William "Bill" Bacon


November 9, 1934 - December 11, 2013

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RALEIGH: Bill Bacon was born on November 9, 1934. A native of Bradley County, Tennessee, Bill was a student at Bradley Central High School (BHS) 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 BHS Best Athlete. Bill was also selected as “Most Athletic” by graduating classmates, and for National Honor Society membership by BHS faculty.

Bill was a three season starter on both sides for the Wendall Sullivan coached '49, '50, and '51 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. Bill played centerfield for the Sullivan coached baseball Bears during the '51 and '52 seasons.

A basketball reserve in '49 and '50, Bill was a starter at guard for Clifton Smith's 51-52 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.

Bill is a 1956 Carson-Newman College (C-N) 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, Bill was known as a power runner and savvy defender who played both sides in the backfield as a starter for Coach Roy Harmon's '53, '54, and '55 winning Eagle football teams. Named by teammates to co-captain the 1955 squad, Bill was also elected to the Blue Key National Honor Fraternity. Throughout his life, Bill actively supported C-N's athletic programs and expansion projects.

The son of lifetime Bradley County residents Ben H. and Mamie E. Bacon, Bill was also the brother of the late Charles W. of Newport News, VA and the late Paul H. Bacon of Cleveland, TN. Both Charles and Paul were well known for their athletic achievements while at BHS in the mid 1930s. Bill believed that their athletic precedents provided the model he wanted to follow as a teenager at BHS. 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, Bill joined the General Electric Company in 1958. During his GE career, Bill 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, Bill earned an MBA from Purdue University's Krannert School of Business.

After 38 years of service with GE, Bill retired in 1997. He moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to be near family in 2008. He is survived by his wife Gretchen Bacon of Raleigh, NC, his daughter Elise Bacon of Santa Fe, NM, daughter Karen Bacon Heltne and son-in-law Christian Heltne and 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.