Nathaniel Martin Bays Jr

April 18, 1941 ~ August 2, 2019

Born in: Johnson City, TN
Resided in: Johnson City, TN

N.M “Bill” Bays, Jr., loving husband, father, and grandfather, passed away Thursday, August 1, 2019, at his home in Johnson City, TN. He was 78. With his death, the world has lost a man with deep compassion for his family, church, country, and fellowman.

Bill was born on April 18, 1941 in Johnson City, TN, and lived his entire life in Tennessee, apart from time in active duty military service. His parents, N.M. Bays and Ada Bays, instilled the values that contributed to his success, which he passed along to his children: hard work, honesty, compassion, the value of family, caring for the underserved, and most importantly, a deep faith in God. His athletic participation in high school and college along with time spent serving his country deeply impacted his perspective on life, also leaving him with many lifelong friends.

In college Bill studied history, and while he never used his degree professionally, he retained a deep interest in both history and politics throughout his life. After graduating from East Tennessee State University, Bill joined his father in the family business, Bays Electronics.

Bill remained active in business for more than fifty years, expanding Bays Electronics—now in business for 73 years and known as Bays Media—and partnering with his father in the development of houses, apartment communities, and commercial real estate. He developed and maintained communities that provided many individuals with an environment to work, live, and enjoy time with family and friends.

Despite his numerous professional commitments, Bill was above all devoted to family, and a constant presence in their life. The death of his father in 1990 was particularly impactful, as they had a truly special relationship. He remained very close to his mother, whom he visited daily for both company and counsel, until her death in 2004. Bill cherished nightly family dinners, participating in the athletic and extracurricular events of his children, and engaging actively with his church. He was married to the love of his life, Pam, for 41 years. They delighted in each other’s company, and he frequently remarked how she was both a wonderful wife and mother. He also retained a special fondness for her cinnamon rolls.

As Bill’s health declined following his diagnosis with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), he most enjoyed spending time with Pam and his grandchildren. He often remarked how blessed both he and his family had been, and his five grandchildren were the apple of his eye.

As his physical strength deteriorated and communication became difficult, Bill continued to be deeply present in the lives of his family, frequently messaging to check in and provide advice and counsel. As a follower of Christ, in death he was liberated. He lived a long and honorable life. He was deeply loved, and will be missed.

Bill was preceded in death by his father, N.M. Bays; and his mother, Ada P. Bays. He is survived by his wife, Pamela; his son, Nathaniel M. Bays III and his wife, Erin Bays; his daughter, Mary Elizabeth and her husband, Nick Woodside; and his five grandchildren, Harper Bays, Carter Woodside, Wesley Woodside, Merritt Bays, and Lilliana Woodside. He is also survived by many other extended family members and special friends.
On Monday, August 5, from 5pm – 7pm, the family will hold visitation at First Christian Church in Johnson City, TN, followed by a service to celebrate Bill’s life at 7pm. A graveside service and burial will be held at 9:30am on Tuesday, August 6, at Monte Vista Memorial Park.

In place of flowers the family asks that memorial contributions be made to one of the following organizations, each of which retained a special meaning to Bill: The Well Ministry, P.O. Box 181, Johnson City, TN 37605; First Christian Church, 200 East Mountcastle Drive, Johnson City, TN 37601; Pleasant Beach Baptist Church Building Fund, 108 Pleasant Beach Road, Elizabethton, TN 37643; and Mountain View Baptist Church, 4005 Bristol Highway, Johnson City, TN 37601.


Visitation: August 5, 2019 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

First Christian Church of Johnson City
200 East Mount Castle Drive
Johnson City, TN 37601


Funeral Service: August 5, 2019 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

First Christian Church of Johnson City
200 East Mount Castle Drive
Johnson City, TN 37601


Committal Service: August 6, 2019 9:30 am - 10:00 am

Monte Vista Memorial Park
1900 East Oakland Avenue
Johnson City, TN 37601

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The family greatly appreciates donations made to these charities in Nathaniel Martin Bays's name.

Mountain View Baptist Church

4005 Bristol Highway
Johnson City , TN

Pleasant Beach Baptist Church Building Fund

108 Pleasant Beach Road
Elizabethton, TN

First Christian Church

200 E Mountcastle Dr
Johnson City , TN

The Well Ministry

P.O. Box 181
Johnson City, TN

Memories Timeline


  1. Nancy Morefield says:

    So sorry to hear of Cousin Billy’s passing. He was just like his dad. I am unable to attend his funeral due to health reasons , but I will keep you in our prayers. May God comfort you during this time and the days to come. Nancy Morefield

  2. Jim Martin says:

    Sorry to hear of Bill’s passing
    Can’t be with you but have you on my prayer list
    Asking God to give you and your family His Best
    Jim Martin

  3. Anita Artrip says:

    Pam and children, Bill and I are so blessed to have known Bill and you!! Bill especially enjoyed
    having you both in his Sunday School Class. We had so many wonderful times together as
    friends in Christ and having his class in our home. We will never forget the love we shared
    for our church life and our friendship. Our love is with each one of you.
    Sincerely, Bill and Anita Artrip

  4. Steve Jones says:

    My condolences to Pam and the family. I will be out of town and unable to attend the visitation. I always enjoyed speaking with Mr. Bays. – Steve Jones

  5. Jim/Clara Burrough says:

    Please accept our condolences on the passing of your loved one.
    Thinking of you in your time of sorrow.

  6. sonja fox says:

    Bill was a good and kind person..I remember when we had the political office there and got to
    introduce him to Wonder Woman…His smile said it all..He will be missed by sooo many people, but heaven will be brighter….My prayers for friends and family

  7. Becky Terry says:

    Brent and I were so sorry to hear about Bill’s passing. We rejoice knowing that he is not suffering any longer, but we know all of you are going to miss him. We send our sympathy and love to all of you.
    Brent and Becky Terry

  8. sandra hodge says:

    Pam, we are so sorry about the loss of Bill. Know what a fine man he was and how fortunate he was to have had such a special lady as his wife. Cherish your memories

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