Bill Mains Obituary Collage 2.jpgMaster Engraver, William (Bill) Hugh Mains, 76, of Knightstown, IN, passed peacefully in Bandera, TX on Dec. 28, 2012. Born July 13, 1936 in Stroh, IN, he was preceded in death by his father, Hugh W., mother, Frances E. (Martindill) Mains, brother, Paul A. Mains, and middle daughter, Pamela S. Mains. He is survived by his sister, Margaret Coggeshall of Plant City, FL, daughters Robin E. Mains and Kimberly B. Mains-Agee, his three precious granddaughters, latter all of Mt. Juliet, TN, and numerous beloved nieces and nephews across the globe.
In 1946 Bill moved with his family to Davie, FL, where he attended grades 5 through 12, graduating from Fort Lauderdale High School Spring of 1954. Bill began his career by serving in goldsmith and watchmaker apprenticeship positions during high school. He went on to graduate in winter 1954 as a hand jewelry engraver from Bowman Technical School in Lancaster, PA. Following his draft notice in 1955 Bill entered the United States Air Force (USAF), serving in the Strategic Air Command (SAC) during the height of the Cold War; during this time he began hand-engraving guns. Following honorable discharge from the USAF (1963), Bill invented the Rotary Foot-Wheel Engraving Bench, resembling a potterís wheel with a lathe chuck on top, allowing him to create his renowned continuous-scroll style of hand engraving. After moving away from Davie, FL in 1962, Bill and his growing family lived south of Buffalo, NY area until 1974, when they relocated to Las Vegas, NV. In 2001 Bill moved his home base to Knightstown, IN, but he continued to travel the U.S. doing his craft on the gun club circuit as he so enjoyed, right up until his recent passing.
Bill has been the contracted factory engraver for several firearm manufacturers during his long career. He was the primary factory Colt engraver from 1967-1972, and is attributed in many books with having engraved more 2nd generation Colt Single Actions, than any other engraver. Most of Billís factory engraved colts are stamped with a small buffalo under the cylinder pin, as he was working out of Buffalo, NY at that time. He was also the factory engraver for the Ithaca Gun Company, engraving all of their Single Barreled Trap Guns and many others for the last eleven years of their production.
During Billís twenty-seven years in Las Vegas, NV, he engraved guns, jewelry, and other items for celebrities such as Elvis, Frank & Barbara Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Liberace, Steven Spielberg, Buddy Hackett, Wayne Newton, Shirley McClain, BB King, etc., famous boxers Ridick Bowe, the Spinks Brothers, Mike Tyson, Oscar de la Hoya, and prominent political figures, Lt Col Oliver North, and former leaders of Indonesia (Suharto) and Algeria (Boumedienne). Bill also engraved for thousands of private individuals through his long career and his work has been featured in numerous books and magazines.
Bill enjoyed a life of traveling, including regular stays at various gun clubs and trap shoots, meeting people and friends, old and new, always enjoying the work he loved - engraving. Not only was he an artisan well-respected and renowned across the globe, Bill also firmly owned the title of loving and devoted Father and Grandpa. Undoubtedly, even now, Bill is keeping busy-as-usual, engraving Heavensí streets of gold.
Funeral services will be held January 25th, 2012 at 11am (CST) at the Nashville National Cemetery, 1420 Gallatin Road South, Madison, TN 37115. (Service will begin at Administration Bldg.)
Thank you Guns & Ammo for featuring our father's work in your publication throughout the years of his career. Sincerely, Kimberly Mains-Agee (Bill's daughter)