Theodore J. Williams, 89
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Theodore J. Williams, 89, died on April 27, 2013, at University Place in West Lafayette. A recognized leader in industrial process control and computer integrated manufacturing, he joined the faculty of Purdue University in 1965 and retired in 1994 as Professor Emeritus of Engineering and Director Emeritus of the Purdue Laboratory for Applied Industrial Control. He received bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from Penn State, and a master's degree in electrical engineering from Ohio State. He was the author or co-author of 10 books, 483 technical papers, and 213 technical reports. He served as president of the International Society of Automation (ISA), president of the American Federation for Information Processing Societies (AFIPS), and president of the American Automatic Control Council (AACC). He was also chairman of the Automation Research Council, a national body funded by the National Science Foundation. He served as consultant to national and governmental bodies in Argentina, Australia, Chile, England, Finland, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Norway, the People's Republic of China, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.
During World War II, Dr. Williams served in the Pacific on B-24s as a navigator in the 531st squadron of the 380th Bombardment Group (H).He flew 36 missions, including 23 combat missions, in 1943 and 1944. He was decorated with the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters. He retired from the Air Force in 1956 with the rank of captain. Reflecting his interest in the shared experiences of those who served in WWII, Dr. Williams was president of the 380th Bomb Group Association, now a veterans organization, from 1999 to 2006. Along with Barbara J. Gotham, he was author of two volumes concerning the history of the 380th entitled We Went to War. In the 1970s he was invited to sail on the USS PREBLE from San Diego to Pearl Harbor to observe and learn about Navy weapons systems and the opportunity to automate certain functions. He was also a past president of the Indiana Society Sons of the American Revolution.
Dr. Williams' wife of 65 years, Isabel McAnulty Williams, died in 2012. He is survived by his children: Theodore J. Williams Jr. and wife, Sherri, of St. Louis; Mary Williams and husband, Michael Lenehan, of Chicago; Charles A. Williams and wife, Jody, of West Lafayette, and Elizabeth Williams McPherson and husband, Neil, of Laramie, Wyoming; eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; two sisters and a brother. He will be buried in Blairsville, Pennsylvania next to his wife.
Published in the Journal & Courier from Apr. 29 to Apr. 30, 2013