September 6, 1942 – November 9, 2020
RALEIGH, NC: Dr. William Reid Atchley, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Genetics, Statistics and Biomathematics at North Carolina State University, passed away on November 9, 2020.
Bill was born in Stilwell, Oklahoma on September 6, 1942, and was raised in Roswell, New Mexico. He was the first person in his family to attend college, earning an undergraduate degree from Eastern New Mexico University and a PhD from the University of Kansas. After completing his PhD, he became a Fulbright Scholar in Melbourne, Australia.
Bill held teaching and research positions at Kansas University, Texas Tech University, and the University of Wisconsin prior to moving to Raleigh where he became the Head of the Genetics Department at North Carolina State University in 1986. Over the course of his career, he inspired and trained 21 graduate students and 12 postdoctoral research associates.
Bill and his wife Wilinda loved to travel. Fortunately, Bill’s professional life gave them many opportunities to do so. In 1999, Bill received the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Research Award which enabled them to live in Bielefeld Germany for a year. In 2004, Bill earned the German Humboldt Stiflung Award as an internationally distinguished scientist, so they were able to return to Germany, this time to Leipzig. In 2009, Bill had the opportunity to live in Shanghai, China after being appointed to a Distinguished International Professorship by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
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Bill’s devotion to and passion for science and research was honored on many occasions here at home as well. A few notable awards include: Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1984; Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2003; Alexander Quayle’s Holladay Medal for Excellence, awarded by NCSU for faculty; who have made outstanding contributions to the University, 2011; The Order of the Long Leaf Pine by the Governor of North Carolina for extraordinary service to North Carolina, 2011. A full list of academic achievements and awards can be found here in his nomination for the Alexander Quayle’s Holladay Medal for Excellence at https://tinyurl.com/y323nckp.
Beyond science and teaching, Bill cultivated a passion for music throughout his life. His father, pianist and guitarist Reid Atchley, imparted his own love of jazz to his son at a young age. As an adult, Bill organized bands and performed on the saxophone in several groups in the Raleigh area including both the larger and smaller groups of Quintessence, and thoroughly loved playing well into his later years. Bill is proceeded in death by his parents, Velma Mays Atchley and Kenneth Reid Atchley; his sister, Shirley Ann Greene; and son-in-law, Lt. Col. (USAF ret.) Peter Scott Hagis.
He is survived by his wife, Wilinda Landon Atchley; daughter Erika Atchley-Hagis; son Kevin Atchley and his partner, Laleña Dolby; sister and brother-in-law, Sharon and Hunter Fisher; sister-in-law, Cathy Landon; nephews Michael Greene, Benjamin Greene and Ryan Perry; beloved grandchild, Killian Hagis; and his French Bulldog, Jake.
Due to Covid-19 a memorial service will be held in the future when family and friends are able to travel. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Bill’s name be made to his favorite charity, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (stjude.org).
Condolences to the family at www.MitchellatRMP.com