Bill earned B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from Tennessee State University, in Nashville, and a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (biological sciences and chemistry). He worked for Lilly Research Laboratories and Dow Chemical as a research scientist. He owned a cattle ranch near Princeton, Kansas. After being kicked and dragged around enough, he kissed the Kansas prairie goodbye and moved back to Tennessee. He now lives about thirty miles from Bolivar, Tennessee, the town where he was born and grew up.