Passed away on January 29, 2019
William Eugene (Bill) Garrison, aged 97, a preeminent radio and television broadcasting engineer, died peacefully at his home in Hendersonville, NC on January 29, 2019. Bill was born in Greenville, SC on April 17, 1921, the youngest of four sons of Arthur Lipscomb Garrison and Minnie Riddle Garrison. He was the last surviving member of his immediate family. He was a descendant of the Garrison and Riddle families of early Greenville County, SC including David Garrison, a Patriot of the American Revolution.
In his youth Bill was intensely interested in radio. He joined the staff of radio station WFBC in 1941 after passing the Federal Communications Commission’s license examinations.
In 1944 Bill enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving in radio and radar support assignments including training at the Naval Station Great Lakes and the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He was at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on V-J Day. He was awarded the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.
Following his discharge from the Navy in 1946, Bill returned to WFBC, where he was appointed Chief Engineer in 1947. That year he was instrumental in the construction of WFBC-FM, located on Paris Mountain near Greenville. When WFBC-TV, Channel 4, in Greenville (now known as WYFF-TV), started broadcasting in 1953, he was named Chief Engineer of the combined AM, FM, & TV operations.
In 1977 Bill was named Vice President, Engineering and Government Relations, of Multimedia Broadcasting Company, based in Greenville, SC. He was responsible for the development of state-of-the-art technical facilities at Multimedia-owned radio and television stations in several states. He was commended for forty-eight years of Outstanding Service to Multimedia Broadcasting and its predecessor companies when he retired in November 1989.
After retirement he served as a broadcasting consultant. In 1992 he managed the rebuilding of Sprint’s cellular towers in Homestead, Florida following the devastation of Hurricane Andrew. He was a Senior Member of The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He was a Member of the Engineering Advisory Committee of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). He was a Life Member of the Association of Federal Communications Commission Consulting Engineers (AFCCE), a professional society based in Washington, DC.
Over the years Bill enjoyed designing, constructing, and equipping his houses. He was a licensed Advanced Class amateur radio operator, with the call sign of W4JMM. He enjoyed travel for business, visiting with his family in different states, and gardening. He was a former member of Augusta Road Baptist Church in Greenville, SC.
Bill’s marriage to the late Dorothy Grace McWhite, the mother of his two children, ended in divorce. He was also predeceased by his second wife, Nancy Ward Hall. He was predeceased by a great-grandson. He is survived by his son, Carroll Eugene Garrison (Carolyn Wharton Garrison) of Warrenton, VA, and his daughter, Susan Janette Garrison, M.D., (Sylvan Schwartz, Jr.) of Houston, TX. His five grandchildren include Elizabeth Garrison Kubala, (Michael), Syracuse, NY; Amy Garrison Diaw (Mohammed), Springfield, VA; Mary Ann Garrison Heiskanen (Mikael), Broadlands, VA; Grant William Gerber, (Natalie), Katy, TX and Gwendolyn Leigh Parks (Wade), Houston, TX. He has seven great-grandchildren.
Bill will be greatly missed by his family, caregivers, and cats Simba and Smokey, his loving, constant companions. The family would also like to acknowledge and thank caregiver Debbie Hoots and her family, the late Jeremy R. Hughes, and the other caregivers who allowed him to live his final years in his own home with his cats.
Services will be held at Mackey Funerals and Cremations at Woodlawn Memorial Park & Century Drive, 1 Pine Knoll Drive, Greenville, SC, 29609 on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. Visitation at 11 am; Service at 12 pm; and Reception at 1 pm. Memorial donations may be made to Sandy Springs Baptist Church, 371 Sandy Springs Road, Pelzer, SC 29669, founded in 1832 by Bill’s great, great grandfather Edmund Barksdale Garrison.
- Visitation Tuesday, February 5, 2019
- Funeral Service Tuesday, February 5, 2019
- Reception Tuesday, February 5, 2019