William Glenn Tennis peacefully passed away on Saturday, October 7, 2023, with the dignity that Gibson Family Center for Hospice Care enabled.
The alleged favorite child of Jerome and Wilma Jean (Brown) Tennis, Bill was raised on Terre Haute’s Willow Street and later on South Center Street, where lifelong friendships were forged. During his senior year of high school in 1971, Bill began a 50-year career at Wabash Valley Goodwill Industries, retiring as its President and Chief Executive Officer in June 2021. He worked diligently on improving and expanding Wabash Valley Goodwill’s mission outreach in the Wabash Valley to nine stores that allowed for employment opportunities for those with barriers, which allowed hundreds the opportunity for successful employment. During his leadership, Wabash Valley Goodwill expanded to 200 employees, furthering the organization’s mission. In his brief retirement, he traveled extensively and often entertained on his Concannon Hill farm.
Bill was also instrumental in promoting literacy within Vigo County. As a member of the Terre Haute Rotary Club, Bill was exposed to the concept of endowing dictionaries for every third-grade classroom when he assisted in the distribution of the dictionaries to local schools. Every year, without fail, Bill would show up to label and distribute dictionaries to area schools. Coming from a family of educators, Bill believed in the importance of education and exposing children to books, even in this digital age.
Bill first created the Goodwill Industries Tennis Family Dictionary Fund in honor of his father, Jerome (Jerry) Tennis. His father had served as the first principal of West Vigo Elementary School, which is why Bill chose this school as the first to receive dictionaries from the Fund. Through Bill’s leadership and encouragement, Goodwill endowed several more Vigo County schools and even schools in Brazil, Indiana — the location of the first satellite retail store for the Terre Haute Goodwill.
Bill’s close friendships were reflections of his wonderful childhood, work career and family and volunteer commitments. Among those cherished friends are Robbie Beyers, Marlene Cox, John and Cathy Crispin, Dan Davis and Belinda Elliott, Jim and Loretta King, Malcolm Manning, John Nasser, Linda Olvey, Barry Powell, Sally Stewart, Jerry Tredanari, Perry Wilson and his very much-loved “favorite red-haired running buddy,” Colleen Chestnut.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Bill’s memory to the Bill and Marci Gropp Trennis Fund at the Wabash Valley Community Foundation, 200 South 8th Street, Terre Haute, IN 47807 or by clicking below.