Cather was the son of Alonzo Heath and Jennie Pearl (Johnson) Cather of Birmingham. During his childhood the family lived in Norwood, and later moved to Malaga Avenue in Hollywood (and even later to Mountain Brook near Pump House Road). He was a member of Boy Scout Troop 82 at Canterbury United Methodist Church and graduated from Shades Cahaba High School where he played quarterback on the football team and shortstop on the baseball team.
Cather attended the University of Alabama and played on the freshman football team and pledged the Chi Phi fraternity. He also played semi-professional baseball for the Anniston Rams. He left the university to enlist in the U.S. Army in 1941 and was trained as a B-25 pilot. Before he went overseas he married the former Virginia Ritchie.
Cather was deployed to New Guinea in May 1942 and was promoted to Captain in the 501st "Black Panther" squadron of the 345th Bomb Group. He flew fifty-one combat missions and was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster. He later wrote and published an account of the 345th's unescorted raid on Rabaul, New Britain on October 18, 1943 and has compiled the war records of other veterans from Homewood.
After the war ended, Cather joined the commercial printing division of the publishing firm founded by his grandfather in 1860. He started out as a Linotype operator and was an active member of the International Typographical Union. He also played Industrial Leagues baseball with the Bradford Mine team.
He and his wife Virginia raised two sons, Bill Jr and Patrick. He co-founded the Homewood Little League and was an active member and steward of Trinity United Methodist Church and long-time member of the Homewood Lions Club.
Cather was widowed in 1989 and remarried, in 2001, to Dorothy Farmer, who died in 2004. Cather retired from business in 2005 and spent his final years at Brookdale Senior Living and AlaCare Hospice Care. He died in May 2016 and was survived by his two sons, three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He is buried at Elmwood Cemetery.
- "William Heath (Bill) Cather Sr." obituary (May 4, 2016) The Birmingham News