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Bill Childress, former WVPA executive director, died March 16 in Tennessee

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — William Floyd Childress of Oak Ridge died in the evening of March 16 at home with his loving family by his side.

Childress, 79 was a native of Beckley, W.Va. He was a life-long journalist, philosopher, conversationalist, photographer, reader and thinker. He married the love of his life and loved his family. His personality, heart and presence will be greatly missed. Since retiring, he became focused on the philosophy and study of world religions. He was an elder at St. Albans Presbyterian Church, W.Va., and became a devoted member of First Presbyterian Church, Oak Ridge. TN.

He was pre-deceased by his parents: Roy Chester Childress and Lillian Geraldine Hilbert Childress and his brother Jerry Ray Sutphin. He is survived his loving wife Mary M. Childress, sister Patty Anne Perdue, sister in law Barbara Sutphin: Children Scott T. Childress, Knoxville, TN; daughter, Traci Childress, Durham, NC; stepson, John McKinney, Oak Ridge, TN; daughters-in-law Linda Childress, Elizabeth Chandler, and Indra Persaud, his five grandchildren William, Max, Jiu Bei, Miranda and Madison, and niece Renee.

A 1955 graduate of Shady Spring High School, Beaver, W.Va., he went on to study at Yale University Institute of Far Eastern Languages, University of Maryland, University of California, Berkeley, and East Tennessee State College. He was a 1967 graduate of the University of Tennessee Knoxville, BS Communications.

Professionally he was the quintessential newspaper-man. He began his career as a reporter, photographer and Sunday editor at the Kingsport Times. Soon after he joined the copy desk at the Knoxville Journal, where he eventually became Editor and Publisher. He spent his last 20 work years as the Executive Director West Virginia Press Association and WVPA Foundation, and manager, West Virginia Press Services.

He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, serving in Japan, South Korea and the Philippines. As well, he was a commercial pilot, past president Optimist Club of Knoxville, and a past member, Tennessee Appellate Court Nominating Commission.

A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church, Oak Ridge. TN, 11 A.M. Saturday March 25, 2017. In lieu of flowers the family requests that you make a donation to the charity of your choice in his name. –

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