— Bill Garrison, 91, Bantam, Conn., died Sunday, May 5, 2013, after a life of many adventures. Bill was born Jan. 4, 1922, in Kokomo, the son of Mark and Lucile Garrison.
He served in the Army Air Corps in World War II, first as a drill instructor at Jefferson Barracks, Miss., then later as a morale officer in a P-51 fighter unit in the Philippines.
After the war, Bill attended Ball State Teachers College in Indiana. There he met Ellen Higgs, of Brookville, and they were married in June 1950.
Bill taught American history in public schools in Kokomo and Bloomington and at Culver Military Academy. As a football coach at Central Junior High School, his team was undefeated for three seasons. In 1962, he led a group of students on a winter hike across Illinois, recreating the Revolutionary War expedition led by George Rogers Clark, a trip recorded in Life Magazine.
In 1967, he co-founded the John Dorr Nature Lab in Washington, Conn. In 1975, he founded the Connecticut Outdoor School, also in Washington. Later he was the farm manager for the estate of Mrs. John D. Rockefeller III in the Hudson River Valley before retiring to the Finger Lakes Region of New York. For the past few years, Bill and Ellen have lived in Bantam with their daughter, Jane Golding, and her husband, Gary Golding. Bill, a lifelong gardener, helped create the Bantam River Park.
Bill is survived by his wife of 63 years, Ellen Garrison. In addition to Jane and Gary, he is survived by five more children, Martha Garrison and husband Paul Monska, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Matt Garrison and wife Cathy Anderjack, Bath, N.Y., Kent Garrison and wife Francesca Crannell, Ithaca, N.Y., Will Garrison and wife Cindy Dickinson, Pittsfield, Mass., Martin Garrison and wife Beth Bedard, Springfield, Va. Bill is survived by 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Also surviving are his brother, Mark Garrison, and his sister, Gayle Maudlin.
He was predeceased by his sisters, Kay Watson and Rebecca Moss.
Calling will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Goldings’ home, 106 Old Forge Hollow Road, Bantam, Conn. Burial, with military honors, will be at Headquarters Cemetery on Headquarters Road, Milton, at 1:30 p.m. Friday, with reception at the Goldings’ home to follow.
Memorial contributions to support the maintenance of Bantam River Park can be made in care of the Borough of Bantam, P.O. Box 416, Bantam, CT 06750.
To send an online condolence to the family, visit www.rowefuneralhome.net.