Mayor William H. “Bill” Graham



The Honorable Mayor William H. “Bill” Graham, age 82, a lifelong resident of Scottsburg, Indiana, passed from this life to glory on Monday, March 25, 2024, at his residence, surrounded by his beloved family. He was born on June 19, 1941 to the late William E. Graham and the late Irene Vera (Rutherford) Graham. He was a 1959 graduate of Scottsburg High School and a lifelong member of Scottsburg United Methodist Church where over the years he served the choir, finance committee, and building committee. Affectionately known as “Mayor,”

Bill lived a life of service and dedication to the town that he loved with all his heart. Making his way through the Scottsburg school system, Bill learned to love and live and dedicate himself to the better good of the community, and he desired his life to be of service that would benefit his fellow citizens.

President Ronald Regan said, “Let us be sure that those who come after will say of us in our time, that in our time we did everything that could be done. We finished the race; we kept them free; we kept the faith.”

Bill not only loved his community, but he loved far beyond it, believing that every area should be blessed and made better through vision, hard work, and faith. He was a true public-servant entrepreneur.

Prior to running for the office of Mayor, Bill owned a mobile home and real estate business. Upon his election, he gave those businesses up to focus on being the best he could for his beloved Scottsburg. Bill served as Mayor of Scottsburg for eight terms, at one time making himself the longest serving mayor in Indiana. His involvement and leadership spanned decades and truly made a difference.

Bill served as a Councilman for eight years on the City of Scottsburg Common Council and five years on the Scottsburg Planning Commission: two years of which he was chairman. He started his first term as mayor in 1988. In addition to his local government participation, Mayor Bill provided support and actively participated in an economic development effort that involved not only his city, county, and region but all of Indiana as well.

His local board and committee involvement included the Greater Scott County Chamber of Commerce, where he was always an active member and a vital part of the efforts to unite the cities of Austin and Scottsburg Chambers.

Bill served as secretary of the Scott County Economic Development Board and as its chairman. He was instrumental in the formation of this board and worked tirelessly toward its creation.

He was an active member of the Greater Scott County Chamber of Commerce Education Committee, which was formed to develop a comprehensive, county-wide education plan. He also served as co- chairman of the Quality of Life Task Force, a committee started in 1993 through the Indiana Department of Commerce and Ball State University.

In 1991, The Greater Scott County Leadership Program was formed. Bill was a board member on the steering committee that developed and trained individuals in leadership principles. Bill’s love for Scottsburg led him to create The Scottsburg Mayor’s Beautification Committee. He formed the committee to start a program of community beautification to make the city a cleaner and prettier place to live, work, and visit. The successful launch of this program spread throughout the community, including the downtown square and city parks. one of which he created himself with his own work and sweat and is known today as the William H. Graham Park. Eventually, several communities in Southern Indiana replicated this program.

Mayor Bill was the founder of the Scott County Family YMCA, co-founder of the Courtyard Christmas Committee, and he was instrumental in forming the Scott County Manufacturers Forum. He was also a vital part of the Scott County Housing Task Force, Scottsburg 2020 and Beyond, and the Now Hiring Scott County initiative.

His leadership on the local level was highly respected and afforded him the opportunity so serve on regional and state levels. In 1998, he was chosen to be on the National Rural Development Management Team, which consisted of three individuals from across the nation that represented council leadership. This gave Mayor Bill a chance to be a strong voice for rural communities, always believing strongly that local government is vital when addressing rural issues.

He served on the board of directors of the Indiana Child Care Fund Advisory Board after personally being invited by former Governor Frank O’Bannon. This non-profit organization’s mission was to promote quality childcare by increasing public awareness. He served as secretary of the boards for the River Hills Economic Development Corporation, Southern Indiana Rural Development Committee, Indiana Rural Development Council Board, Indiana Solid Waste Management Board, the Governors Task Force on Environmental Permit Fees, and the Indiana Municipal Power Agency. He was the chairman of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns Nominating Committee. Bill was a passionate supporter of the Scott County Community Foundation serving as a mentor to their founding board chairperson, Becky Wolf. Over the course of his career, Mayor Bill received many awards and

recognitions. They include: The Governor’s Sagamore of the Wabash Award from both Governor Evan Bayh and Governor Joseph E. Kernan, the Ron Shaffer award for collaborative leadership from the National Rural Development Partnership, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Scottsburg High School Alumni Association. He also received the award that he is the namesake for: the Mayor William Graham Rural Champions Award.

His local community group memberships include Scott County Kiwanis Club, Scott County Moose Lodge, Scott County Shrine Club, Scott County Masonic Lodge, and Scott County Kids First. Above all his accomplishments, he was most proud of what he accomplished for his beloved Scottsburg. Those include creating two tax increment financing districts; remodeling and adding on to city hall; completely rebuilding the electric system with new transmission lines, substations, and a new electric department headquarters. He created a downtown district and preservation district, and he was instrumental in rebuilding and adding city parks. He built a new police station, a fire station, a wastewater treatment plant facility, and a water treatment facility. He built the Lifelong Learning Center and Scott County Community Clearinghouse, and he created walking trails. He accomplished the major renovation of the original Napper Clinic and the Bacala Medical Center into a senior citizens center. He created and

built the citizens communications broadband (C3BB) and a fourth city utility, eventually expanding to wireless broadband and fiber. Bill was an integral part of the creation and building of the Mid-America Science Park.

Mayor Bill loved deeply, and his legacy will live on in the thousands of lives that he touched and influenced and are made better because of his passion for service above self. His accomplishments were always a source of humility and pride for himself, but nothing compared to the love he had for his greatest accomplishment, and that was the family that loved him dearly.

Mayor Bill is survived by: his wife Judith “Neng” Graham of Scottsburg, Indiana; three sons, Billy Chris Graham of Scottsburg, Indiana, Johnny Graham of Scottsburg, Indiana, and David Graham and his wife Lori of Westfield, Indiana; two brothers, Tom Graham and his wife Paula of Lakeland, Florida, and Rick Graham and his wife Judy of Seymour, Indiana; seven grandchildren, Summer Graham, Misty Ashburn, Billy Graham, Michael Graham, Tommy Graham, Lillian Graham, and his grandson Nowlin Brown whom he loved as his very own son; and six great grandchildren.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents, one brother, Freddie Graham, two sisters, Gail Bond and Vicki Wells, and one granddaughter, Sophia Graham. The family will receive friends on Friday, March 29, 2024 from 3:00 PM until 8:00 PM at Scottsburg United Methodist Church located at 615 South Honeyrun Parkway, Scottsburg, Indiana. Visitation will resume on Saturday, March 30, 2024 from 10:00 AM until 12:00 PM at the church, and the funeral service begins at 12:00 PM with Pastor Zachary Manton officiating.

Paul said in II Timothy 4:7-8 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me on that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Rest well Mayor, we will see you on the other side.

Friends are invited to leave condolence messages for the family at

Daniel and Betsy Christensen have been entrusted with the arrangements.

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