Bill Plater Who Played "Cactus Pete" on WSIL Dead At 86

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By WSIL Manager

MARION - One of the first staff members here at WSIL has passed away at the age of 86.    Bill Plater was known for his on-air character "Cactus Pete." He died Friday night in Marion. Plater was Cactus Pete for 16 years and also played "Ruffles the Clown" and "The Cartoon Man."

You can watch some of the rare footage of Cactus Pete featuring Bill Plater here.

He started as the art director for the station when it first went on the air in 1953.  The visitation for Plater will be this Tuesday from 5 to 6  p.m. at the Blue Funeral Home in Marion followed by a service.

He was born on August 10, 1927 in Vienna.  He was the son of William Garrett and Ruby K. (Travis) Plater. He married Susan K. (Payne) McGill on December 28, 1991 in Anna. She survives of Marion.

He was a US Navy Veteran of WWII and served in the Army Counter Intelligence Corp during the Korean Conflict.

He was a graduate of Southern Illinois University- Carbondale. Following graduation, he worked for the St. Louis Globe Democrat as writer and staff artist.

Leaving TV, he established Plater Printing Harrisburg and ran the business for 18 years. Following this, he and his wife established Graphics Galore, a sign and trophy shop in Marion, which they operated for 8 years.

In semi-retirement, he and his wife originated a promotional product business “The Idea Shop” on the internet and in Marion.  In his spare time he enjoyed reading different newspapers, drawing, painting, gardening and yard work.


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