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William Harold Spain of Iuka, age 81, passed away peacefully on December 29, 2020. He was born February 8, 1939 in Booneville, MS to Harold Dudley Spain and Hazel Morgan Spain, who preceded him in death.
William worked in his father's lumber yard after school and all summer from the age of 12 until entering college. The last two years of high school, he drove a lumber truck from Booneville to Memphis each day after school. He graduated from Booneville High School in 1957. He attended and graduated from Mississippi State University in 1964 with degrees in both Mechanical Engineering and Business. He paid his way through school selling advertising, becoming the top salesman for the Simplified Farm Record Book Co. of Charlotte, NC, and selling cotton picker spindles to farmers, eventually helping to design a harvesting machine to pick cotton in Tupelo, MS.
He took a job as a sales engineer with American Cast Iron Pipe Company in Birmingham, AL within their Special Products Division and sold the largest order the division ever took in. He was elected to the Board of Directors in 1973.
While working for ACIPCO, he owned the Spain Datsun/GMC dealership in Booneville, MS, and built the dealership facility by hand. He also owned the American Motors/MG dealership in Corinth, MS. His grew his Datsun dealership to become the largest Datsun import dealership in the Southeast. Mr. Spain also owned DACO Used Cars out of Birmingham, AL.
He was President of the American Truck Historical Society in both Alabama and Mississippi from 1988 through 2011. He was responsible for bringing ATHS' annual Convention and Truck Show to Huntsville, AL in 2009, which at the time was the largest convention ever held in Huntsville.
Mr. Spain was also the elected president of the Automobile Professional Rebuilders Association in 1980. He developed and received a patent for a break-away front bumper for large trucks. William is a published author in both "Road & Track" and "Wheels of Time" magazines.
He owned Touch Wood of Birmingham, AL, a company that made real rosewood dash panels for Navistar (International), Freightliner, Kenworth, Peterbilt, and Ford. The company was the largest OEM producer of wood dashes for heavy trucks in the world, and his craftsmanship drew the attention of Daimler-Benz (Mercedes), eventually leading them to place their manufacturing plant nearby in Vance, AL.
Mr. Spain managed and co-owned an antique business in both Birmingham, Huntsville, and Hartselle, AL. with his daughter Amanda for over 20 years.
William eventually retired and spent many years with his wife traveling and enjoying the cove on Bear Creek in Iuka, MS. He actively attended Iuka United Methodist Church
He is survived by his loving wife Mary Nell Spain, his daughter Amanda Spain Drew (Michael), son Clint Whitaker, daughter Christy Whitaker St Jean (Ray), and grandchildren Mac Madlinger, Chris Madlinger, and Megan Drew. He is also survived by a son Daniel H. Spain and a brother Robert S. Spain.
Funeral services will be at 2:00 PM on Friday, January 8, 2021 at McMillan Funeral Home with Dr. David B. Freeman officiating. Burial will be in the Booneville Cemetery.
Condolences may be left at www.mcmillanfuneralhome.com
A Celebration of Life
Friday, January 8, 2021