The Griffin and indeed many areas of Georgia were saddened on Monday to hear of the passing of a Griffin Icon Bill Haisten. Bill was perhaps the biggest supporter of his beloved Griffin Bears, of Griffin High for years he worked with WKEUs Ted Taylor, and Tony Broski with his selections of the game of the week on our pre-game show of our Griffin Bears broadcast.
It was my privilege to have known Bill since I was 5 years old as a friend and neighbor in the early 1950s and until today. Bills selections of the game of the week were phenomenal. His success rate was amazing to us all. I fondly remember when Bill was at the station during football season and several of us were sitting with Bill in the Lobby and I remembered I had not called the Coach at Lowdens County in Valdosta to get permission to broadcast the game. I said I wonder what the coach’s number is and Bill without hesitation said 912-and the rest of the number which was correct. When I talked with the coach he said be sure and tell Bill Haisten hello for me.
He had a phenomenal memory and could recall action in many games played years before when we were students.
Bill was known throughout the State in sports circles.
The Griffin Spalding School System gave Bill the highest honor he said he ever received when they named the Football Field at Memorial Stadium “Bill Haisten Field.”
He was one of the largest supporters of youth events in Spalding County. He always was present to waive or say goodbye to those 6th grade Junior Deputies that were taking the annual trip to Washington DC.
He was a friend to many. Even when he fell into ill health he would call the station about sports evens. Or just chat a while. Bobby Chapell of WHIE was a great friend to Bill. And Bill would call as an active participant on the Lets Talk Sports program on Thursdays at 5:30.
Bill was one of those very rare individuals that never saw color in a friend or fellowman, he just saw another of God’s creatures with no reservations but innocence of great respect.
The hearts and prayers of our staff at WKEU and indeed my family got out to the Haisten family. The one standard I always had in my life was my dear friend Bill. When my twin grand boys were born I was in the room with Pam at the Hospital, she had just returned to the room she got a call thanked the caller looked at me and said Dad who’s Bill Haisten? He was so nice and said how happy he was about the boys and every one was healthy. Pam just learned the value of a dear friend and met Bill several times. Bill watched the career of my twin grand boys when they were in High School and playing for Gwinnett County.
Several times he would call me when I was on active duty during my career in the Army. Once at the pentagon, how he got my number I have no idea, but I was so happy to hear from my dear friend. He even called me when I graduated Officer Candidate School, to congratulate me for the appointment to 2nd Lieutenant. There are those that you meet in life that may call you a friend. But to Bill Haistne you were his dear friend, and I felt the same. I have lost a Friend of a life time.
I will see you soon my friend we have a lot to talk about.
Funeral Servicers will be announced later by Haisten-McCullough Funeral Home