WILLIAM LITTLE TANKERSLEY, III
July 14, 1948 – February 15, 2020
William Little Tankersley, III died at his home on February 15, 2020, following many years of living with post-polio syndrome. Bill was born in Greensboro on July 14, 1948, and was a polio survivor, having contracted the disease in 1953 at five years of age. He was a patient at the Central Carolina Convalescent Hospital from July 1953 until May 1954. Decades later he developed the post-polio symptoms that debilitated his body, but not his intelligence, his spirit, his wit, or his love of his family, friends, and life. Nor did it keep him from doing just about anything that he set his mind to do.
Left to cherish their memories of Bill are his wife, Melissa, and their children Tracey Kilgore (and her partner, Alan Mason); Will Tankersley (and his dog, Cowboy); and Shane Morris (and her husband, Troy); his sisters, Adele Holleman and Barbee Ham (and her husband, Dee); and several nieces and nephews. Bill’s grandchildren, Player and Cam Morris and Sam and Elizabeth Mason, will have their own memories of their Papa from their times at Badin Lake, the beach, and around the table-top model railroad town that appeared in a back bedroom at the house. Will will especially miss his father’s special role in his life as chauffeur, grill instructor, lunch buddy with the guys, and general guide to making one’s way through life. (Although Will thinks that Cowboy will probably be able to bark a little more.)
Bill graduated from Page High School in 1966 and from Furman University in 1969 with an accounting degree. After working as a field auditor for the IRS for two years in Greenville, South Carolina, Bill attended law school at the University of North Carolina, graduating in 1974. Among his law school honors were his memberships on the Law Review and the Order of the Coif and his receipt of the Walter D. Clark Scholastic Achievement Award.
In addition to his memberships in the American Bar Association and the North Carolina Bar Association, Bill was a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants (NCACPA), where he long served in many capacities, including on its board of directors, as committee chair and frequent speaker at its symposiums, and through near-continuous committee work. He was renowned for his teaching abilities at numerous continuing professional education seminars, winning eight outstanding discussion leader awards and the Raymond Raines Service Award. His two-volume seminar manual on partnership taxation remains the go-to treatise and teaching tool for NCACPA educational programs.
Bill was a shareholder in the firm of Carruthers & Roth in Greensboro, where he supported his partners, mentored new attorneys (effectively, if not always gently), and served a devoted following of clients (again, effectively, if not always gently). He retired from full time practice of business and tax law in early 1999, but continued to actively support the firm up until his death. While Bill’s professional colleagues and numerous clients will remember and miss his brilliant legal tax mind, his family and friends (and particularly his “lake family”) are likely to smile when they think about Bill’s avocations. He was an avid boater, having spent his childhood summers at High Rock Lake and later years at his family’s house on Badin Lake, where all were welcomed for food, drink, laughter, boat cruises, and fireworks on the 4th of July. Bill was serious about his boating and earned three sailing certifications from the Annapolis Sailing School in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. In addition to several vessels they had over the years at Badin Lake (some more seaworthy than others), Bill and Melissa enjoyed the boat on which they cruised the Intracoastal Waterway, the Outer Banks, and the Chesapeake Bay. The Tankersleys were no strangers to being on the water in the Florida Keys, the Caribbean, and the Mississippi River (from New Orleans to St. Paul). As we learn to live without Bill Tankersley among us, we will remember the love and the legacy that this husband, father, brother, grandfather, friend, colleague, and advisor has left behind.