Bill Bresnan, cable pioneer and founder and chairman of Bresnan Communications, died Friday in his home in Greenwich, Conn., succumbing to cancer. He was 75.
A widower, having been predeceased in his prior marriage of 43 years to Barbara Boettcher Bresnan with whom he had six children and eleven grandchildren, Bresnan is survived by his current wife Ann Lessing Bresnan and her five children.
A memorial service will be held at St. Mary's Church in Greenwich, Conn., on Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 11 a.m. The wake is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Leo P. Gallagher & Sons funeral home at 31 Arch St. in Greenwich.
For more information about the arrangements, contact Leo P. Gallagher & Son Funeral Home, 31 Arch Street, Greenwich, Conn. 06830, (203) 869-1513; and St. Mary's Church, 178 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich, Conn. 06830, (203) 869-9393.
Born in Mankato, Minn., Bresnan began his cable career in 1958, when at 25 he designed and built his first cable system in Rochester, Minn. When that system was acquired by entrepreneur Jack Kent Cooke in 1965, Bresnan joined Cooke, whose holdings were ultimately merged with TelePrompTer Corp. Bresnan served as president of TelePrompTer's cable television division from 1974 to 1981, when Westinghouse Electric purchased the company and Bresnan was named chairman and CEO of the new company, Group W Cable, Inc. Three year later, he founded Bresnan Communications, a company which initially operated cable systems both in the upper Midwest and internationally and which today serves some 320,000 subscribers in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Utah.
"Bill Bresnan hired good, smart people and lead by example," said Bresnan Communications CEO Jeff DeMond. "He gave us the mission to succeed not just by doing things right, but by doing the right thing as well, and each of our lives is richer for having learned from him."
Noted industry pioneer Alan Gerry: "Bill has left a giant void in the lives of all of us who knew him. A modest man with a heart of gold walked among us during the many decades that he devoted to building his various cable television pursuits and the many legislative hurdles he overcame to become one of the true leaders and entrepreneurs of the cable television industry. Sandra and I express our deepest condolences to Bill's wife Ann and their loving family."
Throughout his career, Bresnan played a leadership role in the cable television industry, via participation in industry associations, and having testified before the Federal Communications Commission and U.S. Congressional committees on a wide range of communications and copyright issues.
Known as one of the cable industry's leading contributors to technological advancement, he played a major role in the development of the first domestic satellite transmission, as well as the country's first commercial fiber optic communications system. He was the recipient of virtually every award and recognition within the cable industry and was inducted into both the Cable Television Hall of Fame and the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.
Bresnan served for over 35 years on the board of directors of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, and was a member of board of The Cable Center in Denver since its inception. His legacy also extends to roles as chairman of the executive committee and a member C-SPAN's board, a board member of Cable Television Laboratories and the Cable TV Pioneers.
A supporter of diversity in the workplace, he was also a member of the board of The Emma Bowen Foundation and an honorary lifetime member of Women in Cable and Telecommunications. He previously served on the boards of Cable in the Classroom and the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you please make a donation to the Ann and Bill Bresnan Foundation, which, among other things, will continue to fund research into the rare form of cancer that he fought so courageously for the last year at: Ann and Bill Bresnan Foundation, Bresnan Communications Inc., One Manhattanville Road, Purchase, N.Y. 10577-2596, Attention: Shawn Beqaj.