James Wilson “Bill” Snipes, age 92, of Vestavia, Alabama passed away on April 8, 2018. He was predeceased by his wife, Lillian Shermer Snipes. He is survived by his brother, Wade Snipes of Virginia Beach, Virginia, daughters Betsy Snipes of Beaverdam, Virginia and Lila Slappey (Dr. Carter) of Birmingham; grandchildren Kristina Raney, Meredith Slappey Halcomb (Kevin), Adrienne Slappey Moore (Bill) and Carter Slappey, Jr (Brittany); 6 great grandchildren, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Bill grew up in Marion, South Carolina. He graduated from Marion High School and then attended Clemson College for one year. He left college to join the United States Marines just before his 18th birthday so he could serve in World War II. He trained as a radar operator for the Marines, before being assigned to the South Pacific. Bill was stationed on New Caledonia, Guadalcanal and Angaur where he directed antiaircraft guns to fire on enemy planes. Bill was on Guam training to invade Japan when the surrender occurred. After the war ended, Bill was sent to China to help with the removal of the occupying Japanese forces. His service in the Marines ended in March of 1946. He was 20 years old.
After World War II, Bill returned to Clemson College, graduating in 1949 with a degree in mathematics. While at Clemson, Bill was the business manager of the student newspaper, THE TIGER. He also wrote several feature articles for the paper.
Bill worked for two South Carolina newspapers the Greenville-News-Piedmont and the Marion Star after college graduation. Bill’s next job was as a management trainee for McLean Trucking Company in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The company required their managers to learn to drive an 18-wheeler, spend several months driving the east coast, work in the warehouse and operate a fork lift. He later was a terminal manager in Danville, Virginia and Fayetteville, North Carolina.
While living in Winston-Salem, Bill needed to have his wisdom teeth removed. He met Lillian Shermer, who worked for the dentist. Bill and Lillian were married on the television show, BRIDE AND GROOM, in New York City. They received lots of gifts from the show, as well as, a honeymoon trip to Niagara Falls.
Bill took a job as a Cost Estimator with Sonoco Products Company in Hartsville, South Carolina in 1953. While living in Hartsville, Bill and Lillian had two daughters, Betsy and Lila. In 1960, Bill was transferred to Atlanta, where he was the Assistant Plant Manager. In 1964, he was transferred to the Rockton, Illinois location as Plant Manager. Bill’s next position was with Textile Paper Products in Cedartown, Georgia, but a merger with another company left him without a job. He was able to find a job with HON Industries as a Cost Accountant allowing him to stay in Cedartown, Georgia. Bill stayed with HON until he retired in 1989. While at HON, Bill completed his Master’s Degree in Business Administration and completed the Certified Public Accountant exam. He was also awarded the Max Stanley (founder of HON) award for “excellence and achievement”.
Bill traveled much of the United States during his years at HON. He developed a goal of running 3 miles in all 50 states. He had accumulated 38 states by retirement. Bill and Lillian were able to travel to the other states after retirement, allowing Bill to complete his goal.
Bill was an active member of his church everywhere he lived. He was the treasurer of the First United Methodist Church in Cedartown for 21 years. Bill and Lillian moved to Vestavia, Alabama in 1992. Lillian was ill for several years. Bill lovingly cared for her at home until she died. Bill became active in many areas at Mountain Chapel United Methodist Church after the move to Vestavia, Alabama. He was a participant in a Bible study group for over 20 years. He was a member of the Alabama Woodworkers Guild, making toys for Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. Bill was also a member of the Howlin’ Mad Smith Marine Corps League and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. In addition to his civic involvement, Bill was an avid gardener, a voracious reader and a lifelong learner. He stayed active working out with a personal trainer until a month before his death. He loved his family and set a wonderful example for them.
A private graveside service will be held. Memorials may be made to Mountain Chapel United Methodist Church, 2541 Rocky Ridge Road, Birmingham, AL 35243.