William J. Kay
William Jamieson Kay, 96, West Lafayette, died Monday, Oct. 13, 2008, at 6:45 a.m. at University Place in West Lafayette.
Born Oct. 7, 1912, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, he was the son of the late William G. and Eva Cosman Kay.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from the University of New Hampshire in 1938 and a master’s degree in civil engineering from Purdue University in 1941, the same year he became a naturalized American citizen. He taught surveying, hydraulics and materials testing at Purdue for 39 years, until he retired in 1979, and was named professor emeritus of Purdue’s University School of Civil Engineering. He also was on the teaching staff at Purdue’s summer surveying camp at David Ross Civil Engineering Camp and was coordinator for civil engineering cooperative students for many years. He also had been an engineer at the Navy Yard in the public works department in Portsmouth, N.H., was a field engineer in dry-dock construction in Newport News, Va., and an engineer at Wright-Patterson Field in Dayton, Ohio. During World War II, he served in the Navy Engineering Corps in the Public Works Division, working with the Sea Bees in construction at several Navy bases. He was a member of the Navy Reserve, retiring as a commander, after 26 years of active and reserve duty. A registered professional engineer, he was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, served on the Purdue Faculty Student Affairs Committee and was a member and faculty advisor of Chi Epsilon, the civil engineering honorary society and received the Ross Judson Buck Memorial Award as an outstanding counselor in the School of Civil Engineering. He was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity and served as an advisor to the Purdue Chapter for many years. He had been a member of First United Methodist Church since 1946; had been a Scoutmaster for Harrison Council of Boy Scout Troop 34; a honorary member of Scabbard and Blade; was president in both the Exchange Club and Lafayette Geographic Society; was a faculty fellow in the Purdue Residence Halls at Fowler Courts for many years; and was a member of Purdue Retirees and Purdue Alumni associations. Since retiring, he had been a Red Coat volunteer at Home Hospital and Wabash Center, where he designed, repaired and made equipment for the occupational therapy department, and was awarded a Distinguished Service Award by the Indiana Occupational Therapy Association in 1984.
Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by a son, Dr. John Boyd Kay.
Survivors include his wife of 66 years, the former Wilma Eviston; a daughter, Laurie Kay Eckart of Corydon; 10 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.
Memorial service: Friday, Oct. 17, at First United Methodist Church in West Lafayette.
Officiants: The Revs. Daniel J. Berger and Bob Fish.
Inurnment will be later at Mount Hope Cemetery.
Arrangements: Soller-Baker Funeral Homes in West Lafayette.
The family suggests memorial gifts to First United Methodist Church or a Purdue scholarship of the donor’s choice.