From SWVA Today 3/25/10
Bland Elementary School Principal Diana Tibbs waved to Bill Creggar
as he pulled his bus from the parking lot on Friday afternoon, March 12.
Earlier that day the two had shared a dish of macaroni which Creggar had
“That was the last time I saw Bill alive,” Tibbs said Monday morning. “He was an amazing person and this has been a great loss.”
William Moore “Bill” Creggar was found dead in his home around 6:30 p.m. that Friday. He apparently died of a heart attack at age 71.
“It was very shocking, very sudden,” said Penny Gray, who with her husband, Frankie, and children considered themselves Creggar’s family. “He was like a father, a brother and best friend. He was so loved by the community. The outpouring has been incredible.”
According to Gray, Creggar grew up in the Ceres community of Bland County, graduating in 1956 from Ceres High School. He was the assistant coach of the state champion runner-up basketball team in 1959, she said.
In a tribute to Creggar, Bekkie Peery noted Creggar attended Bethany United Methodist Church in Ceres. Creggar retired from the U.S. Army Reserves as a first sergeant after 32 years, she said.
Under the G.I. Bill, he attended Marion College and later Wytheville Community College to study business, according to Peery.
Also she pointed out, from 1956 to 1960, Creggar was employed as the time clerk for the Virginia State Highway Department. At that time, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves and continued his military career until 1992, Peery said.
An integral part of the Bland cannery, he helped many residents of Bland and Smyth counties for some 17 years, Gray said. Working with Jonan Repass, they shared canning skills, produce from their gardens and many hours of friendship, she commented.
According to his obituary, Creggar was a member of the Fraternal Order of Freemasons for 38 years and earned the Degree of Entered Apprentice in 1970, the Degree of Fellowship in 1971 and Degree of Master Mason in 1971. He served as Worshipful Master of the Bland Lodge in 1975 and was secretary of the Bland Lodge from 1979 to 2008.
As an employee of Bland County Schools for 35 years, Creggar worked as a bus driver, instructional aide, custodian/maintenance technician and tutorial aide for migrant children, Tibbs stated.
For 20 of those years, Tibbs had worked with Creggar. She was a teacher before becoming principal.
“He was highly intelligent, very professional, very caring,” Tibbs said. “He was brilliant in math and grammar. He had such rapport with the kids. He could reach the ones the other teachers couldn’t, especially sixth- and seventh-grade boys. The kids loved him. His death has left a big hole here.”
The Gray family also is reeling from the shock of Creggar’s death. Frankie Gray discovered the body when he went to Creggar’s home that Friday evening for apple butter.
“Apparently, Bill came home after finishing his bus route,” noted Penny Gray. “He sat down to watch the Virginia Tech game and died peacefully in his chair. Bland County has suffered a great loss.”
Wade Hall recalled first meeting Creggar in 2002. Hall had moved to Ceres from Northern Virginia.
“Bill came over and welcomed us to the neighborhood,” Hall said. “He furnished us with vegetables from his garden and honey from his bees and would never take a cent for it. He was a wonderful neighbor and a great Rook player. I used to lose to him all the time.”
Both were active members of the Ceres Alumni Association, which has established a memorial scholarship in Creggar’s name. Contributions may be sent to CAA, c/o Wade Hall, 224 Willow Springs Rd., Ceres, VA 24318.
“The scholarship will be awarded to a deserving senior at Bland High School,” Hall said.
As a memorial to Creggar, Bloomin’ Idiots Greenhouses made wooden plaques in the shape of a memorial ribbon for Creggar’s bus which was number 17. When other bus drivers asked for one, too, Helen Dodd made seven more and put them on the buses.