Bill Carlton

August 24, 2023
Bill Carlton

Bill Carlton B.B.A. ’71, of Little Rock, Arkansas, was a proud Baylor alumnus and dedicated member of the Baylor Family who believed in the Christian mission of the University. He is remembered for this legacy of faith. He passed away in July, leaving behind Pat, his wife of nearly 54 years, and their family, as well as a compelling legacy of support for Baylor University and her students.

Carlton comes from a Baylor family, starting with his great-grandfather, Claude S. Carlton, who put his siblings through college before attending and graduating from Baylor in 1917. After graduating with a degree in accounting, Carlton went to work with his father, Joe, at Carlton-Bates Company. Bill spent over 40 years at Carlton-Bates Company, an industrial electronics distributor. He successfully grew the company and gained a reputation as an honest and caring, yet tough, businessman. Passionate about innovation in the business world, Bill dedicated much of his life to Carlton-Bates Company. Bill cared deeply for his employees and thrived on having a family-friendly company culture before it was commonplace. After selling his business to a Fortune 500 company in 2005, Bill retired and spent several years traveling, reading, building intensive Lego sets, and enjoying his family.

Carlton is preceded in death by his parents, Carrie Lee and Joe Carlton, and his son, John William Carlton, BA ’02. He is survived by his wife, Patricia Rose Carlton, his daughter, Joanna Rose Carlton, BBA ’98, daughter-in-law, Kirsten Henry Fredrich, and his grandchildren, Sidney Rose, William, Pearson, Collin, Eva, Sawyer, and Andrew.

Carlton also leaves a legacy of philanthropy and selfless service. Bill and Pat followed his grandfather’s example, establishing The Claude S. Carlton Endowed Scholarship Fund at Baylor, which has provided approximately $1 million in scholarship support for dozens of Baylor students in their pursuit of their education since its establishment in 1989.

The Carltons extended their philanthropy to other causes on campus through The Carlton Family Foundation, including support for construction of the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation and the University’s Office of Access and Learning Accommodation in Paul L. Foster Success Center. Recently, Bill and Pat also were recognized for their generosity through the naming of Carlton Hall at the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center.

Bill served on the Hankamer School of Business Advisory Board. The Carltons hosted numerous student send-off parties and alumni network events in Little Rock and Dallas, and they both served on the Baylor Leadership Council. Bill and Pat were honored as Baylor Alumni of the Year in 2017.