William H. (Bill) Speigner
Class of 1957
When Bill Speigner came to Truett-McConnell College in the late 1950’s, he had never seen the school before. He had grown up in the Atlanta area and had served a term of military service. Upon his discharge, he was eligible for Veterans Administration college benefits, and his VA counselor told him about a little college up in the mountains of Northeast Georgia that might be a good fit for him.
|Bill and Carol Speigner|
Upon the advice of his counselor, he enrolled in Truett-McConnell and graduated with his associate’s degree in June of 1957. For a time, he lived in Alabama, working as a carpenter, and then moved to Orlando, Florida, where he worked with commercial construction firms that built large buildings such as banks and schools.
Eventually the turns of his life led him to Laurel, Montana, where he lives currently. Laurel is a small town of about 6,000 people in eastern Montana located only a few miles from Billings. Laurel is located in a valley where the climate is more temperate than in some parts of Montana; the area receives some snow but not the deep, deep snows often recorded in the western part of the state.
Bill Speigner worked as a builder on commercial construction projects for 40 years after he left Truett-McConnell but is now retired from that type of work. He continues to work part-time for the local school system in Laurel as a school bus dispatcher, responsible for the schedules of 14 buses running to five schools. He records the time of departure and the time of return for each bus every day, and, when a bus has a mechanical problem, he dispatches a mechanic to the scene.
One of his jobs for years has been an interpreter for the deaf. He learned this skill out of necessity because his wife, Carol, is profoundly deaf, and he learned interpretation skills to communicate easily with her. His hobby is making miniature, doll house-sized furniture from wood scraps and other small wood-working projects.
Bill Speigner recalls one of his favorite experiences at TMC: “When I was at TMC on the old campus in town, there was a black people’s church nearby. A group of us would go on Saturday afternoon just visiting; sometimes Miss Mullis would go with us. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to teach a Sunday School class there occasionally. The church had preaching service only every fourth Sunday. I remember two men there in their 70’s who said they walked five miles every Sunday to church. Sometimes when we were singing, I would catch myself getting way ahead of them, and I would stop singing and wait until they caught up. We had a great time in the Lord.”
The Speigners issue an invitation for their friends to stop by to visit them in Laurel, Montana, when they travel through Big Sky Country. Bill wanted to attend the 50-year reunion of his class of 1957 (held in October 2007), but he was not able to work it out so he could come to Georgia. When he received his memory book from the class reunion, he says: “As I read the list of the ones in the class that have gone on to be with the Lord, I know that we will have a great class reunion when we all get home forever.”