Bill was born on June 30, 1926, in Findlay, Ohio. His parents were Thomas and Maude Figley. Thomas became a school teacher at the age of 17, and taught for well over 70 years. He was loved by children and parents alike. He taught every year until his death at the age of 91. Maude worked as a legal secretary and a substitute teacher.
Bill was an only child who began piano lessons at the age of 5 1/2 years.
As a 5th grader, he was the substitute pianist for the High School Play (called into action when the regular pianist became ill).
Bill began playing “by ear” (without music) while in high school, and performs nearly every concert without a written note of music.
He married his high school sweetheart, Sharyn Atha Figley, and proudly raised 6 children, 3 sons and 3 daughters.
Bill broke his right hand in several places in an accident during the 70s. He had a long recovery process, but continued to practice faithfully – even with the pins in his hand, and though he could only play the piano one finger at a time for a while.
He played piano and keyboard for the Champaign Follies in the late 1990s, and was featured as the lead instrumentalist in Eddie’s Dixieland Band from Springfield, Ohio.
He had a serious bout with cancer in the mid-90’s. Still, he could be heard playing the Grand Piano in the Cancer Division at Riverside Hospital in Columbus – still hooked up to his I.V. He brought a much needed dose of joy to his fellow residents.
Bill began playing the piano professionally at the age of 68. He has nearly 1000 songs in his repertoire, most are his own arrangements. He plays with incredible energy and with a unique style that has no one can imitate.
He began his solo recording career at the age of 81, in 2007.
Bill often plays for churches, hospitals, assisted living centers, and social events. He plays within a 70 mile radius of his home in west central Ohio. It is not unusual for Bill to log 250 or more gigs in a calendar year.
Bill’s musical ability, like the finest cheeses from the Alps of Switzerland, only gets better with age.
He is living proof that you are never too old to dream!