Bill Bacon was born on Nov. 9, 1934, and died Wednesda,y Dec. 11, 2013.
He was a native of Bradley County. He was a student at Bradley Central High School during the school years 1948-49 through 1951-52.
As a three-sport varsity athlete, he earned eight letters while a participant in the school’s football, basketball and baseball programs.
He received the 1952 Horner Trophy, an award given annually to honor BCHS Best Athlete. He was also selected as “Most Athletic” by graduating classmates, and for National Honor Society membership by BCHS faculty.
He was a three-season starter on both sides for the Wendall Sullivan coached 1949, 1950, and 1951 football Bears. He played at linebacker and halfback on defense, and at blocking back and running back on offense; and was elected the team alternate captain for the 1951 season. The season was highlighted by a shutout victory over Spring City, ending a 25- game winning streak that had spanned three seasons. He played centerfield for the Sullivan-coached baseball Bears during the 1951 and 1952 seasons.
A basketball reserve in 1949 and 1950, he was a starter at guard for Clifton Smith’s 1951-52 Bear championship team that won district and regional titles and beat Knoxville East to capture third place in the State Championship Tournament. He was named to the All-Tournament team for his play in the district tournament.
He was a 1956 Carson-Newman College mathematics graduate who entered C-N as a sophomore transfer student from Vanderbilt University.
At Vanderbilt, he played football as a regular on the freshman squad and as a reserve on the varsity team.
While at C-N, he was known as a power runner and savvy defender who played both sides in the backfield as a starter for Coach Roy Harmon’s 1953, 1955 winning Eagle football teams. Named by teammates to co-captain the 1955 squad, he was also elected to the Blue Key National Honor Fraternity. Throughout his life, he actively supported C-N’s athletic programs and expansion projects.
The son of lifetime Bradley County residents Ben H. and Mamie E. Bacon, he was also the brother of the late Charles W. of Newport News, Va. and the late Paul H. Bacon of Cleveland. Both Charles and Paul were well known for their athletic achievements while at BCHS in the mid 1930s. He believed that their athletic precedents provided the model he wanted to follow as a teenager at BCHS. He also said that Paul, in particular, was truly a “Big Brother” in the best sense as he gave support and encouragement during those times.
Following active military service as a commissioned officer in the USNR, he joined the General Electric Company in 1958. During his GE career, he specialized in information systems and asset management. He was a principal in the start-up and ongoing operation of GE’s successful Information Services Business, and a member of the GE team that established the first commercial teleprocessing interconnection between the United States and Europe in the early 1970s. While employed by GE, he earned an master of business administration from Purdue University’s Krannert School of Business.
After 38 years of service with GE, he retired in 1997. He moved to Chapel Hill, N.C., to be near family in 2008.
He is survived by his wife, Gretchen Bacon of Raleigh, N.C.; his daughter, Elise Bacon of Santa Fe, N.M.; daughter, Karen Bacon Heltne and son-in-law, Christian Heltne; two grandchildren: Jonas and Adeline Susannah Heltne of Raleigh; and a loving family far and wide.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to: The William R. Bacon Hall of Fame Scholarship, Carson Newman College Advancement Office, C-N 27017, Jefferson City, TN 37760.
The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral Service, Inc., in Durham, N.C.
Online condolences may be made at www.clementsfuneralservice.com.