John Concannon- Publicity
Bill Ranney, my IMGA personality of the month, was born in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, a small town about 130 miles southwest of Chicago and home to State Farm Insurance Co. Bill’s early education culminated in his graduation from Bloomington High School. After high school Bill took a job with State Farm Insurance, a career path not uncommon to residents of Bloomington, Ill.
Bill was drafted into the Army and with orders deploying him to Korea in hand, ended up being sent to Germany as part of an Atomic Artillery Battalion, a singularly unique outfit in the armed forces.
Upon being discharged, Bill attended and graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in Education.
After graduating from I.S.U., Bill took a position with Illinois Agricultural Association, a state-wide organization coordinating local farm bureau activities. He was instrumental in moving the headquarters from Chicago to Bloomington, a move very beneficial to the organization from a geographical standpoint. During his time at I.A.A. Bill married and became a father of two boys, Mike and Bill. Due to limited career opportunities at I.A.A., he was encouraged by his manager to “Go West Young Man, Go West,” which Bill did, moving to California in 1964. Bill got a job with Home Savings & Loan in their Loan Service Department. After several years he transferred to Employee Services/Recreation Department, eventually becoming vice president of the group. Among Bill’s varied responsibilities was running the company store, coordinating three employee cafeterias, as well as coordinating a vast array of employee activities, from bowling and baseball leagues to employee outings and concerts (wow, how business has changed).
Bill also oversaw employee parties at such venues as The Queen Mary, The Spruce Goose and Disneyland. That’s where Bill met his future wife, Cathy, who was employed in the Sales Department of the Queen Mary. Bill and Cathy were married and just recently celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary. Bill is particularly proud of the fact that he signed Rowan and Martin for a gig at the Coconut Grove, just two months prior to their signing a contract to appear in the Laugh In program on national television. His frequent involvement with Disneyland resulted in Bill’s being honored as an Honorary Citizen of Disneyland upon his retirement in 1995.
Bill’s position as V.P. also had him coordinating many activities of the National Industrial Recreation Association, a grouping of national companies; he was also involved with the U.S. Olympics when they were held in Los Angeles in 1984.
Bill and Cathy moved to Sun Lakes in 1995 and he immediately became involved with IMGA, eventually becoming president in 2007. He continues to be involved with the IMGA Board of Directors, supports special events and is Orientation Chairman for the golf league. Cathy and Bill also are active with the Ironwood Couples League. Bill has taken up some new hobbies since moving to Sun Lakes and has served as Lapidary Chairman of the Rock, Gem, and Silver Club and with wife, Cathy, is involved in making jewelry for sale at local art shows.
It was interesting that Bill, at the beginning of our interview, said that he had led a rather simple life.
After reading this article, I doubt that too many people will agree with you, Bill.