William Lance Ennis

Published 4:35 pm Thursday, June 29, 2023

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May 15, 1945 – June 25, 2023

William Lance Ennis was born in Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Houston, Texas, on May 15, 1945, the youngest of three sons of Reginald William Ennis and Gertrude Atwell Waggener Ennis.

He was reared in Alvin, Texas, a coastal farming community near Galveston, Texas, where he played trumpet in the high school band.

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Bill earned a degree in journalism with a minor in organ at The University of Texas at Austin, where he was a member of the Longhorn band.  Following graduation, he lived in Atlanta, Ga., and New York, N.Y., until returning to Texas.

On a dare, he applied for and was awarded a position with United Airlines in the first class of male stewards on commercial flights.

Not long afterward, Bill began a 36-year career in Austin, Texas, with Texas Mid-Continent, later known as Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA). He served as Vice President for Membership and Communication and as Corporate Secretary to the Board of Directors.

At TXOGA, he was afforded the opportunity to work with some of the most powerful decision-makers in Texas. They provided him a wealth of experience in government and policy-making.

In 1992 Bill relocated from Austin to Bastrop, Texas. For nearly 30 years in Bastrop, he enjoyed a high level of volunteerism, contributing to many charitable and governmental organizations.

He completed two terms as a member of the Bastrop City Council and served on the board and as an officer of the Family Crisis Center.

He was president and board member of the Bastrop County Historical Society; chair of the R.A. Green Mercantile Board, which is an incubator for new businesses; founding member and chair of the City’s Historic Landmark Commission; member of the City’s Art in Public Places Commission; the City’s Main Street Board and its Design Committee; chair of the Main Street Destination Marketing Organization Committee; vice chair of the City’s Planning and Zoning Commission; City Council Liaison to the Bastrop Cultural Arts Commission; and the Visit Bastrop Board.

He also worked in numerous leadership positions within Calvary Episcopal Church, where he was a member of the choir and choir director.

In 2020, he was recognized by the Bastrop Chamber of Commerce as “Man of the Year.”

Bill moved to Natchez in June 2021 and set about enhancing the historic downtown home Rip Rap, where he lived with his spouse, Dan Hays-Clark.

He was appointed to and served as vice-chairman of the City’s Planning Commission.

He was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church and the church’s chancel choir. He was also a member of the board of the Musical Arts League, Pilgrimage Garden Club, Natchez Historical Society, Historic Natchez Foundation and Krewe of Phoenix.

Bill’s four major loves were his spouse; his brood of dogs, of which he always had several; The University of Texas, especially football, rarely missing a game; and his many dear friends.

Bill is survived by his spouse of 39 years, Dan Hays-Clark; his nieces, Victoria Bridges, Meg Powell, Erin Arendell and Anna Arendell; and his nephews, Michael Ennis, Patrick Ennis, Todd Arendell, Evan Arendell and Adam Arendell.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Reginald Ennis and Frank Ennis; and his sister-in-law, Vicki Ennis.

Bill believed in tradition and had his boundaries, but he was also known for his warm smile, infectious laugh, his polite manners and his ability to make people know they were special.

As Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said, “Bill was and will always be an honorable man in our hearts.”

A service celebrating Bill’s life will take place at Trinity Episcopal Church in Natchez at a date to be announced.

Memorial contributions may be made to Trinity Episcopal Church Organ Fund or the Natchez Adams County Humane Society.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at lairdfh.com.