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William Howard Burwell
May 23, 1938 ~ November 11, 2023 (age 85) 85 Years Old
William Howard “Bill” Burwell, devoted husband of Margaret Ruth (Mather) Burwell and father of
four, died November 11, 2023, from leukemia. He died peacefully at home in the loving care of
family members. He was 85.
A native of Lafayette, Indiana, Bill was the youngest child of James Benton Burwell and Hazel
Olive (Degner) Burwell. His father was a hardware salesman, his mother a homemaker. A star
student in math and science and a talented athlete in basketball and golf, Bill graduated from
Klondike High School and went on to join the inaugural class of engineering science at Purdue
University, graduating with a B.S. in 1960. He later received master’s degrees in mathematics
and in engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
After early stints at Pratt&Whitney and NASA, Bill made his career at Union Carbide (later
UCAR Carbon Corporation) in Parma, Ohio. In his work as a graphite specialist, he helped
improve safety and efficiency in American steel mills. He was credited as the inventor of
multiple patented industrial components, including a 500 lb. threaded graphite electrode that
was less prone to breakage when used in arc furnaces. He retired in 1995.
He and Margaret Mather, who also grew up in Lafayette, married on June 19, 1960. They made
their home in Olmsted Falls, Ohio, where they raised four children, all of whom survive him:
David William Burwell of Calhan, Col.; Kathryn Margaret Draper of Berlin Twp., Mich.; Susan
Ruth Thompson of Crown Point, Ind.; and James Calvin Burwell of Bridgeport, Conn. Bill is also
survived by ten grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.
Bill pursued many interests. A lover of logic, he took pleasure in aphorisms, rules of thumb, and
puzzles, whether tinkering at his workbench, competing at bridge or solving the Times Sunday
crossword. In retirement, he became interested in the life of Abraham Lincoln and the integrity
and courage of his leadership. His favorite place in the world was the Indiana Dunes, where he
took his family and his beloved dogs camping over the course of decades. More than any other
activity, he loved golf, which he played with great skill from childhood into his 80s.
Those wishing to honor Bill’s life are encouraged to make a donation in his name to the
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society or to the Berea Animal Rescue Friends (ARF).
The family will host a private remembrance ceremony at a date yet to be announced.