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William C. Walker

by Susan J. Ainsworth
February 9, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 6

William C. Walker, 93, a retired West Virginia Pulp & Paper Co. research director, died on Oct. 28, 2014, in Stone Mountain, Ga.

Born in Milwaukee, Walker earned a B.S. with honors in 1943 and an M.S. in 1944, both in chemical engineering at Lehigh University, in Bethlehem, Pa. Supported by a Westvaco Chlorine Products Corp. research fellowship, he earned a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1946 at Lehigh.

Walker then accepted a research position as the associate director of the National Printing Ink Research Institute at Lehigh. Later, he was named a research assistant professor at the university.

In 1955, Walker and institute colleague J. M. Fetzko developed the Walker-Fetzko formula for the transfer of ink from a printing plate onto a substrate. Later that year, Walker joined West Virginia Pulp & Paper Co. in Williamsburg, Pa., setting up a new research laboratory. He served as director of research until 1965, when he was promoted to a position created specifically for him: special assistant to the vice president of research at the company’s headquarters in New York City.

Walker received Lehigh’s Alfred Noble Robinson Award and many honors from the Technological Association of the Pulp & Paper Industry. Walker was an emeritus, 70-year member of ACS.

He and his wife, Althea, retired to Savannah, Ga., where he enjoyed many years of golf, tennis, and fishing.

He is remembered as a loving family man, warm friend, outdoor enthusiast, paragon of integrity, devoted husband, and extraordinary engineer.

In addition to his wife, whom he married in 1945, he is survived by two sons, William Jr. and Roderick, and five grandchildren.

Obituary notices of no more than 300 words may be sent to Susan J. Ainsworth at and should include an educational and professional history.


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