B. W. "Bill" Cole

Dec. 28, 2016

B.W. “Bill” Cole (MS CIV EGR ’63) Houston, Texas, died May 16, 2016, at the Anderson Cancer Center in Houston after a long battle with leukemia. He was 77.

He was born Feb. 17, 1939, in Noble Country, Indiana, the first of five children to James and Lydia Cole.

He played college basketball while earning a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, graduating in June of 1961. In September of 1961, he and Annette Slessman were married in Albion, Indiana, and moved to East Lansing, where they both completed degrees at Michigan State University in 1963.

With a master’s degree in structural engineering, he began his career at Bendix Corp. in South Bend. Their wheel and brake division had been working on the development of the landing gear for the first lunar landing module.

He went back to school for more advanced study at Notre Dame. For many years after that, he developed applications for the use of composite materials in the aerospace industry. In 1970, he moved his family to Chicago, where he took a position with Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute.

He then took a position with Amoco and began the reverse commute to their research campus in Naperville until he could move his family into the house that would be their home for the next 22 years. In 1997, Bill and Annette moved to Houston when Amoco moved their research group there.

When he retired from Amoco, he worked at the University of Houston developing applications using composite materials for other challenges, including developing standards for wind energy structures. He retired in January 2016.

A memorial service was held on June 1 at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas.

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