Bill took most pleasure in mentoring others, and made an indelible, positive impact on all of those whom he took under his wing. As a partner in a venture capital firm, Clayton and Associates, where his responsibilities included identifying prospective companies, negotiating equity investments, conducting due diligence and monitoring ongoing operations as a director or advisor, he demonstrated his mentorship and coaching style. Bill was also a former CEO of a company, NASCO, that manufactured and sold diverse products that included household items, sports outerwear and generic drugs.
On December 22, 2018, Bill passed peacefully to be with the Lord. There are lots of words that can be and will be said about Bill. I’m not even sure any of my words could begin to describe him or the impact he had on me and many of the people he considered friends. Even those who only met him in a passing meeting have commented on the positive impression he left on them. The world is a better place because of Bill. I think I am a better person because of Bill.
CAPSTONE was founded out of his desire to assist, to help business owners grow their businesses and exit them in the most advantageous manner. It was initiated with his principles to be true to integrity and to establish and maintain positive relationships. I trust we will continue to keep his attitudes in mind as we carry his flag of integrity and relationships.
The following are excerpts from Bill’s obituary:
Bill was born on July 7, 1935 in Dyersburg, Tennessee to Kathryn L. Eskridge and Fred H. Cook. Bill graduated from Dyersburg High School in 1953 and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1957 from the University of Tennessee at Martin, where he played football. Bill was a star athlete in high school and college. He was voted “best blocking back” in the Triple A Division while at Dyersburg High School and elected Carnicus King at UT Martin based on his athletic prowess. As part of the Carnicus Exhibition, he thrilled the crowd by walking up a ladder on his hands.
His plans to be a farmer changed when he was recruited by Southwestern Company to sell Bibles, where he discovered a knack for sales. Bill was an outstanding businessman and was President and CEO of Nasco, Inc. when he moved the plant to Springfield, Tennessee in 1965. Under his leadership, the company soon became one of the leading school fundraising corporations in the nation and the largest manufacturer of school bags and jackets in the country. Nasco employed more than 400 people at its home plant in Springfield and more than 500 managers and sales representatives nationwide. Nasco was one of the few companies to hold an NFL product license and also held product licenses with the NBA, MLB and the NHL.