William R. Eadington (1946-2013)

When I was a kid, Bill Eadington was the likeable low-key guy who married my godmother, Margaret Dean. The Deans and McElligotts grew up next to each other on Coronado Drive in Fullerton, California. When I was little, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners were cooked in both kitchens and passed over the side fence. On the Fourth of July, our two families, plus our neighbors on the other side, the Bakers, and another family down the street, the Marcons, managed to spread the party across all four yards. It wasn’t exactly Norman Rockwell, but it was close enough.

Bill EadingtonIn our little town, Bill was descended from citrus industry royalty. Back when the land around Fullerton was just one big orange grove, the Eadingtons and the Bastanchurys were the kings of the Valencia orange. There are still streets named after both families.

To rest of the world, for most of my adult life, William R. Eadington, Professor of Economics at the University of Nevada, Reno, was the go-to guy on the subject of the gaming industry. I’ll let his own school say it:

Eadington is the current holder of the Philip J. Satre chair in Gaming Studies, a professor of economics, and director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). He is an internationally recognized authority on the legalization and regulation of commercial gaming and has written extensively on issues relating to the economic and social impacts of the industry.

That’s all true, but one fact alone tells me that Bill was a sharp cookie on the subject of the gaming industry. He didn’t gamble himself.

Bill died today after a battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife, two children, Michael and Diana, and three adorable granddaughters.

He may have been the oracle of all things gambling, and flags are probably flying at half-staff from Vegas to Macau, but tonight I’m remembering the all-around nice guy who literally married the girl next door.

I’ll miss you, Bill.

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One Reply to “William R. Eadington (1946-2013)”

  1. I was very saddened to learn of Bill Eadington’s passing, which I only recently (this June) learned about. I got to know Bill 23 years ago when he was at the Kennedy School and met him and his wife Margaret at that time. He was incredibly helpful to me with a project relating to the casino industry (a sociological study), and we stayed in touch over the years, and occasionally met for dinner when I was in Reno. Besides his incredible intellect and range of interests, going well beyond just the economics of the gaming industry, Bill was a very decent human being, always interested in what you had to say, never boastful about his own achievements. I very much regret that I did not have a chance to say good bye before the end.

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