William Charles Dickerman|
8/28/1924 - 2/10/2013
William Charles Dickerman, who preferred to be called "Bill", passed away on Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 10:54 a.m. in a hospital Emergency Room at age 88 from severe complications related to a large growth on his pancreas discovered in a CT-scan performed just two days before. Bill's life condition was complicated and compromised by frontotemporal dementia that became evident in 2009 and had been slowly increasing in severity since then. For 15 years Bill had been taking warfarin blood thinner for a heart condition called atrial fibrillation.
Bill was pre-deceased by his father Ralph Weldon Dickerman, his mother Geraldine (nee Osborne), his sister Teresa Marie, his brother Ralph Jr, and his adopted son Charles Andrew. Bill is survived by two grand-daughters, Samantha McNellis and Sabrinia Davis from his son's marriage to the former Deborah Lahey, and her daughter Sabin Lahey from a previous marriage; also by several great-grand-children, and by his divorced wife Maria who subsequently remarried. Bill is also survived by several good and trusted friends who have shared in his life's joys and experiences for many wonderful years, especially his caregivers and guardians Gary G. Allison, Stephanie McGuire, and William Kozick, Jr., and his loving neighbors Susanna Brelsford, Joseph Hayes, Holly Otha, Bill Peck, Randall Stripling, and Tom Williams.
Known for his kindness, sophisticated sense of humor, and fun-loving spirit, Bill was also a very private person who particularly enjoyed spending quality time with close friends and associates. Starting in his teen years Bill became a vegetarian and maintained that dietary discipline his entire life. Bill was also a life-long fan and supporter of opera.
As a native Houstonian, Bill began his educational pathway at River Oaks Elementary school. Having had an early fascination with the art, science and techniques of communication while still in Lanier Middle School, Bill studied Morse code, shorthand, Braille, American sign language, and Esperanto. Starting in his high school years he practiced steno-typing and looked to court reporting as a potential career. After graduation from Lamar High School, Bill first served his country during WW2 by attending a special Japanese language, officer-candidate military intelligence training program at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He received his commission and was stationed in the Pacific region as an Army intelligence officer, debriefing Japanese prisoners and participating in military tribunals conducted in Japan.
After the war Bill returned to the University of Michigan to obtain his undergraduate and masters degrees in Linguistics, Far Eastern studies, and Latin Classical studies, he married his wartime sweetheart, and the couple returned to Japan on behalf of the U.S. government intelligence services to monitor and support post-war reconstruction activities. Bill returned to Ann Arbor to become a high school language instructor for Latin, French, Spanish, and German students. From Ann Arbor Bill returned to his birth city of Houston and taught languages at the college level at the University of Houston. In 1974 along with 59 other faculty and staff colleagues, Bill was invited to become a Charter Faculty Member of the newly created University of Houston - Clear Lake division from which he retired in 1987.
From the time of his marriage to someone whose parents were immigrants from Poland, Bill had a growing fascination with the structure, grammar, style, and particularly the verb endings of the Polish language, even traveling there to teach English to Polish high school students, and to simultaneously learn more about the Polish people, their culture, and how they use modern Polish idioms. Bill was also an avid proponent of the invented universal language called Esperanto and served for many years as the Houston representative for the International Esperanto Association.
After retirement from the University of Houston - Clear Lake, Bill moved from Clear Lake City up to the Mid Town section near downtown Houston and joined the editorial staff of Region IV Education Service Center of the State of Texas providing instruction materials in Braille for blind high school students. In 1980 Bill had been accepted as a Certified Braille Transcriber by The Library of Congress. Bill retired from Region IV in 1993 to relax and more fully enjoy the company of his friends and Houston's many arts offerings.
Bill's last wish was for cremation, joining his parents and siblings in what he considered a most sensible practice. Bill also expressed his wish not to have any kind of memorial service conducted on his behalf but instead requested that folks who knew him celebrate their lives with him in mind from time to time. Bill's post-autopsy remains will be sent to the Clayton Funeral Home, 5530 W. Broadway, Pearland TX 77581, 281-485-4446. On-line condolences may be left at www.ClaytonFuneralHomes.com. In lieu of traditional offerings, it is requested that donations be made to your local public library:
"In Memory of William Charles Dickerman of Houston, Texas, 8/28/1924 - 2/10/2013".
Published in Houston Chronicle on Feb. 13, 2013