STERLING – William Clinton “Bill” Baird died Sunday, July 9, 2017.
He was born May 5, 1929, in Jefferson County, to Adam and Ethel Banta Baird. Bill graduated in 1946 from Sterling High School, and met and married the love his life, Millie. “Bill and Mill” celebrated 65 years of marriage on Sept. 30, 2016. Together, they enjoyed traveling, visiting all 50 states and 13 countries.
The most important things in Bill’s life were his family, church, and motorcycles. Bill was the American Motorcyclist Association’s Grand National Enduro Champion of the United States for 7 consecutive years (1962-1968). He was a member of the Rock River Riders Motorcycle Club for more than 50 years. He was on the Board of Trustees for the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) for 21 years, and was a founding member of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in Columbus, Ohio. Bill was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999, where his last winning motorcycle still is on display.
Bill was a proud citizen and supporter of the Sterling community. He was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church for the past 60 years. He volunteered at the Sauk Valley Food Bank for more than 15 years. In 2012, Sterling High School recognized him as a Distinguished Alumnus. He worked as a mechanist at Northwestern Steel and Wire Co. for 40 years. Bill also was an avid supporter of the Boy Scouts of America. He was awarded the prestigious Silver Beaver Award and participated in several National Boy Scout Jamborees.
Bill is survived by his wife, Millie; his three children, Deborah Garrett (Dave) of Little Rock, Arkansas, Lou Ann Baird-Klaes (Mike) of Atlanta, and William C. Baird (Nancy) of Houston,; five grandchildren, Gabriella Klaes and Alexandria Klaes of Atlanta, Georgia, William C. Baird (Fabiola) of Houston, Collin Baird of Fort Worth, Texas, and Olivia Baird of Houston; great-grandson, Liam Baird of Houston; his brother, Arthur (Pat) Baird; sisters Dorothy Piercy and Margaret Ann (Norris) Heard; and many, many friends.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents and grandparents.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at McDonald Funeral Home, 1002 12th Ave., Rock Falls. Visitation also will be from 10 to 10:45 a.m. Saturday, followed by the funeral at 11 a.m. Saturday, at Trinity United Methodist Church in Sterling. Private family burial will be at Oak Knoll Memorial Park in Sterling.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial will be established.