He was 78. With his death, the world has lost a man with deep compassion for his family, church, country, and fellowman.
Bill was born on April 18, 1941 in Johnson City, TN, and lived his entire life in Tennessee, apart from time in active duty military service. His parents, N.M. Bays and Ada Bays, instilled the values that contributed to his success, which he passed along to his children: hard work, honesty, compassion, the value of family, caring for the underserved, and most importantly, a deep faith in God. His athletic participation in high school and college along with time spent serving his country deeply impacted his perspective on life, also leaving him with many lifelong friends.
In college Bill studied history, and while he never used his degree professionally, he retained a deep interest in both history and politics throughout his life. After graduating from East Tennessee State University, Bill joined his father in the family business, Bays Electronics.
Bill remained active in business for more than fifty years, expanding Bays Electronics—now in business for 73 years and known as Bays Media—and partnering with his father in the development of houses, apartment communities, and commercial real estate. He developed and maintained communities that provided many individuals with an environment to work, live, and enjoy time with family and friends.
Despite his numerous professional commitments, Bill was above all devoted to family, and a constant presence in their life. The death of his father in 1990 was particularly impactful, as they had a truly special relationship. He remained very close to his mother, whom he visited daily for both company and counsel, until her death in 2004. Bill cherished nightly family dinners, participating in the athletic and extracurricular events of his children, and engaging actively with his church. He was married to the love of his life, Pam, for 41 years. They delighted in each other’s company, and he frequently remarked how she was both a wonderful wife and mother. He also retained a special fondness for her cinnamon rolls.
As Bill’s health declined following his diagnosis with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), he most enjoyed spending time with Pam and his grandchildren. He often remarked how blessed both he and his family had been, and his five grandchildren were the apple of his eye.
As his physical strength deteriorated and communication became difficult, Bill continued to be deeply present in the lives of his family, frequently messaging to check in and provide advice and counsel. As a follower of Christ, in death he was liberated. He lived a long and honorable life. He was deeply loved, and will be missed.
Bill was preceded in death by his father, N.M. Bays; and his mother, Ada P. Bays. He is survived by his wife, Pamela; his son, Nathaniel M. Bays III and his wife, Erin Bays; his daughter, Mary Elizabeth and her husband, Nick Woodside; and his five grandchildren, Harper Bays, Carter Woodside, Wesley Woodside, Merritt Bays, and Lilliana Woodside. He is also survived by many other extended family members and special friends.
On Monday, August 5, from 5pm – 7pm, the family will hold visitation at First Christian Church in Johnson City, TN, followed by a service to celebrate Bill’s life at 7pm. A graveside service and burial will be held at 9:30am on Tuesday, August 6, at Monte Vista Memorial Park.
In place of flowers the family asks that memorial contributions be made to one of the following organizations, each of which retained a special meaning to Bill: The Well Ministry, P.O. Box 181, Johnson City, TN 37605; First Christian Church, 200 East Mountcastle Drive, Johnson City, TN 37601; Pleasant Beach Baptist Church Building Fund, 108 Pleasant Beach Road, Elizabethton, TN 37643; and Mountain View Baptist Church, 4005 Bristol Highway, Johnson City, TN 37601.
Memories and condolences may be made via www.morrisbaker.com.
Morris-Baker Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 2001 E. Oakland Avenue, Johnson City is serving the Bays family. (423) 282-1521