William John Graff Jr., 86, of Conway, passed away Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009, at his home.
He was born May 10, 1923, in Marshall, Texas, son of Ethel Kearns Graff and William John Graff. He was also preceded in death by wife, Jean Westmoreland Graff; and a daughter, Becky Byland.
He is survived by his wife, Ruby Brock Graff of Conway; his children, Judy Ellis and her husband Craig Ellis, of Fort Collins, Colo., Cindy Ellis and her husband E. B. Ellis, of Littleton, Colo.; son-in-law, Warren Byland of Dallas, Texas; and grandchildren, William Byland of Dallas, Texas, E. B. Ellis Jr., David Ellis and Jack Ellis, of Littleton, Colo.
Dr. Graff graduated from Marshall High School, earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in mechanical engineering from Texas A & M University and his Ph.D. degree in civil engineering from Purdue University.
He was an instructor in machine design at Purdue University, senior propulsion engineer and nuclear group engineer at General Dynamics in Fort Worth, Texas, professor and chairman of mechanical engineering at Southern Methodist University, dean of instruction and dean of academic administration at Texas A & M University, professor of civil engineering at University of Houston’s Cullen College of Engineering, taught structural engineering as a Fulbright Scholar at Aalborg University Centre in Aalborg, Denmark, studying offshore structures in the North Sea environment, and is a retired professor emeritus from University of Houston’s Cullen College of Engineering. He taught engineering at University of Boulder in Colorado and worked nine summers in conceptual design of space structures/capsules at Johnson Space Center.
He is the author of "Introduction to Offshore Structures: Design, Fabrication, Installation" which was published in June 1981.
He was a member of the Masons (33rd degree), a devout Christian (lifelong member of Presbyterian and Methodist churches), and currently a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Conway.
He was a member and past president of American Society of Civil Engineers in Houston, Texas, American Society of Civil Engineers, Tau Beta Pi, Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Xi, Pi Tau Sigma (Mechanical Engineering), Chi Epsilon (Civil Engineering).
He volunteered in jail ministry in Houston and Conway and volunteered at Conway Regional Medical Center once a week.
He was a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and served during World War II.
His interests included restoring Model T cars, and he was president of Space City Model T Club in Houston.
Contributions to charities in his name may be made to the First Presbyterian Church Building Fund, Operation Smile and foreign missions of your choice.
Funeral services will be Friday at 3 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Conway, the Rev. Drew Travis officiating. Graveside services will be Saturday at 3 p.m. at Greenwood Cemetery in Marshall, Texas.
Visitation will be Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at Roller-McNutt Funeral Home in Conway.
Online guest book: www.rollerfuneralhomes.com