When William R. “Bill” Wilmarth passed away on Jan. 14, 2020, at the age of 61, his loss was felt keenly by me and his many other colleagues and friends in the Savannah River National Laboratory, where he had been a researcher, manager and mentor for over 30 years.
Having grown up in Summerville, S.C., Bill earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Clemson and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, during which time he performed graduate research at the nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After graduation from UT, he joined SRNL.
Professionally, Dr. Wilmarth was well liked for his collegial manner toward everyone, both peer and subordinate, and he was well respected for his depth of scientific knowledge, incisive intellect and ability to articulate esoteric and original concepts persuasively. Over the years, those traits led to his being tapped by the Department of Energy to lead multiple technical teams comprising subject matter experts from across the country to address important scientific challenges. He could be counted on to produce sound scientific results, unadulterated by political or other concerns.
Personally, Bill was a dapper dresser, an avid golfer, a Clemson football fan and an engaged traveler. But only one thing seemed to make him happier than a scientific puzzle to solve, and that was, of course, his wife Robin, to whom he was devoted.
My colleague and friend Bill Wilmarth was an extraordinary human being and scientist, and he is greatly missed.
Sheryl Ross Bush