Siblings remember dad of 12 one year after tragic death

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MOHAWK, Tenn. (WVLT) This Father's Day a family of 12 siblings, 13 grandkids and several in laws remember a man they lost one year ago.

Bill Vradenburgh was running a typical errand last June, dropping off library books in Morristown, when he was struck head on by a drunk driver on Highway 160.

Just a year before, Vradenburgh had been featured in the Citizen Tribune on Father's Day, touting his devotion to the 12 kids he raised as a single parent several years after losing his wife to cancer.

"There's those random times that you just start thinking about the memories you had with him and it just hits you out of nowhere," said Bill's son Richard Vradenburgh.

But this Father's Day, the memories are happy and smiles fill big sister Hannah Julian's home as six of the 12 Vradenburgh kids gather to remember their dad.

"Even though he worked two jobs and had a big family to look after, he always
loved to read his Bible," said daughter Heidi Bible.

"One thing I was able to do with him was go running, because he ran quite a bit," said son Roger Vradenburgh.

"On birthdays, he didn't just pick out any cards he wrote something... we called them epistles," said daughter Hannah Julian.

And even though several brothers and sisters are now grown, living out of state, the six still here credit their big family for their strong will to get by each day.

"You have a lot of people to identify with. You're all going through the same thing. You feed off of each other even though we're not together like this as much as we'd like to be. It helps a lot," said Julian. "It's the best gift mom and dad gave us... each other. We have 11 best friends."

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William, "Bill," Vradenburgh died Friday night after being struck head on by another vehicle. The 56-year-old was a father of 12 and a grandfather of 13.

Police say Danny Musick was driving a Dodge Caravan on the southbound lane of Highway 160 in Hamblen County when he crossed into the southbound lane, hitting Vradenburgh head on.

Vradenburgh died at the scene. A helicopter flew Musick to UT Medical Center to be treated for what police say were major injuries.

Police say they believe alcohol was involved after finding empty beer cans in Musick's car. They're now waiting for the results of a toxicology report.

Vradenburgh's family will receive guests from 5 to 7 Tuesday at Fairview Baptist Church in Mohawk. A funeral will follow.

Friends and family will gather Wednesday for the committal service.

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