William McNeill

January 1st, 1930November 5th, 2019

     William McNeill was born on January 1st, 1930 in Evanston, Illinois. In 1932, his family moved from Chicago to the nearby town of Skokie. He grew up there and in 1947 graduated from Niles Township High School. He won a full-tuition scholarship to Colgate University, which he attended from 1947 to 1951, graduating with a BA degree and Honors in Chemistry. He and his wife Caryl moved to Philadelphia, where he had been hired by the U. S. Army to work as a research chemist in the Pitman-Dunn Laboratories at Frankford Arsenal. His work at the Arsenal included research on electrochemical processes, the synthesis and properties of a number of inorganic materials, and systems and materials for protection against military lasers.

     Starting in 1952, he attended classes at the Temple University Evening Graduate School, receiving an MA in Inorganic Chemistry in 1955, and a PhD in Physical Chemistry in 1961. During this time he received a number of promotions including several to supervisory positions: Chief of the Ceramics Research Group; Chief of the Physical Chemistry Section; and Director of the Applied Science Laboratory.  He published more than fifty government reports and scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and was awarded eleven patents. In 1975, he transferred to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal in Denver, Colorado, where he held the position of Chief Scientist, Chief of the Environmental Division, and Director of Technical Operations, responsible for the operation of the industrial plants, two chemical analysis laboratories and the Environmental Program. He directed a staff of about 100 scientist, engineers and technicians.

     When he left Federal Service in 1985, he was employed by the Battelle Memorial Institute to develop an environmental consulting organization in Denver. This operation grew to a staff of 28 employees and was bought by Science Applications International Corporation in 1991. Dr. McNeill served as manager of the organization and as program manager of task order contracts for site characterization and remedial planning studies on fifteen Air Force, Army and Dept. of Energy installations. When he retired from full-time employment in 1995, he was retained by several law firms to prepare reports of expert testimony in environmental litigation cases.

He had many interests besides his career in science. On was woodworking. During his college years he was a member of the Carpenters Union and in the summers, worked as a carpenter in home construction. In later years he built many cabinets, tables, bookcases and game boards from various woods. He also enjoyed travel and had been to 48 of the 50 United States, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Cost Rica, Panama, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, the Galapagos, Easter Island, the Falkland Islands and Antarctica. He visited Australia and New Zealand, made two trips to China, and traveled extensively in Europe, to the British Isles, Svalbard, Norway, Denmark Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, France and Italy. He also enjoyed volunteer work, teaching geography to second-graders.

     He was always a devoted family man.  He and his wife Caryl had two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret, but sadly Caryl developed severe diabetes and passed away in 1969. The following year he met and married Caecila Cinquanto and they were very much in love throughout their married life until her death in May of 2019. At the time of his death on November 5th, he was 89 years old. He is survived by his daughters and sister-in-law Linda Clark, along with many close friends whom he always treasured.