Cowtown Bus Charters President and Owner William Earl Pippin is being remembered for his passion for the bus business.
Pippin died on April 9 at age 66 in Fort Worth, Texas.
If he was in the room or in a meeting, you knew he was there, says friend Clint Guth, owner of Chelax Industries, a ground transportation consultancy.
“Bill’s distinct and raspy voice delivered well-constructed opinions,” Guth shared with Bus & Motorcoach News. “Some might even describe Bill’s voice as slightly crotchety, although Bill might disagree. I would imagine if I told Bill, ‘You sound crotchety today,’ he might reply, ‘I’m not mad, I’m just tired of telling people how they need to run their business after they didn’t learn the first time.‘“
He said Pippin was a sharp businessman who loved the motorcoach industry.
“Bill was passionate about the industry focusing on paying drivers a sustainable living, providing his customers a safe and reliable product, yet charging an appropriate amount commensurate to the risks associated with hauling 56 passengers,” Guth said.
“Bill was always willing to share ideas with the bus manufacturers on how they could create better motorcoaches for the industry, and he wasn’t afraid to jump in and solve problems for himself or others. Bill was 100% a creative problem solver.”
Entered industry to help his mom
Pippin was known to most as Bill or Pip. The native Texan learned hospitality in his first career. He started his career in the restaurant industry, taking a job with Mcdonald’s while attending the University of Texas at Arlington. He eventually went to work as a manager at Pizza Inn and “made the absolute best taco pizza,” according to his obituary.
When his mother, Lala, aka the bus lady, wanted to start her own business at the age of 61, Pip switched careers to help her navigate and grow their business Cowtown Bus Charters.
Pip was the guide, and with his savvy business sense, the company jump-started to more than what they ever could have imagined. When Lala died, the torch went to Pip. He worked hard to maintain and grow the company, based in Forest Hills, Texas, outside Fort Worth.
“His love and respect for his mom and the legacy she started made him strive to work diligently to keep thriving and growing, and he was very successful in doing just that,” his obituary said. “Pip was a teddy bear at heart, and not many people got to see that side of him. His No. 1 priority was his sister and her family and his Cowtown family.”
Survived tough times
He navigated some tough times at Cowtown that included three devastating floods and the pandemic, which shut the bus industry down.
“Through all of that and his gallant effort, Cowtown made it through and came out even stronger. Pip fought hard for his employees during the pandemic and did everything in his power to help them survive,” the obituary said. “His passing will leave a large void that will never be filled, and no one will be able to replace him. Pip was one of a kind.”
His sister, Brenda Cross, who has been involved in the business for many years and stepped up during his medical struggles, took over the business. She remains committed to the family legacy of operating a top-flight transportation company, Guth said.
Pippin was preceded in death by his mother, Lala, and father, Edgar. He is survived by his sister, Brenda Cross, her husband, Tony Cross, and his nephew, Parker Cross, all of Fort Worth; cousin Terry Pippin and his wife, Lisa; and his Cowtown Bus Charters family.