Growing up in Clinton, Iowa, Bill attended Clinton High School. He earned letters in football, basketball, baseball and track and was captain of the football team.
He entered Lake Forest in 1938 and went on to earn three letters in football, two in basketball and one in baseball. He was a member of the 1940 undefeated football team and was one of the leading scorers on the basketball team. Bill served as president of Student Council, the Lettermen's Club, the Student Center and his fraternity, Digamma Alpha Upsilon. He was selected for Who's Who in American Colleges and was a member of Iron Key.
Graduating with a degree in business administration, Bill took a position as a chemist at Dupont, where he worked on the first atomic bomb. He held the same position at Stanford Univeristy where he worked with engineers on plutonium. Bill then established his own printing ink business, Roto Ink, which had offices in Chicago and Denver. He then sold the company to Sun Chemicals and worked as a consultant for the firm. After retiring, he and his wife traveled around the world and he started oil painting.