The Catawba Valley lost a sports broadcasting legend Sunday. Bill Bass, a longtime public address announcer in Catawba County, died Sunday at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem after a short-term battle with an illness. He was 79.
“He was a Southern gentleman at heart,” Dr. Carl Starnes said. “He never had a bad thing to say about anybody. There was nobody that didn’t like Bill. It was always a pleasure, interesting, and kind of like being with an older brother or uncle...It’s going to be tough, but it’s something we’ve got to live with.”
Starnes worked with Bass since 1994 in press boxes across the county. Bass announced football games at Lenoir-Rhyne from 1951 to 2005, Hickory High from 1952 to 2008, the Hickory Rebels baseball team in the 1950s, and Hickory High and American Legion Post 48 baseball since the mid-90s.
In 2005, health issues forced Bass out of the press box at Hickory’s baseball games. He never missed a football game.
“That was his life,” Starnes said. “He was so happy to do baseball, and he really wanted to do football this year.”
Bass wanted to announce the Red Tornadoes’ football opening home game Sept. 17 against North Lincoln.