Estes, William "Bill" Edwin III

Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel And Engineer With TVA

  • Thursday, February 2, 2023
William "Bill" Edwin Estes III
William "Bill" Edwin Estes III

William Edwin Estes III, known to all as “Bill”, passed from this life peacefully at his home in Hixson, Tennessee, in the early morning hours of Tuesday, January 31, 2023 at the age of 85.

Born to William E. “Pete” Estes Jr. and Jean McCoy Estes in his beloved hometown of Athens, Al., on September 26, 1937, Bill and his younger brother, Richard “Buzz” Estes, would enjoy all that growing up together in Athens in the 1940s-50s would offer, with Bill playing football and baseball at Athens High School along with playing clarinet in the band. He was also very active during these years in both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts and was awarded the Order of the Arrow badge and the Eagle Scout badge.

Bill continued his education at Vanderbilt University where he was a member of both the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and the band. He graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering in 1959 and then returned to Athens to manage the family HVAC business, “W.E. Estes & Son”, for the next ten years, during which time he also became scout master of Athens Troop 240.

Bill joined the Alabama Army National Guard as an enlisted man and would soon quickly embrace the comradery and discipline that the military afforded him. He attended Officer Candidate School, received his commission and served for the next 30 years, including time in Special Forces. He retired as a lieutenant colonel.

Bill continued working as a mechanical engineer in his civilian life for regional companies Worthington and Monsanto.

A bachelor to this point, Bill would meet and marry the love of his life, Mary Jane Chastain Feigley, on May 25, 1973, and begin family life with her and children, Chuck, Bill, and Susan Feigley. Their son Pete would arrive a year later. A lot of Bill’s free time would be spent either on the tennis courts or in his shop woodworking or tying flies. He was an avid fly fisherman, and he also had a great love for operas and classical music.

In 1974, Bill began his career at Tennessee Valley Authority in their nuclear engineering program in Knoxville, TN, and he would retire in 1996 from the Sequoyah plant in Chattanooga.

After the devastating loss of Mary Jane in 2000, Bill eventually embraced life again, enjoying many years of work as a consultant, traveling the globe, and, of course, spending as much time as humanly possible on the river fishing. He was a member of the Hixson United Methodist Church.

Without a doubt, Bill was a devoted son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, neighbor, and friend to many. He was one of the last of a generation of true men and will be deeply missed by all.

In addition to Mary Jane, he was preceded in death by his parents Pete and Jean Estes, and his brother Buzz Estes. He is survived by his sons Pete Estes (Meg), Chuck Feigley (Tiffany), Bill Feigley (Pat), and daughter Susan Bevill; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Graveside services will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 1:30 p.m. at the Chattanooga National Cemetery.

The family will receive friends on Tuesday, Feb. 7, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the funeral home.

Arrangements are entrusted to Lane Funeral Home 601 Ashland Terrace, Chattanooga, Tn. 37415,, 423 877-3524.

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