Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Students
Series 19: STUDENTS
George William Tye (Bill Tye), 1943-1946


05_2441 Graduating Class of 1946. Front row: Millard Selvey, David Martin, Lester Centers, Frank Richards, Jerry La Rue. Genella Boggs, Nelle Jones, Hazel Winters, Billy Tye, Birdie Miniard, Evelyn Ayers, Dr. Clark Bailey, Maxine Moses, Colleen Day, Glen Brown, Jeanette Lucas, Faye Trail. [098_IX_students_05_2441003.jpg]

TAGS: George William Tye, Bill Tye, Billy Tye, Billie Tye, G. William Tye, PMSS students, student appraisal letters, The Pine Cone, Sylvia Rose Tye, Berea College, Arthur Dodd, U.S. Air Force, Burton Rogers, Florida State University “Bootstrap” program, University of Kentucky, University of Maryland Overseas Program, PMSS homecoming newsletters 

As a student at Pine Mountain Settlement School in the 1940s, George William Tye, better known as Bill or Billy Tye, must have left quite an impression on teachers and fellow students. When he was admitted to Pine Mountain as a freshman, his tests showed that his achievements were well past ninth grade, the first year of high school. Consequently, he was promoted immediately to tenth grade.

Bill exhibited his keen intelligence when the work was interesting, such as current and American history, economics, and English. It was then that he excelled without much effort, delighting the teachers who found him challenging and refreshing. 

But there were times when he frustrated his teachers. If the class or work duty didn’t interest him, he performed poorly, particularly in areas that required practical application, such as, woodworking classes or auto mechanics. Instead, he worked slowly and carelessly, had difficulty in focusing, and distracted others with his chatter.

Years later, his classmates still remembered his tendency to be talkative. In the 1981 newsletter for the Pine Mountain Association of Alumni and Friends, Mattie Ellen Ayers Hayes wrote about the time Bill was asked to give a Chapel talk at the 1981 Homecoming:

“A lot of Bill’s friends might remember that he was and still is, a long-winded type of fellow. His former roommates recall that at night they were afraid to even grunt, so as to discourage him from taking off on another long subject. So, he was allowed twenty minutes to give his talk and if he had exceeded that, the rest of us had made a secret pact to silently get up and file out!”

In any case, Bill respected his teachers, easily accepting their criticism, and was congenial with his fellow students who enjoyed his ebullience and playfulness. According to one of the Principal’s appraisal letters to Bill’s parents, dated December 20, 1944, “He is well liked by everyone and his election to the Citizenship Committee is an honor….” Bill remained on the Committee for the next two years, proudly writing to his parents that “I received Full Citizenship, the highest citizenship rating the school offers to its students.” He also expressed pride in another extra-curricular accomplishment: “In the journalism class I was asked to serve as editor of the school paper, The Pine Cone, a position of which I was really proud and felt highly honored at being chosen.”

Indeed, Bill took pride in Pine Mountain Settlement School in general:

“The students here are bound together by strong cords of harmony and amity. This is very valuable to each student as it has a great deal to do with molding one’s character and making him a better citizen. … [He was most impressed with] the way visitors react when examining the campus and school activities. Sometimes aloof at first, the simple friendliness of the students and workers soon melts the ice and they become one of us.” 

In 1945 Bill was finishing his junior year of high school at Pine Mountain and, possibly anxious to focus on his preferred subjects, applied to Berea College in Berea, Kentucky. However, the School principal, Arthur Dodd, encouraged Bill to withdraw and complete his senior year at Pine Mountain, explaining that

“We make every effort to keep a student who has been accelerated one year until he has gotten his diploma from Pine Mountain, and usually do not accelerate a student unless we are pretty certain he wishes to finish here.”

About this time, Bill’s sister, Sylvia Rose Tye, who had also been attending Pine Mountain, withdrew from the School, although, according to Bill, her parents were urging her to return. 

GEORGE WILLIAM TYE: After Pine Mountain

Bill re-applied to Berea College in the spring 1946, when he was close to graduating from Pine Mountain. But later that summer he reported to Mr. Dodd that he had received a scholarship to the University of Kentucky in Lexington and would be attending in the fall. “I have been working all summer and with my earnings and the scholarship I don’t think that I will have too much trouble with finances.”

The next time the School heard anything about Bill Tye was in June 1957 when Bill was serving in the United States Air Force. The education advisor in the Office of Education Services at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida asked then-director Burton Rogers for Tye’s transcripts, as he was currently attending Florida State University’s “Bootstrap” program. In a February 1958 letter, Tye, now a USAF First Lieutenant (later a Major), asked the School to complete an application for admission to the University of Maryland’s Overseas Program. A final request for Bill’s transcripts came in March 1959 from the Commandant of the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio.

The last item in Bill’s file in the PMSS Collections was a memo dated June 22, 1961, likely written by an office staff member to Burton Rogers. 

 “George William Tye was here with his family, sorry to have missed you. He is now at the Univ. of Maryland…expects to be transferred to California. He asked about many people, most of whom I didn’t know, but I gave him Mrs. (Alice Joy) Keith’s, Miss (Edith) Cold’s and Jim Bishop’s California addresses. He talked to Brit (Wilder), and the family had a picnic lunch here.”

GEORGE WILLIAM TYE Student: PMSS Homecomings

Evidently, Bill attended at least three of the PMSS Homecomings in the early 1980s. At the 1981 homecoming, he gave the Sunday morning talk in the Chapel. According to the Homecoming newsletter, “[h]e spoke about Mental Hygiene and how we are in control by being realistic, choosing the best alternatives open to us and accepting responsibilities. He closed with a heartfelt tribute to the staff at Pine Mountain while he was a student.” 

For the 1983 newsletter, he wrote a narrative about the 1983 homecoming, beginning with the statement: “I had intended for this article to be witty and humorous, but it is hard to be humorous about something which carries such deep feelings as our relationship to Pine Mountain.” He then described his observations at the 1983 homecoming, including the fun he and his fellow alumni had cleaning up the School House during “work day” on the School campus. 

In the 1984 newsletter, Mattie Ellen Hayes described the success of that year’s homecoming: “Even Bill Tye’s golf joke got funnier with each telling. I think he comes to keep us in good cheer anyway!” 

By 1986, “Dr. George W. Tye,” then vice-president of the Alumni Association, was elected president of the organization. He was described in the Homecoming newsletter as “Still gorgeous too, a practicing psychiatrist after retirement from the military. Still the life of the party.” (A letter that Bill submitted to the Ruth Shuler Dieter Appreciation Album indicated that the name of his practice was Central Reality Therapy, located in Broadway, Illinois.)

GEORGE WILLIAM TYE: Family Background

George William Tye was born on July 19, 1929, in Youngs Creek, Whitley County, Kentucky, to George Earl Tye and Beulah Frances Tye. As of the 1940 U.S. Census, Bill had two younger sisters, Sylvia Rose Tye (Sadler), age 8, and Mildred (Micki?) Joyce Tye, age 6. A third sister, Virginia Ann, was born c. 1937. Beulah was born in Kentucky and George Earl in Oklahoma.

George Earl was listed in the 1940 Census as a mechanic in a car shop. Three years later, Bill’s student application indicated that his father was a coal inspector. Both parents had completed eight elementary school grades and the father ended his schooling after one year of high school. They were very much in favor of Bill’s desire to pursue of a college education.

Bill married Evelyn Pope (1924-1991) in 1947 and later, Irene S. Tye (1947-2009). He had several children, including Paula Denise Tye (1957-1979), Thomas, Deborah, and Leslie.


George William (“Bill”) Tye died on October 20, 2008, in The Villages, Florida, at the age of 79. 

See Also:
CONIFER 1945 – Includes three poems by Bill Tye.

JOHN H. DEATON Unlicensed Dreamers – See “Deaton’s Dilemma,”
a narrative that features Bill Tye.

NOTE: The VIDEO HOLDINGS Guide lists videos of former PMSS staff, students, and events that reside in the PMSS Collections. George William Tye is featured in two of them:
#10 Grace Rood and Alumni Group 3 (Jack Martin, George “Billy” Tye, ?) 1987.
#13 George “Billy” Tye (1988?) – George Tye talks about his years at Pine Mountain during the Boarding School days and his assignment on various work crews. He discusses his relationship with various roommates and classmates and describes his life following graduation from Pine Mountain.


George William Tye

Alt. Title

G.W. Tye ; Bill Tye ; Billy Tye ; Billie Tye ; G. William Tye ; 




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

George William Tye ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; G.W. Tye ; Bill Tye ; Billy Tye ; Billie Tye ; PMSS students ; student appraisal letters ; The Pine Cone ; Sylvia Rose Tye ; Berea College ; Arthur Dodd ; U.S. Air Force ; Burton Rogers ; Florida State University “Bootstrap” program ; University of Kentucky ; University of Maryland Overseas Program ; PMSS homecoming newsletters ;  

Subject LCSH

Tye, George William, — July 19, 1929 – October 20, 2008.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.


2021-05-07 aae


Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY




Collections ; text ; image ;


Original and copies of documents and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet


Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Students and Series 19: STUDENTS.




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Students and Series 19: STUDENTS.

Coverage Temporal

1929 – 2008

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Liggett, KY ; Oklahoma ; Williamsburg, KY ; New York, NY ; Lexington, KY ; Berea, KY ; Englin Air Force Base, FL ; Tallahassee, FL ; College Park, MD ; Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio ; Youngs Creek, Whitley County, KY ; The Villages, FL ; 


Any display, publication, or public use must credit the Pine Mountain Settlement School. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.




Core documents, correspondence, writings, and administrative papers of George William Tye ; clippings, photographs, books by or about George William Tye ;




“[Identification of Item],” [Collection Name] [Series Number, if applicable]. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.

Processed By

Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;

Last Updated

2021-06-04 aae ;  2023-10-21 aae ;



Find a Grave, database and images ( george-william-tye : accessed 2021-05-07), memorial page for George William Tye (19 Jul 1929–20 Oct 2008), Find a Grave Memorial ID 38832149, citing Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell, Sumter County, Florida. Internet resource.

“George Tye.” Obituary from Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services, The Villages, FL. (Accessed 2021-05-07. Internet Resource.

GEORGE WILLIAM TYE Correspondence 1943-1946 ; GEORGE WILLIAM TYE Correspondence 1957-1961 ; ALUMNI RELATIONS Guide ; PINE CONE Index ; Series 09: Biography – Students & Series 19: Students.Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

“United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch  ( 084701 : accessed 2021-05-05, Kentucky > Harlan > Magisterial District 1 > 48-12 Magisterial District 1 SE of Left Fork of Catron Creek and Catron Creek and SW of Pansy-Smith Rd, Liggett-Stanfield (part), Yancey (part) > image 9 of 28; citing Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. National Archives and Records Administration, 2012. Internet resource.

See Also:
GEORGE WILLIAM TYE Correspondence 1943-1946
GEORGE WILLIAM TYE Correspondence 1957-1961

GEORGE WILLIAM TYE Student Records – Password Protected.
NOTE: Images of the full set of student records are considered private material and are not generally publicly displayed. Their access may be provided on request, pending approval of Pine Mountain Settlement School and the archivist of the PMSS Collections. Contact the main PMSS Office for information.

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