William “Bill” Chesley Vanderbilt, of Genoa-Central, Arkansas, beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle and brother passed away at age 84, after complications from surgery. Mr. Vanderbilt was a veteran of the United States Air Force, who served at USAF Alconbury in Huntingdon, England. It was there that Mr. Vanderbilt wed Miss Patsy Lurry, also of Genoa-Central, Arkansas, in 1961. Mr. Vanderbilt went on to work as a manager at Texas Instruments in Dallas, Texas for 41 years before retiring to his childhood community in 2000.
Mr. Vanderbilt was an authentic product of the rural southwest Arkansas of the 1930s and 40s, who grew up clearing woodlands to make room for garden plots and cattle pasture, and enjoyed hunting and fishing in the many local rivers and lakes with which he was so familiar. He was also a noted athlete who excelled at basketball and had an abiding love for the Genoa-Central Dragons. It was with great pleasure that he returned to the family farm after his retirement to renew many old and dear lifelong friendships.
Mr. Vanderbilt was greatly admired for his great sense of humor, his upbeat outlook and his great facility with language. No one could tell a story quite like him. His marvelous ghost stories told by the light of campfire delighted generations of nieces, nephews, children and grandchildren. And his anecdotes of youthful misadventures in the rural South of his childhood, including a rare encounter with a local panther, are the stuff of family legend.
Vanderbilt was also much loved and appreciated by his many friends and coworkers at Texas Instruments who lovingly referred to him as an SOB: Sweet Old Bill. Many happy summer weekends were spent with family and friends at Lake Texoma, or other regional parks and campgrounds. For many years, an annual summer retreat to Cowhide Cove on Lake Greeson was a treasured time for bringing the extended family together to share in the beauty and joy of the outdoors.
Vanderbilt was preceded in death by his parents Chesley Paul (Cubby) and Inez Griffith Vanderbilt of Genoa-Central, and his younger sister Betty Kay Vanderbilt Long of Redwater, Texas.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Pasty Lurry Vanderbilt of Genoa-Central, Arkansas; and his son William C. Vanderbilt II and daughter-in-law, Diane Boyd Vanderbilt, of Dallas; and son, Brad Avery Vanderbilt of Genoa-Central. He’s also survived by his brother Avery Vanderbilt and sister-in-law Juanice Rushing Vanderbilt, of Fouke, Arkansas; brother- and sister-in-law, Lantz Lurry, Jr. and Diane Lurry of Texarkana, Arkansas; brother-in-law, Raymond Long of Redwater, Texas; and grandchildren Caitlin Elyse Vanderbilt of Boston, Massachusetts, William C. Vanderbilt III of Dallas, and granddaughter-in-law Kelsey Aubry Vanderbilt. He is also survived by numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, as well as many cherished friends from his childhood and professional life.
Mr. Vanderbilt will be cremated under the direction of Texarkana Funeral Home, Arkansas.
In consideration of the current health crisis, memorial services will be postponed to a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a donation be made to the Texarkana’s Harvest Regional Food Bank.
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