Obituary for Bill Ingenthron

Bill Ingenthron at a table.
Bill Ingenthron

William “Bill” J. Ingenthron, an actor for the Northwest Arkansas Gridiron in the 1980 and 1981 shows, died February 26, 2017. He was 72.

Bill was born in Taney County, Missouri, to Joseph Ingenthron and Frieda Freeland Ingenthron, on August 18, 1934. He and his wife of 55 years, Janeth Fisher Ingenthron, another Ozarks native, retired to Marshall, Arkansas, in 1992. Bill had spent 15 years as a professor of journalism and mass communications at the University of Arkansas, and was nicknamed “Dr. I” by his students. He previously taught at Fresno State in California and Purdue University in Indiana. He earned his doctorate from the University Of Missouri School Of Journalism, after a stint as reporter and editorial writer in the 1960s on Cape Cod.

Bill is remembered as an intelligent, curious and open-minded professor with impish wit, self-deprecating humor, and strong ethics. He taught Mass Communications Law among other courses, and his students turned the tables on him for the final exam one year, wearing T-shirts with a profane statement about the law course but citing Cohen v. California to show they knew what they were talking about.

He was shaped by the conservative principles of his family, the Freelands and Ingenthrons of Taney County, and by his exposure to cultures in Europe, Asia and California. He was comfortable discussing raising of chickens as a child, the history of USA’s Native American policy, or mass communication law. He loved birds and trees, remembered hundreds of poems, and sang aloud.

​He is survived by his wife Janeth and their children, Robin in Vermont, and Barry Ingenthron and Ally Ingenthron Orsi in Arkansas, and six grandchildren.

Bill placed great importance on years spent together with family and friends, talking, writing letters, sharing vacations, or remembering one another in silence. He was strong of faith, if not of ceremony. His family observed a private wake near his childhood home in Taney County with close friends. Arrangements and cremation were under the direction of Cremations of the Ozarks.