Published in the TC Palm on June 3, 2012
Letchworth, 86, of Sarasota, Fl. passed away at his home Sunday, May 20,
2012 after a courageous 22 year battle with cancer. He was born in Sebastian,
Fl. on October 13, 1925 to Rabun and Viola (Hall) Letchworth. He attended
schools in Indian River County, graduating from Vero Beach High School
After High School, Bill joined the Army Air Force in Miami Beach serving
in many US locations. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant and was a flight
After his discharge from the Air Force in 1946, Bill attended the University
of Florida in Gainesville and played on it's football team until breaking
his hand his freshman year.
Bill went on to attend Auburn University on a baseball scholarship in
1948 achieving numerous school records as their pitcher, many of which
stand today. He was named All SEC in 1951 and remains listed as having
the 3rd most "complete" games in Auburn history with nine (two
others have 10).
As Dad often said-"Back then when they said you are pitching today-it
meant you were pitching." They didn't have a set up man, reliever
or a closer-just him. His records may stand for a long time-given that
back in the day Auburn played 25 games a season.
Upon graduating from Auburn, Bill signed a contract with the Chicago White
Sox and was later traded to the Detroit Tigers. He remembered fondly the
day in Vero Beach pitching against some of baseball's greatest-LA Dodgers,
Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. He also pitched three times to Hank Aaron,
with 1 strike out. The side arm did the job! He said "Hank had the
fastest wrists he'd ever seen."
Bill was the owner of Letchworth Motors, the Oldsmobile dealership in
Vero Beach. He also owned the Hertz franchise and a Sinclair station in
Vero, MINK Electrical in Kansas City and had held various management positions
with General Cable Corp in Baltimore, Diebold Safes in Memphis and Jackson
Tubing in Cedar Springs, Ga.
Bill is survived by his wife of the first marriage, Joan Bailey of Vero
Beach, Fl., his wife of the second marriage Gayle Parrish of Mount Dora,
Fl. and his brother Wallace Letchworth of Sarasota, Fl. His children include
Linda Downey of Tallahassee, Fl; Charles Letchworth of Longwood, Fl.;
William Bailey of Milton, Ga.; Patricia Bailey of Bristol, Va; and Lane
Letchworth of Blue Springs, Mo. Grandchildren include Charles II and Kristen
Letchworth, both of Longwood, Fl.;Zachary and Savannah Bailey, both of
Milton, Ga.; Brady, Carson and Lily Letchworth all of Blue Springs, Mo.;
and Daltyn and Devyn Blackmore of Ashtabula, Oh. He was pre-deceased by
his sister Jane L. Pippin; brother Forrest Letchworth and a daughter,
Shayne L. Blackmore.
His will, strength and determination will always be remembered. The family
will have a private service in Sarasota at a later date.