In Memoriam Bill Marfink

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In late October, William (Bill) Marfink passed away at the age of 56. Bill was a fixture in the Aquinas College Music Department – staff accompanist, collaborator, mentor and friend to all. He will be sorely missed by those who knew him.

Bill began accompanying Aquinas students in the early 1990s. In the 2000s, he began to fulfill all of the needs for a departmental accompanist. As such, Bill became a mentor, friend, cheerleader and support person for nearly every student who entered the Music Department. He accompanied the choirs; readily stepped in to help the instrumental ensembles; and accompanied countless students and faculty recitals, auditions, Homecoming events, and performance classes. Bill was very involved in the music ministry and officially became the Campus Ministry Musician-Music Department staff accompanist in 2015. 

Outside of AQ, Bill was the accompanist for the Catholic Central High School Choirs, the Grand Rapids Diocesan Choir and Schola, and the Shir Shalom Choir. For several years, Bill was the Director of Music at St. Isidore Catholic Church and served as its school’s  elementary music teacher. He was well-recognized for his piano skills and was regularly called upon to accompany a wide variety of performers throughout the Grand Rapids area.

Bill could often be found in the Music Department’s student lounge. He was always ready with a smile, some words of comfort and encouragement, and a wealth of fun, trivia knowledge and jokes that often made you simultaneously smile and cringe. Tributes regarding his positive influence began pouring in immediately. Among them was a request from AQ alum, Anna Egres, asking if there was a way to design a musical tribute to Bill. It was decided that a virtual choir video would be created, using a setting of the Magnificat that Bill had composed. Nearly 60 former students, faculty and friends have provided individual recordings for this project. The video was released in mid-December.

May God grant Bill peace and eternal rest.