Note: This obituary was adapted from Mark D. Heintzelman Funeral and Cremation Services Book of Memories.
Bill McCracken, 92, Duluth, Ga., passed away peacefully of heart failure on Saturday, August 6, 2016, at his Lima, Peru home.
He was born in Johnstown, Pa., son of the late William H. and Bernice J. McCracken and brother to the late James L. McCracken. Surviving are his wife, Nora McCracken of Lima, Peru, four children (and spouses): William H. “Bill” (Kathleen) McCracken, of Duluth, GA, Derek J. (Rosalie) McCracken, of Coraopolis, PA, David A. (Sandra) McCracken, of Gillett, PA and Susan L. (Bill) Fleming, of Lawrenceville, GA, as well as six grandchildren, William, Will, Brandon, Andrew, Michael and Kyle.
Bill was a 1939 graduate of Sykesville High school and started college at the Pennsylvania State University (State College, Pa.) the same year at the age of 16.
He earned a B.S. Mining Engineering and M.S. Mining Geology, from Penn State, in 1944 and 1947, respectively.
Bill was a Lieutenant JG in the U.S. Navy, Pacific Theater, from 1944 to 1946 and saw action at the 1945 Iwo Jima and Okinawa battles, and was involved with mine sweeping of some of the Japanese islands thereafter.
Bill’s career in the refractory industry took him to over 40 countries in search of refractory minerals. He worked for Harbison-Walker Refractories from 1947 to 1985 and for F&S International from 1985 to 1998. Some of his major projects included the discovery of a major, refractory-grade bauxite and kaolin deposit in Alabama that would yield millions of tons of product through the years, a magnesite project in Brazil and spearheading the establishment of Harbison-Walker’s Peruvian subsidiary, Refractarios Peruanos S.A. (REPSA). Bill would serve as REPSA’s managing director from 1953 to 1972.
Some of Bill’s accomplishments and awards include the founding of ALAFAR (Latin American Association of Refractory Manufacturers) and UNITECR (Unified International Technical Conference on Refractories), as well as American Institute of Mining Engineers (AIME) Legion of Honor, president of ALAFAR, Executive Board Member at UNITECR, Fellow at the American Ceramic Society (ACS), UNITECR Distinguished Life Member, Pennsylvania Ceramics Association (PCA) Director Emeritus, Peruvian National Industrial Society (SNI) “Peruvian Refractory Industry Pioneer”, ACS Pittsburgh Section Albert V Bleininger Award, ALAFAR Honorary Life Member, TRI William T. Treadenni.
From 1972 to 2009 Bill was involved in ACerS Pittsburgh Section as a board member and a panelist in several refractories and industrial minerals conferences.