2016-11-17 / Local News

‘Cooker man’ recalled by co-workers

By Patti Brandt Burgess
Of The Enterprise staff

William Hauxwell earned the nickname “Cooker Man Bill” during his 10-years as a cook at the Leelanau Children’s Center.

Hauxwell, 63, was killed at about 7 a.m. Tuesday when he pulled his vehicle out in front of a semi tractor trailer heading west on M-72, according to a report from the Michigan State Police, who handled the accident.

“Kids loved cooking with him,” said Molly Grosvenor, program director for the Leland Center. “Alumni kids come back here and that’s what they remember.”

Grosvenor said he always let kids help him with his cooking duties, things like adding carrots to a dish and rolling out pizza dough.

“It was definitely not your typical school cook,” Grosvenor said. “He was one of a kind.”

Dense fog was likely a factor in the collision that killed Hauxwell, of Maple City, at about 7 a.m. He had been heading south on Maple City Road when he went through a stop sign at the intersection.

Hauxwell died at the scene.

Hauxwell worked at the Children’s Center from 1998 to 2007.

“But he was a volunteer and parent before that,” Grosvenor said.

Hauxwell is survived by his three adult children, Sam, Aiden and Greer.

Grosvenor and Hauxwell were also friends outside of the center. He was passionate about music and introduced his friends to local bands, she said.

“He was a really fine, gentle soul,” she said.

Before going to work at the center, Hauxwell was a cook for about 10 years at the former Leelanau Country Inn on M-22 owned by John and Linda Sisson, who now have a restaurant in Leland.

“He was a wonderful man,” John Sisson said. “He was able to do anything. He was just a top-notch guy. Linda and I are both very sad.”

The semi truck that hit Hauxwell was driven by a 47-year-old Mancelona man. He was not injured.

The intersection remained closed for several hours after the accident.

Leelanau County deputies and Cedar Area Fire and Rescue personnel assisted at the scene.

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