GOODYEAR, AZ (BRAIN)—Bill Fields died on Saturday after a six-month battle fighting complications from West Nile virus. He was 75.
Fields acquired West Nile encephalitis on a camping trip in the Arizona desert in March. During an extended hospitalization he contracted other serious infections that proved debilitating.
Jennifer Fawcett, his wife of 14 years, said when she met Fields at the Cactus Cup they hit it off right away.
“When I first met him, I was struck by his ability to talk to anybody—a racer, a 12-year-old kid, a bike shop owner, or a suit—everybody always stopped to talk to Bill,” said Fawcett. “There was always a group of people around Bill, listening to what he had to say. I always felt more than anything he was there to solve problems.”
Fawcett remembered him as an interesting guy who led a fascinating life.
“Obviously I loved him very, very much,” said Fawcett. “He was a smart guy who had wide, far-ranging interests—he did everything from build spy satellites to work in the publishing industry. Listening to all these things that he did was so fascinating. He had the ability to sit down and talk about just about anything. He was my very best friend—we loved to go shooting and loved to go camping.”
Fields began his career as a design and sales engineer at Hewlett Packard and TRW working on reconnaissance satellite antennas and receivers. He left his career in engineering to pursue his outdoor interests, setting up a publishers’ rep agency to sell advertising for “ecology sports” magazines like Bicycling, VeloNews, Wilderness Camping, Canoe and Sierra.
Fields went on to work for Hester Communications, which published Bicycle Dealer Showcase, the leading trade magazine at the time, and produced the industry’s Long Beach Trade Show. After engineering the sale of Hester, Fields launched Bicycle Guide, an up-market consumer cycling publication.
Fields left the publishing business to parlay his years of knowledge and contacts into a role as an industry consultant. He spent the last 20 years consulting on mergers and acquisitions, executive placement and product commercialization.
Fawcett, who worked closely with Fields in his consulting business and attended Interbike with him each year, said he cherished his industry relationships. “He really valued his relationships in the industry,” said Fawcett. “He had more close friends in the industry than in Goodyear. Those were the people he really respected.”
Fields is survived by three children, Patricia Pedersen, William “Tucker” Fields and Mary Judge, and four living grandchildren.
Fawcett said Fields specifically asked that there be no service. She requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his name to the League of American Bicyclists or the Bikes Belong Coalition. Cards may be sent to her home address of 10740 S. Coolwater Dr., Goodyear, AZ 85338.