His childhood years were happy ones on a ranch in northern Nebraska. When Bill was in the third grade, the family moved to McCook, Neb., where they had purchased a motel. The family moved from Nebraska to Nevada when Bill was a senior in high school. The family had purchased and operated the Rambler Best Western Motel. Bill graduated from the Nevada High School in the class of 1969. Upon graduation, Bill attended Kansas State College at Pittsburg, Kan. During his first year he persuaded his parents that he was not going to be an engineer. He worked for a highly acclaimed chef in Cortez, Colo., learning food preparation from the ground up before he was accepted at the Del Mar Culinary College in Corpus Christi, Texas.
At 20 years of age Bill leased the Rambler Best Western Restaurant and continued managing there until 1976. During the next 5 years he worked in various seafood operations in Texas. One was the very popular "Angeloes" in Houston that had a seating capacity of 1,000. He became a "trouble shooter" for the Long John Silver's chain.
Bill's dream was to return to Missouri and have his own operation. He purchased "Potatoes, Etc." in the Battlefield Mall in Springfield -- which he successfully operated from 1980 through 1990. His last restaurant was a Cajun-food operation called "Louisiana Po Boys" which he operated several years in Springfield.
Survivors include his parents, Earl and Millie Hoatson of Sun City, Ariz.; two brothers, Robert, of Houston, Texas, and Richard, of Kansas City, Mo.; one sister, Julia Carriker, of Warrensburg, Mo.; nieces and nephews and a host of other relatives and friends.