Wisse served Warner Robins in a multitude of ways

September 25, 2013 

Editor’s note: This is fourth in a series of columns about each of the 2013 Warner Robins Hall of Fame inductees.

William “Bill” Wisse was born Dec. 29, 1918, in Passaic, N.J., the grandson of Dutch immigrants.

His World War II service included infantry training camp at Camp Wheeler. During a combat swimming course, a thunderstorm erupted, and Wisse was struck by lightning. Unconscious for the first three days, after his recovery Wisse chose limited service.

In 1946, Wisse was reassigned to Hamburg, Germany, as a war crimes investigator and assigned to the English sector as a liaison officer. In this position, Wisse visited Dachau concentration camp and also attended the Nuremberg Trials, where he witnessed the trials of several Nazi war criminals.

He began college in 1947 and graduated from Mercer University and then Mercer Law School in December 1951. Upon the advice of Sam Nunn Sr., Wisse started practicing law in Warner Robins on Jan. 2, 1952.

Along with his own law practice, Wisse was appointed city attorney for the city of Warner Robins by three mayors: Kemp A. Harrison (1956–1961); Robert P. Schroeder (1961–1964) and Roger H. Davis (1964–1968).

His duties included general counsel, overseeing planning and zoning regulations and attending all City Council meetings where he gave the City Council and the mayor advice. He negotiated and drew up the contract that allowed cable to be run in the city of Warner Robins. He served in leadership positions in many civic organizations. He was president of the Houston County Bar Association, president of the College of Mortgage Attorneys, president of the Warner Robins Chamber of Commerce, president of the Carl Vinson chapter of the Air Force Association, president of the Lions Club and a founder of the First Federal Savings and Loan Association in Warner Robins.

He was a member of the Tyrian Lodge, a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason and a member of the Shrine.

In 1956, he was approached by Walter Whiting and Wilbur Young, members of the Macon Rotary Club about starting a Rotary in Warner Robins. Wisse agreed to undertake the project and contacted civic leaders and businessmen to be charter members.

The club was granted a charter Dec. 26, 1956. Wisse served as the first president of the Rotary and helped to start Rotary Clubs in Centerville, Byron and Perry. In 2007, his 50 years of Rotary membership was recognized by the Rotary’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

As a board member at First Federal Savings and Loan Association, Wisse had influence over loan decisions. In 1999, he approved a loan to the Greater Springfield Missionary Baptist Church based on the church’s record of having 90 percent of its members tithe.

He joined First United Methodist Church in 1952 and served the church in many capacities including chairman of the Board of Stewards, Sunday School teacher, Finance Committee, Staff Parish Committee. In 2000, he began volunteering with the food distribution ministry at the church.

Wisse faithfully served for the city and the community of Warner Robins until his death in 2012.

Contact Alline Kent at 396-2467 or allinekent@cox.net.

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