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Funeral service is set Friday for Dr. Killian

A memorial service for William David "Bill" Killian has been scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at the Grace Lutheran Church with Pastor Greg Williams officiating. The family will receive friends immediately following the service.

Burial at Shepherd Memorial Park will be private.

Dr. Killian, the founding president of Blue Ridge Community College, died Sunday at age 96 in the Medical Center at Carolina Village after a period of declining health. Born on May 22, 1922, in Lincoln County, he was a son of the late David Coon and Bessie Era Lantz Killian. He was preceded in death by his wife of more than 63 years, Helen Shufford Killian, in 2016. He was also preceded death by his three siblings: Frank Killian, Robert Killian and Elizabeth Killian Mosteller.

A graduate of Appalachian State Teacher’s College with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Mathematics and Science Education respectively, Killian served his country during World War II, enlisting in the United States Navy. After his separation from duty he enrolled at NC State University and obtained another Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Education. His passion for education was not simply his understanding that knowledge was not only powerful, but the sharing of knowledge to eager students was extremely rewarding to him as well. As a Vocational Agriculture Education instructor, Professor Killian’s positions allowed him and his family to reside in several cities in NC including: Lincolnton, Stony Point and Cleveland. In 1962 after accepting a teaching position at Catawba County Technical Institute (CUTI), he shifted to Administration with the acceptance of the Agricultural Technical Coordinator and then as the Director of Evening Programs of CUTI. He left CUTI long enough to complete his Doctorate studies at NC State prior to resuming his administrative duties at CUTI.

In 1969, Dr. Killian had been made aware of the plans for a community institute to be created in the Hendersonville area to provide secondary education as well as industrial training for local students and applied for the position with the current Board of the Henderson County Commissioners. He eagerly accepted the position of the first President of the Henderson County Technical Institute, a public two-year institution which had been granted a charter by the NC State Board of Education on July 21, 1969. He successfully nurtured the institute which Blue Ridge Tech and finally Blue Ridge Community College until his retirement in 1987. He was not only recognized as the President Emeritus of the College by the Trustees after his retirement, the student center which is the pulse of the campus was re-named in his honor in 1989. He was also inducted in the Henderson County Education Hall of Fame in 2002, and was a proud recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. He was an active member of the Rotary Club of Hendersonville as well as a Paul Harris Fellow Rotarian.

He is survived by his four children: William Jeffrey Killian of Alton, VA., Michael David Killian and his wife, Joella of Spotsylvania, VA., Stephen Charles Killian and his wife, Ann of Lincolnton, NC., and Susan Killian Sutton and her husband, John of Republic, MO. He is also survived by three grandchildren: Kathryn Elizabeth Sutton of Des Moines, IA., Amy Lynn Sutton of Republic, MO., and Matt Bowman Killian of Raleigh, NC., as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Dr. Killian’s memory be directed to the Blue Ridge Educational Foundation, 180 West Campus Drive, Flat Rock, NC., 28731. Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Services is in charge of arrangements.