William (Bill) C. Gill, Jr, b. October 13, 1945, in Oklahoma City, OK, died quietly at home on February 4, 2024 after a battle with dementia, with his wife of forty years, Roberta (“Bobbie”) Gill, at his side.
He was preceded in death by his parents, William Curry Gill, Sr. and Virginia Ruth Beckstrom, and survived by his sister, Leslie Arno Shade of Cornville, AZ; his brother, James (“Jamey”) Howard (Carolyn) Gill of Tulsa, OK; a special life-long friend, Richard Martin of Montgomery, TX; several nephews, grand nieces and nephews; and extended family and friends.
Bill was a man of deep integrity, a quick wit and a rare mind. Bill had a hearing impairment that did not get corrected until he was five or six. After that he marveled at sounds the world made – refrigerators, sirens, and planes. The quiet world in which he first lived led him to develop ways to investigate things, to think for himself and to enjoy solitude. He had a clock and a compass in his head; he intuitively knew how to get somewhere and exactly what time he would arrive, even if he’d never been there. These skills came in handy in his 20s and 30s, when he sometimes covered 200-400 miles in three days on his weekend bicycle rides.
Bill graduated from Edison High School in Tulsa, OK in 1963. Here he excelled on the swim team, placing third in the State all three years. He was a member of Key Club and Knights Social Club. He attended Oklahoma State University for three years and was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
In 1966 he moved to New York City where he started his career in the book publishing industry as a mail runner at McGraw-Hill Publishing Company. He was quickly promoted and, due to his photographic memory, became the ad hoc information person, citing by heart the title, author, date of publication and International Standard Book Number of any book being managed by McGraw-Hill. After leaving McGraw-Hill, Bill worked with several publishing companies in sales, customer service and special projects. He relocated multiple times before settling in Tennessee in 1986 for Arcata Graphics.
Bill’s keen mind and perceptive problem-solving skills were useful in a number of jobs that involved special projects that needed to be handled outside standard practices. As the computer age evolved in the eighties, he taught himself programming. He worked with book publishers to connect corporate mainframes to individual personal computers, to generate special reports and to develop programs that provided customer quotations for book production. He retired in 2000.
In 1984 he met his future wife, Bobbie, in New York City. They quickly became a couple and married in 1986. They were inseparable ever since. Over their forty-year marriage they especially enjoyed finding treasures at flea markets and antique stores as well as exploring the United States by car and RV. Over the years Bill accumulated an impressive collection of instruments of measurement, including clocks, barometers, calculators, and slide rules. He had a deep love of all genres of music, except jazz, and enjoyed listening to a vast array of diverse songs in hours long music sessions with his wife.
The family will receive friends on Monday, February 12, 2024 from 5:00-8:00pm at Hamlett-Dobson Funeral Home, Kingsport. All are welcome to share thoughts and stories about Bill during this time.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Alzheimer’s Association, 8180 Greensboro Drive, Suite 400, McLean, VA 22102.