William Glen Gustafson – Colonel, United States Army

Former Cobb GOP chief dies at 75

23 February 2005

Bill Gustafson lived a life most people only dream about.He traveled the world as an officer in the Army, attended the coronation of the Shah of Iran, made presentations to members of the British House of Commons at Windsor Castle and served as a close adviser to members of Congress.

Even later in life, when he suffered from emphysema and other breathing problems related to smoking, Mr. Gustafson used his ailment as an example to others and a means to raise money for pulmonary rehabilitation. “He lived his life in a way that most people aspire to be,” daughter Shareen Newman said.

Colonel William Glen “Gus” Gustafson, 75, of Marietta died Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2005.

Services will be 1 p.m. March 5 at Mount Bethel United Methodist Church in east Cobb. A graveside service with full military honors is scheduled at 12:30 p.m. April 4 at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Born in Mattoon, Illinois, Mr. Gustafson graduated from The Citadel in 1952. He served on active duty for 30 years in the Army’s Infantry and Ordinance Corps, retiring in 1982 as a Colonel. He also received a master’s degree in contract and procurement management from Florida Institute of Technology and graduated from the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

While in the military, Colonel Gustafson served as a troop commander at every level through brigade and also served as a master parachutist, logistician and procurement officer. He also served on assignments in Austria, Germany, Vietnam, Iran, Thailand and Hawaii.

Colonel Gustafson served two tours of duty in Vietnam. Back in the states, he worked as director of management in the Office of the Chief of Staff of the Army.

After retiring from the military, Colonel Gustafson worked for the American Defense Preparedness Association in Washington, D.C., for Lockheed Aeronautical Systems Corp. in Marietta and as an independent contractor with Stover and Associates, where he taught and consulted on government procurement and contracting matters.

“He was such an amazing person and touched so many lives,” Ms. Newman said. “Everything he did, he did 110 percent.”

Colonel Gustafson served on the advisory committee to the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, on the Academy Review Committees of former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, on the Department of Defense National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves and as chairman and a member of Military Affairs Council of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.

Locally, Colonel Gustafson served three terms as chairman of the Cobb County Republican Party from 1991 to 1997 and served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1992.

Former state senator and Georgia Republican Party chairman Chuck Clay said Mr. Gustafson worked with his uncle when both were serving in the Vietnam War. Later, Mr. Gustafson served as chairman of the Cobb GOP at the same time Clay was running for and serving as a Republican state senator.

Clay described Mr. Gustafson as “a great guy that I think is a reminder that a smile and good manners and a quiet fortitude is what leadership is all about.”

“He exemplified it,” Clay said. “It would be well to remember that in this time of noise and fury.”

Survivors include his wife of 38 years, Bette Burt Gustafson; two daughters, Ms. Newman and Marie Christophersen; one son, Eric Gustafson; and three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Contributions may be made to The WellStar Foundation for Pulmonary Rehabilitation, 680 Church St., Suite 100, Marietta, Geogia 30060-1106.


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 08/06/1929
  • DATE OF DEATH: 02/22/2005

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