A soft-spoken, good-humored man affectionately known to roommates and others as Yazoo, he enjoyed many friendships in the class. He spent a lifetime in Yazoo City, where he went to high school before a year at the Lawrenceville School. At Princeton, where his father was in the Class of ’36, Bill majored in politics, lettered in football junior and senior years (“being responsible for no victories,” he said), and joined Cottage Club.
He went to law school at Mississippi and then practiced with his father and cousins (including future Gov. Haley Barbour) in Yazoo City until he became a federal judge in 1983. He was chief judge from 1989 to 1996 and oversaw construction of the federal courthouse in Jackson.
Bill pursued life with vigor. For years he was a Presbyterian deacon and elder. His passions were family, especially grandchildren, and friends, traveling, flying, hunting, hauling horses, and woodworking.
Bill is survived by his wife, Sherrie Kenworthy; children Margaret Fair Hurst, William III, and Charles; Sherrie’s children, Lauren Kenworthy and Forsyth Whittington; 15 grandchildren; and sister Genevieve. Stewart Fair, whom he met and married at Ole Miss, predeceased him.