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"Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime." It's hard to find anything that sums up the life of Bill Eggart any better than that, figuratively or literally. He was a great fisherman and a great teacher. He was an avid outdoorsman, spending countless hours fishing the rivers, bays, and offshore waters, or hunting the hardwood ridges, swamps, and gall-berry flats of Northwest Florida and South Alabama. He had few peers with a cast-net, fly-rod, or firearm. But he was an even better husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend and teacher. He was a great example for all those fortunate enough to have fallen under his guidance. Simply put, he was a great man. He will be missed beyond words. I don't know if there's hunting and fishing in heaven, but if there is, I'm sure he's shooting a covey-rise or throwing over a school of mullet right now. And carrying the mullet sack for him is his baby girl, Gardys.
William Rufus Eggart (88) was born July 30, 1924 in Freemanville, AL to Rufus Edward and Mary Ellen Eggart. The family moved to Pensacola, FL around 1926 and settled in East Pensacola Heights. He attended A. K. Suter Elementary and was a graduate of Pensacola High School, class of 1942. He served in the U. S. Army Air Corp as a top turret gunner and flight engineer on B-24 Liberators. In 1944 he met and fell in love with Alpha Mae Eubanks. The sixth time they ever saw each other was the day they were married, July 18, 1944. They were married for 68 years and blessed with 4 children. Upon discharge from the Service in 1945, he went to work at Pensacola Naval Air Station where he held many positions maintaining and inspecting aircraft until he retired in 1976 as an Inspector at the Naval Air Rework Facility, NARF. He passed peacefully last Thursday, February 28, 2013.
Bill loved the outdoors. He enjoyed all types of fishing and hunting, but his two favorites were throwing his cast-net for mullet and quail hunting. We all loved to hear his stories about the mullet, bream, snapper, and grouper he caught, and the quail, deer, doves, and squirrels he bagged. Even better, we loved his instruction and advice on how to better our own skills. The better we listened, the better we got!
He was also a huge baseball fan. In his younger days he was quite a ball player himself. He caught for East Pensacola Heights in the old County League and we loved hearing stories about the games and the talents of his teammates. He loved watching the Mickey Mantle led Yankees, and was also a big fan of Dale Murphy, Chipper Jones and the Atlanta Braves.
Another of his great loves was working with young people. He was a long-time member of Heights Baptist Church where he was a Deacon, Youth Sunday School teacher, and Director of the Royal Ambassadors (R.A.'s). He often took the RAs camping or mullet fishing. We've had many now grown men share with us what a great time they had camping, how he taught them to throw a cast-net, or of the values they learned in R.A.'s.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Rufus and Mary; his daughter, Gardys Louise Houck of Pensacola and his sisters, Mary (Sis) Froom, Betty Ann Cox of Pensacola and Winnie Hurley of Corpus Christi, TX.
He is survived by his wife, Alpha and 3 sons, Stephen Edward (Cheryl), Henry Eugene (Cheryl) and William David (Carol) all of Pace; 13 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great grandchildren; numerous nieces, nephews and countless friends.
Visitation will be held 5-7pm Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at Harper-Morris Memorial Chapel.
Services will be held 11:00am Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at Harper-Morris Memorial Chapel with Reverend Michael Mashburn officiating. Burial will follow at Bayview Memorial Park.
Active Pallbearers will be grandsons, Jason Wilson, Billy Eggart, Kirk Troil, Gene Eggart, Sam Eggart and Daniel Eggart.
Honorary Pallbearers will be Steve Rhodes, Ronnie Yaden, Tommy Simmons, Rusty Simmons, Burrell Nellums, Eric Troil, Daniel Wilson, George Rials and Brad McLaughlin.
Flowers will be accepted or donations may be made to Emerald Coast Hospice,
or a youth organization of your choice.
The family would like to extend a special thanks to all the kind and devoted employees at Emerald Coast Hospice and the staff at Broadview Assisted Living for their special care and kindness they bestowed upon Daddy in his final months.
Express your condolences in our guestbook at pnj.com/obits
HARPER-MORRIS MEMORIAL CHAPEL
2276 AIRPORT BLVD. PENSACOLA, FL 32504
Published in Pensacola News Journal on Mar. 5, 2013