Person of the Month: William M. “Bill” Ledbetter

Bill Ledbetter comes from a very military-supportive family. “My great-great-grandfather Ledbetter fought in the Civil War before coming to Conway. Both my parents served in World War I – he as a second lieutenant and she as a Red Cross/Army nurse. My father also served in World War II as a captain and company commander in Alaska. Both of my brothers also served in WWII. My brother, Edwin, was a pilot and was shot down and taken prisoner for many months. It was very natural for me to join the Air Force with several of my friends during our senior year in high school,” Ledbetter said. At age 93, he won $100 for being the oldest veteran at the Julie’s Sweet Shoppe annual Veterans Day celebration (Mike Kemp photo).

City: Conway.

Work: Retired salesman, mostly life insurance. Much of my time was spent with Arkansas National Guard activities.

Military service:  I joined the Air Force in 1944. After training in Texas and South Dakota, I was shipped to Okinawa and worked there as a tower operator. While in college, I married Clara and joined the Arkansas National Guard as a sergeant first class.  Through the years, I attended many camps and special schools for officers. My last school qualified me for general. I retired at age 60 as a lieutenant colonel. The positions I especially enjoyed were company commander, parade adjutant, provost marshal and recruiting and retention officer.  

Church activities: Member of First United Methodist Church in Conway all my life.  I attended the Dorothy Robins Light Class (Sunday School) many years. 

Family: Wife of 67 years, Clara Fay Ledbetter; children William Ledbetter Jr., Diane Ledbetter, Lauralee Ledbetter, Karen Taylor and adopted grandchildren Alice (Matt) West, April (Justin) Blackburn and Daniel (Anna) Ledbetter; other grandchildren Corey Ledbetter, Dr. Amy Taylor and Laini Taylor; and great-grandson Warner Ledbetter.

Education: Attended Conway Public Schools and graduated from Arkansas State Teachers College (now the University of Central Arkansas); played football for both.

Most cherished possession: My wife, Clara.

Most enjoyed weekend activity: Attending and/or watching ballgames, especially football.

Favorite quote: “I shall return!” — Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

Favorite place in Arkansas: I have loved living in Conway all my life. It is wonderful being with lifelong friends and family. I also enjoy attending the races in Hot Springs.

What do you love about living in the 501: Conway is a progressive city with excellent city leaders, excellent schools, three colleges enriching our town, many active churches and moderate weather. Services for people are excellent and often very enjoyable. Friends and relatives are here.