Veteran reporter and editor Bill Wills has announced he plans to retire from The (Bloomington) Pantagraph on July 28.
Wills is currently editorial page editor at the newspaper. He has spent his entire 44-year career at The Pantagraph, beginning after graduating from Mahomet High School.
“Bill has been an institution at The Pantagraph and he will be missed,” said Linda Lindus, the newspaper’s publisher.
Wills started as an office assistant in 1962 but moved up to police and fire reporter the following year. He later reported on the city of Bloomington for seven years before coordinating coverage of Bloomington, Normal and McLean County.
“Bill was the old-fashioned, investigative reporter,” said former Bloomington Mayor Jesse Smart. “He was very thorough.”
Wills was promoted to city editor in 1977 and served as metro editor, assistant managing editor and managing editor before moving to the editorial page 12 years ago. He oversees the letters, columns and editorials in the daily Opinion and Sunday Viewpoint sections.
“Bill was a tough editor, but for a reason he wanted reporters, especially young reporters, to learn how to do the job the right way. Believe me, I learned a lot from him during the years I worked for him,” said current Pantagraph editor Mark Pickering.
Wills served on committees of the Associated Press Managing Editors Association; on the boards of the Mid-America Press Institute and the Illinois AP Editors Association; and on the editorial steering committee of the Illinois Press Association.
He also is a past president of the Bloomington Rotary Club and is currently secretary of its foundation.