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Only living former Hazard mayor turns 90

By: Steve Hensley Email
By: Steve Hensley Email

HAZARD, Ky (WYMT) - Do you remember who the mayor of Hazard was before Bill Gorman?

It was another Bill. He just turned 90 years old and he is a walking history book.

Bill Morton says he didn't think he would make it to 90, but says the Lord has been good to him.

Morton sat down with WYMT anchor Steve Hensley Thursday to tape two Issues and Answers programs because 30 minutes was just not enough for 90 years of stories.

Morton was born in Perry County in 1923 and graduated from Hazard High School.

"All of us that lived in town had to walk to school... it was about a mile from my house," said Morton.

Morton was a pilot in World War II and remembers his time overseas like it was yesterday.

"War is horrible. There's nothing good about it. There ought to be some other way to solve our differences, but I don't know what it's going to be," said Morton.

Morton started working at Home Lumber Company as a teenager and was president of the business from 1962 until 1988.

He also served two terms as Hazard's mayor in the 1970's. He says the town was in bad financial shape back then.

"When I took over as mayor we couldn't buy a hamburger on credit," Morton said.

He also opened up about his more than 30 year on and off battle with depression.

"You just feel like hell. You don't want to do anything. You want to stay in bed or you want to be on the couch. You don't want to be bothered with anything else," said Morton.

There were also plenty of lighter moments. He even sang for us and told us one of his latest jokes!

You can see the first part of our interview with possibly the oldest guest ever on Issues and Answers Monday night at 7:00 on WYMT and wymt.com. The first part includes stories about growing up in Eastern Kentucky and he goes into great detail about what he did during World War II.

There will be a 90th birthday celebration for Bill this Sunday afternoon from 3:00 until 5:00 at the First Presbyterian Church fellowship hall in Hazard.

Betty, his wife of more than 60 years, says everyone is invited.

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