Bill Holdsworth was born in Norristown, PA, 1955. He is the eldest of four children, from his mother Martha Jane and his World War II veteran father John. Bill first attended catholic school in a suburb in Philadelphia but switched to a public school in Montgomery County in 4th grade. At 12 years old Bill got his first job as a caddy at a golf course. He then worked three years at a Burger King until he landed a job that would ignite the spark to his career.
In high school, Bill started working at a record store in a mall at age 16. The record store was a melting pot of all ages to meet and connect through music. Bill said that his middle-aged boss would often have to find records for customers based on them humming or singing the song they were looking to buy. In addition to learning about all kinds of music and artists through the job Bill would also go to a lot of concerts. He has attended over 1000 concerts throughout his life and he has been to almost every concert venue in Philly. His favorite artists include Johnny Cash and Bob Marley with his favorite genre of music being reggae. When Bill wasn’t selling records or going to concerts, he was participating in high school club sports such as the winter and spring track team for shotput and discus as well as the intramural basketball team. He continued working in the music retail business through college at Montgomery County Community College. During this time, he also picked up a second job as a school bus driver. He would work the mornings and afternoons and go to class in-between.
Bill loved working grew tired of school, so after two years of college he dropped out and quit his bus driving job to pursue his music sales career full time. He worked a combined seven years in music retail and then two years for a wholesale distributor called Suburban One Stop. After that he worked for major record companies like RCA Records, Motown, PolyGram records and the Universal Music Group. Bill said the most important skill he learned was knowledge about people and music throughout the world. When records started to lose popularity Bill along with hundreds of his other colleagues were laid off from the same company. He was then hired by Music Video Distributors which is where he currently works.
While working on his life professionally Bill also worked on it socially and romantically. Bill’s aunt worked at a flower shop and introduced him to her employee, Deborah. She and Bill fell in love and got married a year and a half later in 1984. Debbie and Bill went on to have three sons, William, John and Kenneth. Around this time Bill developed a new hobby of fishing in freshwater. His favorite fish is the smallmouth bass.
Bill’s passion for military history started after reading Ulysses S. Grant’s Memoirs. He then saw an ad in the paper about a local civil war heroes event going on at Norristown High School. There he met a representative from the Old Baldy Civil War Round Table named Steve Wright. After learning more about the CWRT he decided to join, and he thoroughly enjoys attending and participating in the meetings and events. Steve and Bill became great friends and to this day go on many trips to historical battlegrounds, most notably traveling to the island of Iwo Jima in the Pacific in 2015 for the 70th Anniversary Re-Union of Honor. Bill hopes to retire in the next year to make more time for volunteer organizations, hobbies and family. The OB CWRT is grateful that Bill and Debbie joined as she has produced our wreath for General Winfield Scott Hancock’s tomb for the last 27 years.