Maple House for their loving and compassionate care of Bill and the many special friendships, smiles, and fresh opportunities they brought to him during the last 10 1/2 months of his life; and to Sarah Nunn for providing an extra special home for Bill's dog, Curly, since January 2014. Most of all, a very special thank you to the only parents he ever knew, James A. McDougall and Irene A. McDougall, for welcoming him into his forever family from the foster care system when he was only a few weeks old, which allowed him the opportunity to become the amazing man he was and allowed the family and so many others the privilege and honor of getting to know his wonderful spirit and watching him grow.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Bill is survived by his five siblings, Beth Ann (Brian) Teskey and Timothy McDougall, all of Duluth; Jamie (Pieter Bekker) McDougall, Hibbing; Kent (Denise) McDougall, Hermantown; and Scott (Karin) McDougall, West Salem, Wis.; aunts, uncles, and many nephews, nieces, cousins, and friends.

VISITATION: 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2, until the 6 p.m. funeral service in Sunrise Memorial Park Funeral Home in Hermantown on Miller Trunk Highway. Dinner to follow. In lieu of flowers, memorials made directly to the Muscular Dystrophy Association in memory of Bill are preferred.