We remain available 24/7 to serve families. Call (480) 964-8686 to learn more.

William Franklin Gaines

09/09/1948 - 11/06/2023

William Franklin Gaines went to be with his Lord and Savior on Monday, November 6, 2023, after a short but courageous battle with COPD and congestive heart failure. He was 75 years old.

He is proceeded in death by his parents, John David Gaines, Jr., and Oris Gaines (nee Beaird), sisters, Louise Gilchrist, Marie Sherd, and Evelyn Reed, brother, Gary Gaines, granddaughter, Taylor Gaines, and great-grandson, Landen Gaines. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Linda (nee Brannon), sons William Gaines Jr., of Gilbert; Eugene Smith (Beth) of Maryville, TN; Michael Gaines (Nicole) of Mesa; daughter Kirstena Crook (William) of Mesa; and Scott Gaines (Jamie) of Chandler, sixteen grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren, with two more due next year. He is also survived by siblings, John David Gaines III, of Gilbert; Dwight Gaines (Melanie) of Tempe; Kenneth Gaines (Addie) of Cottonwood; Juanita Shannon of Phoenix, Marla Lawrence of Chandler, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Bill was born in Mesa (although he liked to say Gilbert, where he grew up) the seventh of ten children, on September 9, 1948. He attended Gilbert High School, and although he didn’t graduate, he received his GED while in the Army. He joined the Army in 1965, served in various capacities at bases in the United States, and in 1967, went to Vietnam and achieved the rank of Sergeant. He was honorably discharged in 1969.

He joined the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in 1970. He spent the majority of his career in Lake Patrol and became a diver to better serve the citizens of the county while patrolling the lakes and rivers. In his off hours, he obtained his private pilot’s license. He received many awards and commendations during his tenure as deputy and retired after almost 21 years.

He and Linda met at the Sheriff’s Office and were married on October 3, 1974, in Phoenix. Wanting to stay close to his roots, they lived in Mesa and raised their blended family.

After retirement, he and his brother, Dwight, had a small scrap metal business for a while. He also became interested in prospecting for gold, which he enjoyed doing for several years. He did some drag racing at Firebird Raceway in a 1960’s Plymouth Belvedere he named “Gold Miner.” Genealogy piqued his interest, and he spent many hours researching his immediate and extended family ancestry. He and Linda made the trek east across country every year for several years to visit family and friends. The last couple of years, when health issues required he spend more time at home, he occupied himself by working on firearms.

He was a history buff, an avid reader and collector of books, and knew all kinds of trivia. He was stubborn, opinionated, sometimes grouchy, a picky eater, funny, intelligent, a John Wayne fan, strong defender of his constitutional rights, and protector of his family. When asked how he was feeling, he’d almost always say “fair to middlin”. He loved God, his family and his country. He was greatly loved and will be greatly missed.


Arrangements by Bunker’s Garden Chapel, www.bunkerfuneral.com. Should this obituary appear anywhere but bunkerfuneral.com, please check our website for accurate details and service information.


  • Cindy Gaines Kyttle

    He will be greatly missed as he was very loved by his Virginia family who looked forward yearly for the visit of Grandpa and Grandma Gaines. So many memories ALL of which are great are and will be shared with grandkids and great grandkids along with his amazing life and accomplishments. I can hear him responding Fair to middlen as we hugged him with every visit. I Thank God for every minute spent with him/them and loving his stories. The great things described above about his amazing life are seen in his kids and grandchildren, many of them are following some of his love of law, community service and adventure. The one thing we ALL know is how much he loved his wife Linda and their family, I picture him holding baby Landen, and chatting with my Mom and Dad. Rest in peace Bill, you will be forever loved by all of us here in Virginia.

  • Juanita (Gaines) Shannon

    So much could be said about William Franklin (Bill) Gaines. He was my little brother – born 2 years and 6 days behind me. He could be annoying as is the requirement of little brothers apparently. I was bossy and he refused to be bossed… imagine that! He definitely was a brat sometimes. But mostly, he had a mind of his own and was independent. He wasn’t much more than a kid when he served in Viet Nam. He was a man when he returned. I was proud who he was as an adult. He was a good man. His career was in law enforcement. He was a responsible and loving husband, father and a good citizen and patriotic. I love you little brother and miss you very much! We talked about our faith in Jesus Christ and I look forward to seeing you again in heaven!

  • I do not even know where to start.
    Bill was definitely a one of a kind individual. I first met Bill when I came back from Asia in 1969, he had become part of the family. He joined the Sheriff’s Office in 1969. The summer of 1969 I got out of the service and later settled in Gilbert, AZ. On several weekends I went on civilian ride-a-longs with Bill during his shift at MCSO; that was an experience and stories of their own. It was the end of 1969 when Bill suggested that I also join the Sheriff’s Office family, which I did in February 1970, which was the start of a very long and valued friendship. Bill and I served together on Lake Patrol in 1971 and 1972. You could always count on him to have your back.
    My late wife, Janice, and our daughters, Diana and Melissa, adored Bill, his love, humor and wit. We will always treasure the good times, the fun times, and even the bad times. All those shared family holidays, family barbecues, family birthdays, office and squad parties and barbecues. I could go on forever. Although he may have not vocalized it often, Bill loved his boys, Bill Jr., Michael, and Scott. I do not think there was ever a time I was with Bill that he did not mention one or all of his boy’s in some manner. I missed all those good times since leaving Arizona 18 years ago.
    Enough of the ramblings of an 80 year old man. We will always be family Bill.
    Big Bill, it is “last call”, we will hoist another together soon. You are loved and missed by all of us left behind. You will always be loved and never forgotten; in our hearts and in our prayers. Your memories will live on with us forever.
    Rest in peace my brother.

Add Condolence

Call Now Button
We remain family owned, unlike our competitors. Click to learn more.