William Smith “Bill” Withers Sr., 86, passed away on Sunday December 8, 2019. He was born in Dallas on July 13, 1933, son of the late Mary Harris Smith and John S. Withers Sr.
Bill graduated from Dallas High School in 1952. He graduated from Belmont Abbey College in 1957 with two degrees, accounting and business administration. In 1954, while still in college, Bill was elected magistrate in Gaston County. At the time, he was the youngest, at 21 years old, to serve in the position. He was also one of the youngest Justice of the Peace’s to ever serve North Carolina, being nicknamed “the hanging judge.” Bill worked for the Town of Stanley as Town Clerk, Treasurer and Tax Collector from 1958 to 1974. The town voted him Man of the Year in 1966. He founded and co-owned Superior Ambulance Service in 1968. In 1959, he co-founded Stanley Civil Defense Rescue where he served as Chief since the beginning, a position that will cease upon his passing. This is an honor bestowed upon him by the squads’ members. Bill also helped organize several other local squads. He was a highly trained rescue instructor and a Red Cross First-Aid instructor. In the early 1960’s, he was named Civil Defense Director for the town of Stanley. He served as a past president of the Gaston County Ambulance and Rescue Association. Adding to his service to the Town of Stanley, Bill was elected Mayor and served multiple terms between 1977 and 1988. In the mid-1950’s, Bill and wife Frances began their accounting/tax preparation business, which is still in business today. In the late 1960’s, along with brothers Earl and Charles Withers, he began the Little Big Horn steakhouse in Dallas. In 1985, he and his family opened The WoodShed steakhouse in Stanley. In 1971, a local newspaper quoted Bill as saying “hard work pays off better than any form of gambling”. A belief he lived by and passed down to his family. Bill was a member of Stanley Masonic Lodge #713, 32 ½ degree Mason. He was a member of Community Baptist Church in Dallas. Despite all his hard work, he did have a few hobbies he enjoyed in his younger years, including bird hunting, skeet shooting, fishing and bowling.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years Frances Lineberger Withers, a son John V. Withers, daughter in law Donna S. Withers, siblings Sam Withers, Earl and Helen Withers, Mary Ellen and Reid Grahl, Jane Hoyle, Jean Withers and Sarah Faye Withers. He is survived by his children Bill Withers Jr. and wife Donita of Stanley, Jeana W. Neill of Stanley, Colin Withers and wife Renee of Stanley, 10 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren, a brother Charles A. Withers of Stanley.
A service to celebrate the life of Mr. Withers will be held 1:00pm Thursday, December 12, 2019 at Community Baptist Church in Dallas. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Gardens Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 11:00-1:00pm Thursday prior to the service at the church.
Memorials may be made to the Shriners Childrens Hospital, Stanley Rescue or to St. Jude’s
Jeffrey S. Painter Funeral Director Licensee of Mount Holly is serving the Withers family.
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