Bill Sheffield was the governor of Alaska during a period of time in the 1980s. A member of the Democratic Party, his best-known legislative accomplishment is perhaps the consolidation of Alaska's time zones.

But Sheffield's gubernatorial tenure would largely be defined by controversy and scandal. So much so that he was very nearly impeached. More recently, his health had been in a long state of decline. And now onlookers and historians are left to discuss and debate Sheffield's legacy.

Passed away on November 4, 2022

Bill Sheffield has died, report Alaska Public Media and Antelope Valley Press.

Sheffield had reportedly been battling dementia. He was apparently at his home located in Anchorage at the time of his passing.

Sheffield was elected governor of Alaska in a three-way race in 1982. Incumbent Republican Governor Jay Hammond was term-limited from running for governor in another consecutive election. In 1982, Sheffield prevailed over Republican former State House Speaker Tom Fink and Libertarian State Representative Richard L. Randolph. During the 1978 election cycle, he considered a gubernatorial run then. But that ended when his wife, Lee, was diagnosed with cancer, from which she later died.

Shortly after taking office, Sheffield pushed through a bill that cut the amount of Alaskan time zones to two.

Prior to that, Alaska worked under four separate ones. The vast majority of the state would fall under what would become known as the Alaska Time Zone. Which falls one hour behind Pacific Time. A small part of the state's far west is another hour behind, sharing a time zone with Hawaii.

The time zone changes were not very popular.

But as the years have gone on, they've been viewed in a more positive light. However, Sheffield's administration would be embroiled in a series of negative headlines. Including a number of them about himself personally.

The most damaging of which came in 1985. A grand jury accused Sheffield of improperly trying to influence a $9 million contract in favor of a political ally.

It would trigger impeachment proceedings against Sheffield. Ultimately culminating in a formal condemnation of his actions by the Alaska Senate, but not an impeachment.

In 1986, Sheffield was defeated for re-election in the Democratic primary by former State Representative Steve Cowper. Cowper then went on to win the general election.

Following his time as governor, Sheffield served as chairman of the Alaska Railroad Board of Directors for several years. He was later named as the company's chief executive officer.

Was a hotel entrepreneur

Bill Sheffield was a native of Spokane, Washington. He later served in the United States Army Air Corps and attended DeVry University in Naperville, Illinois.

Eventually, he was employed as a salesman by Sears.

It was in this role that he was sent to the Alaska Territory in 1953. He quickly became enamored with the region and a few years later it was granted statehood. He also created Sheffield Enterprises, a hospitality business that included nearly 20 hotels. Holland America Line, best-known for its cruises, bought Sheffield Enterprises in the 1980s.