Pearson Funeral Home
149 Breckenridge Lane
Louisville, KY 40207
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William McElroy "Bill" Tate

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William McElroy "Bill" Tate Obituary
Tate, William McElroy "Bill",

85, passed away August 25, 1914 with family by his side.

A noted business entrepreneur, he was founder and owner of Universal Uniforms Inc.

Bill was born in Frankfort, KY, to the late William and Maria Tate. The Tate family moved to Louisville in 1934 when his father became a founder and first president of Independence Life Insurance Company. He attended Kentucky Military Institute and later graduated from Choate School in Connecticut. Bill received a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University in 1951 and then served in the US Army Chemical Corps in the Korean War. In 1953 he joined DuPont Company in New Jersey; but returned to Louisville in 1954 after receiving a Fellowship at University of Louisville Speed School. He received his Masters degree in Chemical Engineering in June, 1955. The next day, he married Ellen Spalding of Louisville. After their wedding, he joined Louisville's Girdler Construction Co., a division of Chemetron Corporation, and spent 2 years in Kingston, Ontario as a design and start-up engineer. In 1958, he moved back to Louisville to work for his father-in-law (June Spalding) the owner of Spalding's Laundry and Dry Cleaners, where he later became President. He was active in local and national trade associations and was President of the Southeastern Textile Rental Association, in 1967.

In September 1979, Bill started his own company, Universal Uniforms and two years later, Universal Denim Services. In 1983, he was a Finalist for Louisville's Entrepreneur of the Year. In 1984, he was awarded the University of Louisville Alumni Entrepreneur Award. He also received local awards for restoration and landscaping of their historic buildings on South 7th Street in Louisville.

In 2000, he retired and sold his industrial uniform business to a national company and sold the start-up linen service business to his son-in-law.

Bill was a member of Louisville Country Club, River Valley Club, Wynn Stay Club, Rotary Club and Pendennis Club in Louisville as well as the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, FL and the Little Traverse Yacht Club and Harbor Point Golf Club in Harbor Springs, MI. He was an active sportsman who enjoyed croquet, sailing, hunting, backgammon, photography, golf, and scuba diving.

He was predeceased by his wife, Ellen Spalding Tate, in 1998, and is survived by his son, Dr. Peter Spalding Tate of Lexington KY; and his children, Gus, Mary Grace and June as well as his daughter, Lisa Tate Austin (Tom) and their children, Alexis and Tate, who live in Louisville. He is also survived by his brother, Tom Tate (Jane).

The family sends special thanks to all of the wonderful caregivers who have touched Bill's life over the last several years, especially those at the Sam Swope Care Center.

A private graveside service will be held at Cave Hill Cemetery. Visitation will be held at Pearson's, 149 Breckenridge Lane on Friday 4-7 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be sent to the Rotary Fund of Louisville 401 W. Main Street, Suite 810, Louisville, KY, 40202 or the .


Published in The Courier-Journal on Aug. 27, 2014
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