May 31, 1928
College Station, Texas
Resided in: College Station, Texas
William (Bill) Bradford Lancaster passed away on October 28, 2022. Bill was born at home on May 31, 1928 in College Station, Texas to Helen Erma Douglass Lancaster and Robert Roy Lancaster. He was raised and spent almost his entire life at 303 Dexter Drive. Bill attended Texas A&M University as a member of the class of 1949 and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in business. Bill and Mary met on a blind date in 1952, were married in January 1953 and were married for 62 years. Bill and Mary raised their three children, Laura, Nancy, and Brad in College Station, Texas.
Bill often described an idyllic childhood growing up with his four siblings in the shadow of Texas A&M. If you had a question about the history of Texas A&M or College Station, Bill was the man to ask. In high school, he played football, was on the cheer squad and obtained his pilot’s license. He became an avid runner in mid-life completing several marathons. Bill had a fondness for nicknames, loved his family, cooking, and classic cars. He was a handyman extraordinaire and could build or fix anything and often did.
Bill was a true servant leader and served others in many ways throughout his life. He served on the College Station ISD School Board, Community Chest, United Way, Lions Club, the College Station Historical Committee, and was an avid blood donor. Bill and Mary owned The Spinning Wheel, a knitting shop in Bryan for a few years. Bill could knit and crochet like a pro and he still had a sweater he knitted himself. Bill and Mary ran Lancaster Place, a boarding house in their home for over 40 years. “Ma and Pa” were surrogate parents and grandparents to countless Aggies who lived in their rental property, ate their meals, or came to visit residents and family during their time in Aggieland. Because Bill and Mary lived in the Lancaster family home, the extended Lancaster family celebrated many holidays at their table and before or after football games. As a member of First Baptist Church, College Station for 65 years, Bill held a variety of roles including deacon, treasurer, Wednesday night supper organizer and special events cook, youth sponsor, choir member, and likely a member of each and every church committee.
Bill spent most of his professional life as an employee of the Texas A&M University System. He was Chief Clerk with the Texas Engineering Experiment Station 1954-1956, District Manager for the American Coin Meter Corporation (St. Louis, MO) 1956-1958, Auditor for the Agricultural Experiment Station 1958-1963, Assistant Director and Business Manager of the Memorial Student Center 1963-1969, and then Payroll Services Manager for the A&M system until his retirement in 1985. He will be remembered as a loving husband, father, friend and “Pa” to many.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents Helen Erma Douglass Lancaster and Robert Roy Lancaster, his wife Mary Laverne Whiteside Lancaster, and his siblings Doug (Harriet) Lancaster, Cynthia Lancaster Cooper (Rex), Jim (Rose) Lancaster, and John (Nezzie) Lancaster. Bill is survived by his children Laura Lancaster Arth of College Station, Nancy Lancaster Smith (Ted Smith) of Wichita Falls, Brad Lancaster (Karen) of College Station, grandchildren Ann Carolyn Arth Williams (Ben), Ted Smith III, Stacey Smith Yezek (Brent), Amy Smith Berry (Blayne), Julia Lancaster Crane (Mitchell), Will Lancaster II (Madison), and great-grandchildren Reid Williams, Davis Williams, Mae Williams, Jude Berry, Everett Berry, Olivia Berry, Grayson Berry, Seger Yezek and Sutton Yezek, and many nieces and nephews.
Services to celebrate Bill’s life will be held on Friday, November 4, 2022. A graveside service will be held at 2:00 pm at the College Station Cemetery. A memorial service will be held at 3:00 pm at the First Baptist Church of College Station. Immediately following, all are invited to a visitation with the family in the fellowship hall. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to First Baptist Church College Station.
The family would like to thank the staff at The Parc at Traditions and Enhabit Home Health & Hospice for their outstanding care and support.
Graveside Service: November 4, 2022 2:00 pm
College Station City Cemetery
2530 Texas Ave S
College Station, TX 77840
Funeral Service: November 4, 2022 3:00 pm
First Baptist Church - College Station
2300 Welsh Avenue
College Station, Texas 77845
A wealth of city of College Station history and an amazing man have passed.
It was Bill Lancaster and Colleen Risinger, members of the City of College Station Historic Preservation Committee, who taught me everything there was to know about Project HOLD and Laserfiche. I felt as though I had just paid 25¢ to whitewash a fence. I was hooked and never looked back. Bill was a constant source of historical information as was his sweet wife Mary. I knew that when the time came and we lost them both, an entire library of city history would be lost. They were always so very helpful in answering my numerous questions and helping me to archive the city history. Their contributions to this community are immeasurable. I am deeply saddened to hear of Bill’s passing. My most sincere condolences go out to his family.
I have included two photos of Bill and Mary standing next to the “Brides of the Brazos” exhibit cases. Mary’s wedding dress is in the case. College Station Conference Center, 2006.
Bill was a legend in this community. We attended the same church years ago and I have happy memories of him and his family. I’m sure great stories will be told about him for many years. My prayers and thoughts are with all of them. He left a wonderful legacy. God bless you all.