Bristol Chamber celebrates Bill Gatton's 50th anniversary

(PHOTO: T. Davis, WCYB)

Bristol car dealer Bill Gatton received accolades Thursday to commemorate his 50th year in the auto business.

Chamber and government leaders were on hand and presented a formal proclamation and recognized Gatton's recent acknowledgement in the Tennessee General Assembly,

They made note of a man who developed a passion for sales as early as age 8 selling watermelons alongside a road. When he began selling cars, Gatton adopted antics that earned him the nickname "Wild Bill" and an ever growing customer base and new dealerships.

Gatton generously gave credit to others for his success in his remarks to the crowd.

"Having good people associated with me. They do a good job of taking care of customers and giving them good advice on cars and trucks and whatever they want," he said.

Gatton is also well known for giving back to the community. His generosity to ETSU led to the naming of the Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy. The business program at the University of Kentucky is also named in his honor. He graduated from the Lexington school in 1954.