\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_25298" align="alignnone" width="2448"]<a href="https:\/\/mountainmedianews.com\/?attachment_id=25298" rel="attachment wp-att-25298"><img class="wp-image-25298 size-full" src="https:\/\/mountainmedianews.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/13\/2017\/03\/Tom-Bill-Dudley.jpg" width="2448" height="3696" \/><\/a> Tom Bill Dudley[\/caption]\r\n<h1>Tom Bill Dudley lives in White Sulphur Springs.<\/h1>\r\nAlways has, pretty much, except for a stint in the army, which posted him in Germany. But other than that, his 75 years have been spent watching White Sulphur grow from a mid-20th Century small town, to an early 21st Century small town. As he has marked the changes in the town, the town has marked the changes in Dudley.\r\n\r\n\u201cMy time in the military was before all of the protests on campuses. I was there while they were building the Berlin wall. I came back here after my time in the military, and got a job at Hercules Incorporated in Covington for 29 years.\u00a0 They had a fire, I got laid off, and finished the last nine years at Westvaco. Covington is OK, but I really like White Sulphur. This is where I want to be.\r\n\r\nOne of Dudley\u2019s more memorable experiences in White Sulphur Springs came last June, when his home was wiped out by the catastrophic flood. \u201cI lost everything,\u201d he says, \u201cI just got out with my clothes on my back and some medicine.\u201d His was the home that famously caught on fire and floated downstream, and he lost a relative in the incident. Dudley managed to get out of the house, holed up in a small cave for hours that night, and by morning walked to a place of shelter. Everything was lost.\r\n\r\nIn the months that followed, he lived with another relative, and eventually moved into a new home on higher ground. He\u2019s thankful he survived, and keenly feels the losses that so many people suffered.\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>\u2022 \u2022<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n\u201cI tried to shake the Bill in my name since the seventh grade. I can\u2019t. People know me as Tom Bill. Some people even call me Mr. Bill. They think it\u2019s my last name, \u201c Dudley said.\r\n\r\nIn the 13 years since retirement, Dudley has enjoyed sports, something he had been enjoying his whole life. \u201cI refereed the first basketball game that was played at Greenbrier East. Maybe 1968. I refereed up until last year. College, high school, JV, elementary. Mostly in the county, but sometimes we\u2019d travel to Beckley, or Webster Springs, Princeton. I have been into sports my whole life. Coached Little League, started football in White Sulphur, started basketball in White Sulphur. And I like to fish too.\u201d\r\n\r\nDudley said it keeps him young. \u201cStay with the kids,\u201d he said. \u201cStay with the kids and it will keep you always young.\u201d Last year, April 1, Dudley went for a regular doctor\u2019s appointment in Beckley, and his doctor saw signs that he thought pointed to cancer. Dudley went to Richmond for tests, and the word came back: pancreatic cancer, one of the most lethal types of cancer.\r\n\r\nDudley has done chemo. Doctors told him the cancer was inoperable, but one doctor sent him to North Carolina for an opinion from a doctor at Duke. He had a slight chance, he was told, of doing chemotherapy, which might break down the cancer enough to remove it. Dudley took his treatments on Thursdays. They made him sick for several days, and he\u2019d be feeling better just as he was going back. But the last treatment knocked him for a loop. He did all of the treatments, but they did not change the tumor enough to make it operable.\r\n\r\nDudley has stopped all treatments now. He wants no more chemo, and he is talking to hospice. \u201cEverybody thinks hospice is just for dying people. It\u2019s not. It\u2019s for people who are living. I\u2019m fighting. I\u2019m not giving up. I\u2019m on some pain medicine. It makes me groggy. But I can still function. I still get around. I think I\u2019m going to beat this. I really do. I think the Man Upstairs can do that.\u201d\r\n\r\nDudley attends the Redemption Center, a church in White Sulphur.\r\n\r\nDudley likes to reflect on the years growing up. He played football in high school, at right end. \u201cI don\u2019t think I could have grown up during a better era. I like the time I grew up in. We didn\u2019t have a lock on our door. We left the windows open. Kids could run with friends, and everybody was okay. Everybody knew everybody else\u2019s business, and nobody cared.\u201d\r\n\r\nDudley has two children, Amanda and Junior, both grown.\r\n\r\nHis favorite sport? Basketball. East\u2019s best team? 1972. Warren Baker. State champs. Dudley coached Baker in Little League basketball. Dudley has worked at the scorer\u2019s table for East games for many years. He has attended every state basketball tournament for the last 52 years, but this year he is staying home. His demeanor is upbeat, optimistic. He is always enthusiastic talking about basketball. Always happy to meet somebody new. Just generally happy, period.