Billy Garner Obituary, Former Project Manager For Ethylene Glycol Plant In Red Deer, Alberta Has Sadly Passed Away

Billy Garner Obituary, Death Cause – BILLY JACK GARNER, 85, of Charleston, WV died peacefully at home on Saturday, March 30. His devoted wife of 59 years, Patricia “Pat” Garner, and daughters were by his side. Bill was born on September 21, 1938 in Richards, Texas, and grew up in company communities along the Magnolia pipeline. Following the death of his father in 1949, the family moved to Baytown, Texas. The bright-eyed child was easy to like, and he found willing mentors in the Methodist Men and his Scoutmasters. His varied jobs included a paper route and putting up pins at a bowling alley. To keep the family Studebaker operating, he removed the engine and rebuilt it. As an Eagle Scout, he frequently discussed taking the train to the 1953 Boy Scout Jamboree in Irvine, California.

Bill shown an early ability for physics and arithmetic, and in 1956 he received the Bausch & Lomb Science Award at Robert E. Lee High School. With his summer earnings, he proudly attended Texas A&M, becoming the first member of his family to graduate from college. He was a true Aggie, majoring in Chemical Engineering and serving in the Corps of Cadets and the Ross Volunteers. His daughters and grandchildren enjoyed his passionate stories about detonating Bab-O bombs and flooding a rival dorm. They were also amazed with his complete recollection of college-level information. After graduation, he served in the United States Air Force from 1961 to 1964. After one year at Glasgow AFB in Montana, he informed his commanding officer, “Send me anywhere, as long as it’s warm!” His next posting was in Tucson, where he met Patricia Ann English, an Oklahoma country girl turned English teacher who shared his ideals and was up for an adventure. They married on New Year’s Eve 1964 and relocated to Pittsburgh, where Bill acquired a master’s degree in Industrial Hygiene, and then to Texas, where he joined Union Carbide and earned a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M.

Throughout his 35-year career, Bill was instrumental in growing plastics production. An early effort, completed while he and Pat were expecting their third daughter, was to develop an unusually large polyethylene reactor. The excitement of bringing this reactor online, which was six times larger than anything already on the market, was comparable to an Apollo rocket launch. After the family moved to Charleston, West Virginia, Bill wrote the process design manual and traveled the world to license the technology to overseas clients. During those years, when his girls asked, “Where’s Dad?” Pat would respond, “He’s been in Australia all week.” He steadily headed the Tech Center’s R&D Division and pilot plant for many years until retiring as Project Manager of the era’s largest ethylene glycol plant in Red Deer, Alberta. He owns five patents for process advancements.

Bill purchased a share in a 23-foot Westerly sailboat in his midlife, when others may have purchased a sports vehicle. When he put his hand on the tiller, he smiled, and Pat and the girls tagged along. Many a family vacation was spent cruising the waters of Chesapeake Bay aboard the Laughing Gull. When she looks back, she says: “Everyone needs a little hardship in their lives, and you girls would not know hardship if not for that boat!” Later, he and Pat upgraded to a Sabre yacht, persuaded friends to make overnight trips to Mexico and the Bahamas, and hosted numerous visitors throughout the winter in Florida. Captain Bill and First Mate Pat stayed aboard the Monk trawler for nine months while completing the Great Loop. Bill, a longtime Methodist, has attended Christ Church United Methodist for almost 50 years. He was a Trustee for many of them and left two legacies: the stained-glass windows in the sanctuary and Pat’s Playground, a 20-year labor of love that demonstrated that no one could solve a problem like Bill Garner.

Bill, a loving father, adored his three kids and attended countless ballet and piano recitals. He believed strongly in education and supported his grandchildren’s 529 plans and scholarships at Texas A&M; his chest puffed out for everyone he advised to become an engineer. He treasured his Lone Star heritage and was overjoyed to learn that he was a fifth-generation Texan. He was a skilled connector who demonstrated how to form and maintain long-term friendships. He provided his seven grandkids with fond memories of tractor rides, trips to College Station, Granddad embraces, and his “sneaky smile.” He was a loyal spouse, and he and Pat were true life partners.
Special gratitude to everyone who helped Bill over the last three years, especially Drs. Jay Lohan and Ahmed Khalid at CAMC, Drs. Mustafa Raoof and Ali Zhumkhawala at City of Hope, the personnel on Five South at CAMC Memorial, HospiceCare, and Visiting Angel Tiffany Moon. Throughout his final days, he remained curious and gentle, connecting with caregivers.

Bill is survived by his wife, Pat Garner; daughters Melissa Wylie (Jay), Jennifer Garner, and Susannah Carpenter (Jonathan); brother Jerry Garner of Baytown, Texas; grandchildren Jack, Emma, Griffin, Violet, Alex, Seraphina, and Sam; and other loved relatives, nephews, and nieces.
A memorial service with live streaming will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, 2024, in the sanctuary of Christ Church United Methodist in Charleston, West Virginia, followed by a reception from 2-4 p.m. Dr. Jay Parkins will officiate.

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