The Obit For Bill Letchworth

William Letchworth

Published in the TC Palm on June 3, 2012

William A. 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 in 1943.

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 engineer.

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.