William James Birkhead

May 23, 1939 - September 25, 2011

05/23/1939 - 09/25/2011

Past Services

Saturday October 01, 2011
3:00 pm - 6:00 pm
At the home of Marlene Birkhead

William J. Birkhead, 72, of Hendersonville passed away Sunday September 25, 2011 at Elizabeth House. He was a son of the late Theodore and Bernice Tress Birkhead.

Bill and his wife Marlene moved to Hendersonville to retire in July, 2004. Bill met Marlene when she was his nurse during an emergency appendectomy at St. Elizabethís Hospital in Lafayette, IN during the summer of 1958. They were married in 1961.

After completing his undergraduate at Purdue University in 1962, and his Masters of Business Administration at the University of Michigan in 1963, Bill embarked on an international business career with Exxon that took him to Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Eventually he retired from Exxon and completed his professional career as Vice President of Finance at Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA, where he retired in 2004.

Bill is survived by his wife Marlene; his three children Paul, Ellen and David; his childrenís spouses Todd and Cathy; his grandchildren Michael, Taylor, Jonathan, Zachary, Jessica, Olivia, Riley, Connor and Paige; and his sisters Ruth and Suzanne.

The Birkheadís will receive family and friends at their home on Saturday, October 1st, from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM for a Reception of Remembrance. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made Henderson County Big Brothers & Big Sisters, 722 5th Ave West, Hendersonville, NC 28739 (Tel: 828-693-8153).

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Arthur J. Bond
8 years ago

I met Bill on the first day of classes at Bremen High School. We were in the same homeroom throughout our four yearrs there. We always signed up for the same courses because he as the principal’s son knew the proper courses to take. He and his father introduced me to Purdue and engineering. In the fall of 1957 we entered Purdue together and the rest they say is history. You weree a beacon in my life. Rest in peace.

George Stoltz
8 years ago

I first met Bill in 1953 when we were both freshmen at Bremen Community High School, where his father was the principal. Bill and I both decided to run for class president that year and again in our senior year. As fate would have it, Bill suffered defeat,but only because he was the principal’s kid. I always knew I got lucky in those elections and that Bill really was the better man.

God speed Bill. You led a fine and exemplary life. Your family has much to be proud of.

sandra @ Etowahs k-9 Connection
8 years ago

My thoughts and prays are with you and your family.

Charles and Betty Westmoreland
8 years ago


We so sorry of Bill’s death. We know it has been a long, hard struggle that is finally over. We have always enjoyed being around Bill because of his positive attitude and good nature.

We are very sorry that we can not attend the Celebration but we are babysitting in Atlanta and will not be back in town until Monday.


Betty and Charlie

Bob Rupar
8 years ago

With loving memories and deepest sympathies.

8 years ago


Ted and Julie Bates
8 years ago

We are truly sorry for your loss. Bill was always entertaining, obviously intellectual, and more importantly, loved and valued family first. We didn’t spend a great deal of time with him in the past couple years, but the short time we knew him we remember fondly. Great family/friend times. Love to the family. Julie and Ted

Takeo & Yasuko Sakai
8 years ago

We have enjoyed various slide shows which he sent us through E-mail during last several years.

Bill encouraged me to use Microsoft power point for making slide shows by myself.

We will really miss him.

Bridgett Bouvier
8 years ago

Dear Marlene and family, I admired Bill and was fortunate to have know him. He had an uncanny way of seeing right through to the truth. I hope your amazing memories comfort you in this difficult time. Warm regards, Bridgett

Wendell Capes
8 years ago

I am a mediator at the Dispute

Settlement Center where Bill

also was a mediator. We all will miss him. We send our condolences to the family