William Earl Ringel III, 72, of Greeneville, passed away May 26 at Durham-Hensley Health & Rehabilitation Center in Chuckey.

Mr. Ringel graduated from college in 1966 and entered the U.S. Air Force, becoming an F-4 Phantom jet recon navigator. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War 1967-68 and was stationed at Ton Son Naht base.

During his early career, he was a first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals baseball club, but had to stop due to an elbow injury.

He retired in 1996 after 30 years of government service as Department of Veteran Affairs associate director, Southern Region for Dept. of Medicine and Surgery, and chief medical administrator with Veterans Affairs Dept. of Defense Reserve.

Mr. Ringel loved his horses and dogs on his farm. He enjoyed magic, fishing, hunting, reading, acting/re-enacting, doing historical lectures, riding his horses, playing with dogs and helping others.

He is survived by his son: Kenneth Ringel; grandchildren: Aaron Ringel and Joshua Ringel; a sister: Dianne King; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife: Lynn Ringel; a son: Daniel Ringel; and a grandson: Kyle Ringel.

A graveside service will be conducted by the Greene County Honor Guard Saturday at 2 p.m. at Pine Grove Free Will Baptist Church on the Horton Highway. Robert Charlton will officiate.

Thoughts and memories may be shared with the family at www.jeffersmortuary.com.

Jeffers Funeral & Cremation Service is in charge of the arrangements.