William (Bill) C. Metz passed onto eternal life on Tuesday, August 13th in Chicago, IL. Bill lived a life of love and service to his country, to his community, and to his family.
Raised in Kingston, RI by his parents, William and Clarice, Bill learned the values of education and community service. In 1966, Bill extended the list of family Bates College Alma Maters by earning a degree in History. Bill then took an interesting path by opting to enroll in the African Studies program at Makerere University College in Kampala, Uganda. He spent an adventurous ten days in the Virunga Mountains on the Rwanda/Congo border as part of a mountain gorilla census expedition with Dian Fossey. Next came enrollment in the University of Rhode Island’s (URI) Master’s program in geography after months of touring the Middle East and Europe. But his academics were cut short and career path changed when the U.S. Army drafted him and, on October 7, 1968, he arrived at Fort Dix, New Jersey, as a private.
While stationed at Phouc Vinh, on the Cambodian border, with the First Air Cavalry Division, he was involved in logistics planning for Operation Toan Thang 43, a May 1, 1969 incursion into the Fishhook area of Cambodia to destroy North Vietnamese safe havens and supplies. The success led to a meritorious Bronze Star along with an Air Medal for on-scene coordination by helicopter. Forty years later he began dealing with the pulmonary effects from exposure to Agent Orange which was the catalyst for his death.
Following graduation with a Master’s degree in geography from URI he enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh for a Ph.D. in geography. Meanwhile, he met Carol, a Salve Regina College graduate, who had taught school at Fort Buchanan in Puerto Rico and returned to teach in Rhode Island and they were married on July 4, 1973.
With a Ph.D. in hand in 1974, he conducted socio-economic studies for planned coal and uranium mines, nuclear power plants and transmission lines while employed by Westinghouse in Pittsburgh. In 1978 he accepted a research position at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island performing national energy policy studies for the Department of Energy; concurrently earning an MBA from Dowling College. In 1983 he was recruited by Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago. For 33 years, he was involved in an exciting diversity of research activities including assessing socioeconomic effects of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage facility, land use around nuclear power plants, emergency operations plans for communities in the vicinity of seven U.S. Army chemical weapons storage facilities, emergency preparedness capabilities of special populations in Alabama, and effectiveness of city disaster plans. To help keep his an edge, he later earned a MIS degree from Aurora University.
During his years living near Chicago he and Carol raised their two children, Christopher and Jennifer. Bill graciously volunteered for activities such as swim team president, Boy Scout troop leader, coaching and more. As a father, Bill supported his children in every way imaginable. As a Grandfather, he showered his five young grandchildren with love and always looked forward to reading with them. To quote Bill directly from his college reunion profile, “My family keeps me happier than I ever believed possible.”
As in life, his wife of 46 years, Carol (Giles) Metz was by his bedside for his passing along with his two children, Chris and Jennifer. Bill is survived by Carol, Chris (wife Laura Merritt), Jennifer (husband John Hyland); his five beautiful grandchildren, Liam, Dylan, Hazel, Charlotte and Jack; and his loving siblings Elizabeth (husband David) McNab and Margaret (husband Kevin) Munroe. We will all continue to live out your daily mantra, “Life is Good”.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, please make a donation to either: Vietnam Veterans of America (vva.org), Honor Flight Chicago (honorflightchicago.org), or South County Museum (SouthCountyMuseum.org)
There will be a memorial service on October 5th, 2019 at 10AM at First Congregational Church of Naperville (UCC) located at 25 E Benton Ave, Naperville, IL 60540. For guest book and condolences, averystortifuneralhome.com.