William J. Gealy, a senior administrator at Northwestern University for more than 14 years, died Oct. 20 . He was 69.
Mr. Gealy had been director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at Northwestern since 1980. He was named assistant vice president for research in 1993.
Mr. Gealy was senior program development officer at The Ohio State University from 1969 to 1980. He was a consulting petroleum geologist in Dallas, Texas, from 1956 to 1969 and a geologist-geophysicist with the Standard Oil Company of California from 1953 to 1956, working in Salt Lake City, Utah, and in Los Angeles.
"Bill was an uncommon man," said Provost David H. Cohen. "He had a gentleness, that combined with an accomplished professionalism, made him a very special colleague."
A geologist by training, Mr. Gealy graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor's degree in oriental arts and languages in 1946. He received a master's degree from Harvard University in 1950 and a Ph.D. in geological sciences from Harvard in 1953.
Mr. Gealy participated in the Beardmore Glacier Expedition of the Institute of Polar Studies in Antarctica during the summers of 1969 and 1970; in a geological expedition to Western Arctic Canada, the Richardson Mountains area, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon in the summer of 1968; and in a geological expedition to the Qattara depression in the western desert in Egypt in the spring of 1967.
"Bill exemplified the ideal of service to the University community," said Vice President and General Counsel Michael C. Weston. "He was creative and thorough, but he never made the mistake of taking himself too seriously. He was a joy to work with and to have as a friend."
Mr. Gealy was chair of the University-Industry Technology Transfer Conference held in Chicago in both 1983 and 1986. He also was principal investigator and chair of the 1983 National Science Foundation Conference on Industrial Science and Technological Innovation.
Mr. Gealy was a member of the advisory group for the Illinois Center for Innovation in Technology from 1985 to 1988 and principal investigator and interim director of the Technology Commercialization Center at Northwestern University in 1984- 85.
He was a member of the executive committee of the Region IV National Council of University Research Administrators from 1984 to 1986 and in 1989-90, and co-chair of the 1986 Region IV meeting in Chicago. Mr. Gealy was the principal author of a proposal to the American Iron and Steel Institute which led to the establishment of the AISI Steel Resource Center at Northwestern University.
Martin Rachmeler, a former colleague and now director of the Technology Transfer Office at the University of California at San Diego, said, "On the death of a friend, Samuel Johnson wrote, "The life which made my own life pleasant is at an end, and the gates of death are shut upon my prospects. It is the latter on which I contemplate. No longer do I have the benefit of sharing joys, of being consoled in my times of need, of having his counsel, of enjoying his company. I loved you Bill Gealy and am a lesser person because of your passing."
Survivors include his wife, Marcia; his children, W. James Gealy, Jr., of San Luis Obisbo, Calif., Jennifer Gealy of Los Angeles, Mark A. Gealy of Palo Alto, Calif. and Katherine Wendt of Los Angeles; his wife's children, Eileen B. Daugirda of Arlington, Texas and Mark E. Booher of Westborough, Mass.; his brothers, Fred Daniel Gealy, Jr., of Los Angeles and John R. Gealy of Houston; and four grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held on Monday, Nov. 14 at 1:30 p.m. at Alice Millar Chapel and Religious Center. In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to be made to the charity of choice.