William Minkler


3:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Thursday, September 1, 2022
Warchol Funeral Home
3060 Washington Pike
Bridgeville , Pennsylvania, United States

Funeral Service

11:00 am
Friday, September 2, 2022
St. Andrrew's Episcopal Church
5801 Hampton St.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

Obituary of William S. Minkler

William S. Minkler, 87, of Bethel Park, PA, died Tuesday, August 23, 2022. Bill was preceded in death by his beloved wife Beatrice. Survivors include children Tom (Los Angeles), Don (Carolyn, St. Louis), Margie (Eric, Squirrel Hill), and Sharon Richardson (Shawn, Orlando), grandchildren Danielle Storts, Sarah Minkler, Angelo and Daniel Goldberg, Shawny and Sharissa Richardson, and greatgrandchild Charlotte Storts. Bill was born in Pittsburgh March 29, 1935. His father worked for Westinghouse, and Bill was a “Westinghouse Brat”, living in 9 different cities in his first 15 years as his dad transferred around the country. Bill loved doing this and learned lots of geography. The family settled in Pittsburgh in 1950 and Bill has been here ever since. He graduated from Mt. Lebanon High School as valedictorian in 1952, won the Pittsburgh Press Writing Contest that year (the prize was a typewriter), and attended Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) for 7 years, earning a BS, MS, and PhD in Mechanical Engineering, then spent his 42-year career at the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin. Among other things, Bill worked on equipment for the Nautilus (SSN571), the first nuclear submarine, and for the Shippingport Atomic Power Station, the first commercial nuclear station. Starting in 1967, Bill taught full-time in the Bettis Reactor Engineering School and wrote the textbooks for his four courses. The textbooks were written with a light, humorous touch. Not everyone approved of that. (“Humor has no place in engineering” said one manager, but the students and most people enjoyed it.) Bill was also an Organist and Choir Director for 25 years at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Peters Township. He was serious about the classical repertoire but added a light touch here, too, that did not please everyone. (For example, softly playing Gershwin’s “Of Thee I Sing, Baby” after his son Don was baptized.) Starting in 1968, Bill wrote a humorous column called “Backscatter” on the back page of Nuclear News Magazine published by the American Nuclear Society. In 2002, the Society published a book of his collected columns called “The Best of Bill Minkler.” In 1996, Bill and his wife Bea fell in love with the Little Green Machine Marching Band at South Fayette High School and became big fans of the music, sports, students, and everything else in the school district. Their retirement years were enjoyed attending South Fayette events, visiting children, and traveling the country on Amtrak. Friends and family will be received at Warchol Funeral Home, 3060 Washington Pike, Bridgeville PA 15017 on Thursday, Sept.1 from 3-7 p.m. A Memorial Service will be held Friday Sept. 2 at 11 a.m. at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 5801 Hampton St. in Pittsburgh’s Highland Park neighborhood, Pittsburgh, PA 15206 (EVERYONE PLEASE MEET AT CHURCH). In lieu of flowers, donations will be appreciated to South Fayette Foundation for Excellence (c/o South Fayette High School, 3640 Old Oakdale Rd., McDonald PA 15057) or Friends of Music at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.
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