Remembering Bill Bresnan

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Outpourings of sadness, affection and praise have begun to filter in, with industry executives remembering one of  cable's true titans as news of Bill Bresnan's passing spread over the holiday weekend.

Bresnan, the founder and chairman of Bresnan Communications, succumbed to cancer Friday Nov. 27 in his Greenwich, Conn. home. He was 75.

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A number of industry leaders and groups have issued their remembrances of Bresnan.

*Phylis Eagle-Oldson, president and CEO, Emma Bowen Foundation: "It is with great sadness that we learned of Bill Bresnan's passing. Bill's early commitment and passion for the Emma Bowen Foundation helped the cable industry become of aware of the Foundation's program, and his ongoing support helped to encouraged its growth. Bill has served as member of the board for nearly all of the Foundation's 20 years. For those that have known Bill, it is hard to imagine a man more full of life and laughter, more devoted to his family and his company, and more generous with his time and resources. He has made an indelible mark on our industry and our lives, and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time."

*Mark Mersky, former, vice president, affiliate marketing and local ad sales with A&E Television Networks: "My sincerest condolences go out to Pat Bresnan and the entire Bresnan family. Bill was one of the all time great guys in cable. He always had time for a pleasant ‘hello' and would engage in conversations about all kinds of topics.

While we weren't close business colleagues, I totally enjoyed Bill's acquaintance and working with his team of outstanding employees.

May he rest in peace."

*Donna, Mark Campbell, Marquette, Mich.: Bill Bresnan was and is: the most influential mentor to my husband Mark Campbell. Bill once said: 'Y'know Marco, sometimes the best deal is no deal at all.'
Bill always rose above any situation and often quipped at a sumptuous banquet: "Always let your men eat first." He would stand aside and let "his people" enjoy an Italian meal or a farm picnic. Bill got a kick out of the enjoyment of people enjoying themselves.
Like the truest leader, Bill Bresnan knew what mattered most: Family first, and then Bill treated those who worked for him with utmost respect. He garnished a loyalty that, in business today, we may never see the likes of again.

In our business today, Marco Communications remembers Bill and honors his memory with those words. What Marco and I remember about Bill the most, was his ability to make the great man feel like an average Joe and the average Joe feel like a king."

*Joel Rudich, retired CEO, Coaxial Communications: "Truly one of the real good guys. All who knew him benefited."

*Bob Clasen, Starz LLC CEO: "For more than 35 years I knew Bill Bresnan as a competitor for franchises, a leader on industry issues, an aggressive Starz distributor, a devoted father and husband and a serious fan of Encore Westerns. In each role he was a class guy, treating every person he met with the same unfailing courtesy and respect. Liane and I send our deepest sympathies to his family.

*Matt Polka, American Cable Association president and CEO: "All of us at the American Cable Association are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Bill Bresnan, whose groundbreaking career as a cable industry pioneer will be long remembered by those who counted on Bill for guidance and inspiration. Bill was an extraordinary man who, as a small cable operator himself, recognized the contributions of independent operators to the ongoing growth of the industry. We appreciated the time and the opportunity all of us at ACA had to work with Bill and his team on issues of importance to all independent operators. Bill's leadership greatly enriched those of us who were fortunate enough to know him and learn from his example. Our deepest sympathies go out to Bill's wife, children, grandchildren, family and his co-workers on the loss of this truly decent and courageous man."

*Dr. Paul Liao, president and CEO of CableLabs: "Bill Bresnan was a well respected statesman and a true pioneer in our industry. A long-term member of the CableLabs board of directors, he had the admiration and affection of those who knew him. He will be deeply missed."

*Dick Green, former president and CEO of CableLabs: "Bill was my mentor and friend. As a fledgling CEO, he taught me the importance of perseverance and he was there to guide me when daunting and difficult decisions had to be made. His 21 years of advocacy and leadership on the CableLabs Board served the industry well. His direction helped us understand and address the needs of the smaller market companies. We are all grateful for his many contributions. We have lost a great human being, entrepreneur and friend."

*Kyle McSlarrow, president and CEO of National Cable & Telecommunications Association: *"Bill Bresnan was one of our industry's titans - an industry pioneer, visionary entrepreneur, and technology leader who built companies that always put employees and customers first. But his impact on our industry was immeasurable in many other ways. Bill set the standard for commitment to diversity, serving as a mentor to many rising cable executives, a friend to thousands of people across the business, and inspiring the work of diversity advocates and organizations throughout our industry. We're also deeply grateful for the leadership Bill demonstrated in establishing our industry's commitment to public service through his work in creating organizations such as C-SPAN and Cable in the Classroom.

"Bill was a trusted friend and mentor to me and many former and current NCTA employees," McSlarrow continued. "We offer our deepest sympathies to his wonderful wife, Ann; his family; the employees of his fine company, Bresnan Communications; and to all of those who worked with Bill throughout his long career."

*Larry Satkowiak, Cable Center CEO: "All of us at The Cable Center are deeply saddened by the passing of Bill Bresnan. Bill's vision, passion and leadership made the very existence of The Cable Center possible. Throughout our organization's history, Bill has always been there; giving generously of his time, his expertise and his financial resources. His numerous contributions to The Cable Center are apparent in every one of our educational programs and initiatives, and his recent helming of our chairman's campaign demonstrated his tireless commitment to, and belief in, The Cable Center's mission
"Yet for all of his great success in business, Bill will be remembered most for his kindness. He was committed to his family, his faith, his country and his fellow man. He was an early advocate of diversity and both personally and professionally supported the cable industry's diversity efforts," Satkowiak added. "Bill cherished the past, but he constantly looked toward the future by giving others the opportunity to achieve great things.

*Jeff DeMond, Bresnan Communications CEO: "Bill Bresnan hired good, smart people and lead by example. 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."

*Alan Gerry, cable pioneer and innovator:  "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."

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.

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