Mr. William Lawrence Eaton's life journey started on April 15, 1929, in the Birmingham area of Irondale, Alabama of Jefferson County, child of Mr. Benjamin Eaton and Mrs. Gertrude Woolen Eaton. They had three other children: Thelma Eaton, James Eaton and Clarence Eaton. Mr. Eaton had two other brothers: Nathaniel Davis and Mr. LaFrancis Davis, from his mother's second marriage after the death of Mr. Benjamin Eaton.
Mr. Eaton's early education was in Birmingham School System with Patterson Elementary School, Ullman Junior High School, and Parker High School; however, he moved to Greensboro, Alabama and graduated from high school at Hale County Training School in 1946.
His civil duty to this country placed him in the Air Force, where he also served during the Korean War as radio operator during 1950-1954. During this time, he was part of an early group of Air Force soldiers testing the B-52 aircraft, known as Stratofortress, which eventually was commissioned for usage by the USAF in 1955. He earned four medals while serving in the military: Good Conduct Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.
After leaving the military, Mr. Eaton continued his education by receiving his BS degree in Secondary Education in Math with a minor in Physical Education on May 17, 1957. He, then, went on to receive his MS degree with a concentration in Math Education on August 7, 1966. Both degrees are from Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama.
His teaching career started with EJ Lewis High School in Samson, Alabama from 1957-1960. He was the principal from 1959-1960. He later moved to Geneva County Training School (GCTS) from 1960-1967. He was head of the Math Department and started the boys basketball team and served as coach. The team won the state championship in 1967. After the closing of GCTS, Mr. Eaton moved to Slocomb High School to teach Algebra and Geometry from 1967-1969. In 1969, he joined the Mathematical teaching staff at Dothan High School, where he retired in 1983. In the last few years there, he was head of the Mathematics Department. During this time, he also served as a basketball and football referee of Dothan City School's athletic program.
After retirement, Mr. Eaton served as the owner and proprietor of The Breadhouse and Four Stop Lounge. He managed Four Stop for over 35 years, assisting many residents of the local community with loans, supplies, and an annual Christmas dinner for the public.
Outside of teaching, Mr. Eaton was very active with Improved Benevolent and Protective Order Elks of the World of Wiregrass Elks Lodge and Temple (I.B.P.O.E, part of the Alabama State Association of Elks. He served as the head of its Department of Education where he was responsible for the annual Oratorical contest, which allowed high school students to compete all the way from local to the national level for college scholarships. He was District VII Director of Education 1985-1986. He served as the Wiregrass Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler in 1986 and again in 2005. He also served on the Dothan City Planning Commission.
Mr. William L. Eaton was a member of the First Missionary Baptist Church in Dothan, Alabama. He was married to Mrs. Ida Mitchell Eaton just short of 60 years, from June 5, 1953 until her passing on May 27, 2013. They had four daughters: Marcia Lois Eaton, Thelma Bernice Eaton, Renée Lanette Eaton, and Donna Eileen Eaton.
He is survived by his children: Thelma Eaton Cole, Renée Eaton Baptiste, PhD (married to Bala James Baptiste, PhD), and Donna Eileen Eaton and his granddaughter: Elyce Gabrielle Cole.
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