Bill Terwilliger

Published 4:22 pm Friday, January 27, 2012

Roger William (Bill) Terwilliger died peacefully at home on Jan. 26, 2012. Bill was born March 30, 1918 in Rock County, Wisc. to Fay Leon Terwilliger and Stella Beggs Terwilliger. He graduated from DeKalb Township High School in DeKalb, Ill., received his baccalaureate from Northern Illinois University and his masters from The University of Wisconsin. Bill married Harriett Carlson on Dec. 24, 1942.
His two children, John Landis Terwilliger of Troy, Ohio and Cynthia Stell Terwilliger of Tryon; his daughter-in-law, Chris Terwilliger, and his grandsons, Matthew Landis Terwilliger and Luke William Terwilliger, both of Columbus, Ohio, survive him. He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, George Landis Terwilliger, and his sisters, Harriet Terwilliger Hunt and Mary Terwilliger Miller, all of DeKalb, Ill.
A 1936 graduate of DeKalb Township High School, Bill was an outstanding athlete, winning four letters in football and basketball and three in track. He was recognized for his achievements his junior and senior year by selection to 1st team All-NCIC in both football and basketball. His crowning achievement his senior year was winning the Illinois State Track Championship 100-yard dash in 9.8 seconds.
Bill had a brilliant collegiate athletic career at Northern Illinois State Teachers College (now Northern Illinois University). He won letters in track and basketball. He established records in the 100-yard, 220-yard and 44-yard dash and anchored the record-setting relay team. These records stood for more than 25 years, when the cinder track was moved to the metered all-weather track surface in 1966. In 1941 Bill played center on Northern’s Little Nineteen Conference Championship team.
He was inducted to the honorary AAU All American Track and Field Team in 1941 and 1942. Bill won the AAU National decathlon championship in 1942, a combined event in athletics consisting of ten track and field events held over two days. Traditionally, the winner is known at the nation’s best athlete.
In 1983, Bill was selected for the NIU Athletic Hall of Fame and was selected for the NIU All-Century Basketball Team in 2001. He was the oldest living member of the Hall of Fame.
Bill earned his private pilot’s license in 1940 and served during WWII in the Army Air Corp as a B-25 pilot and instructor. He was named outstanding cadet in his squadron. He served in the Air Force reserves and attained the rank of captain.
Terwilliger was the owner of Terwilliger’s Athletics, Inc., an athletic supply store in DeKalb, Ill. and also had gift shops on Mackinac Island, Mich. In 1973, he was one of the founding board members of the American National Bank of DeKalb. In 1974, Terwilliger received the NIU Alumni-Varsity Citizens Award for outstanding achievement in a profession or occupation other than the field of education.
Bill and Harriett retired to their farm in Hunting Country, Polk County in 1980. They spent summers on Mackinac Island, Mich. for more than 30 years until 2002. On Mackinac, Bill served on the board of Wawaskamo Golf Club, was active in the Mackinac Horseman’s Association, was a member of the Little Stone Church and was on the Mackinac Island Airport Commission.
Over the years Bill was active in the Carolina Carriage Club, FETA, Tryon Hounds, The Cotillion, The Golden Circle Club, Red Fox Country Club, Tryon Country Club and Meals on Wheels. He was a member of the Columbus United Methodist Church.
A memorial service will be held at the Columbus United Methodist Church at a future time to be announced. The family asks that memorials be made to Hospice of the Carolina Foothills or the Mackinac Island Horseman’s Association.
Condolences may be left at
Petty Funeral Home & Crematory, Landrum.

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