Foster Miller ‘Bill’ Routh, 87, former WNOK-TV announcer, sports and program director
Foster Miller “Bill” Routh, of Columbia, died Nov. 15, 2015, at the age of 87.
The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, at the residence of Paige and Julie Carlton, 2077 Shady Lane, Columbia. A celebration of life service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, at First Baptist Church, Columbia, Boyce Chapel.
Born Jan. 28, 1928, in Columbia, he was the son of the late Dr. Foster M. Routh Sr. and Zoe Peeples Routh. He graduated from Columbia High School and the University of South Carolina and received a master’s degree from Northwestern University. He was a veteran of WWII, serving in both the Merchant Marines and the U.S. Army.
He spent seven years in radio and television broadcasting and 30 years in state government. He helped put Columbia’s second television station, WNOK-TV (now WLTX-TV) on the air in September 1953, serving as an announcer and later sports and program director.
Prior to leaving broadcasting full-time, he was the play-by-play announcer for the Columbia Reds Baseball team and served as color-commentator for the USC Gamecock football radio broadcasts. He continued broadcasting high school football games when he began his state government career and served as host of the Hancock Buick Football Scoreboard on WCOS radio.
He was director of the Division of Health Education and Information with the State Board of Health (now DHEC) until 1970 and deputy director of the S.C. Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (now DAODAS) until his retirement in 1987. Mr. Routh served as president of the South Carolina Public Health Association in 1969 and the Southern Branch of the American Public Health Association in 1975. He was subsequently honored with Meritorious Achievement Awards from both organizations.
He was also active in the American Public Health Association, including six years as a member of its Governing Council. He was a charter member of the State Sertoma Club, a member of the Executive Club and a member of the State Employees Association and its Board of Directors, serving as chairman of the retirees. He was honored with the association’s Outstanding State Employee Award for 2005.
He was also a lifelong member of the First Baptist Church of Columbia and was a member of the Pascal Colson Sunday School Class. As a lifelong Gamecock fan, he enjoyed attending numerous sporting events with family and friends. Following his retirement, he and Shirley enjoyed traveling the world together.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Shirley Green Routh; children, Carol P. Routh, of Columbia, Shirley G.”Sisi” Routh, of Columbia, Zoe Susan Routh, of Columbia, Foster M. “Billy” Routh III, of Columbia, Julie Routh Carlton (Paige), of Columbia and John H. Routh, of Miami, Florida; and grandchildren, Lucas, Mills and Parker Carlton, all of Columbia.
Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church Television Ministry, 1306 Hampton St., Columbia, SC 29201.
Please leave online condolences for the family at Dunbar Funeral Home.
To view the full list of Cola Daily obituaries, click here.