William S. Beamon III

Published 10:15 pm Friday, November 18, 2016

William S. “Bill” Beamon III passed away peacefully in Marietta, Ga., on Nov. 3, 2016, with his wife, Ada Geer Beamon, by his side. He is also survived by his stepson, Garrett Geer, his brother, Stewart Beamon, and one niece and nephew. Other people most important to Bill are several beloved cousins and friends in Virginia, where he was born.

Bill was a distinguished research engineer, specializing in human interaction with computer based systems. He began his career and his life-long love of aviation as an electronics technician in the U.S. Navy. Following his military service, he attended Virginia Tech, graduating in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science in experimental psychology. Bill remained at Virginia Tech to complete both a master’s degree (1975) and a Ph.D. in human engineering (1979). His career included work at General Electric Space Division and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, both in Daytona Beach, Fla., and with The Boeing Company in Huntsville, Ala. During his tenure at General Electric, Bill was awarded six patents for his pioneering work in computer displays and computer generated images. While on the research staff at Embry Riddle, he supervised student research resulting in major contributions to the definition of the Next Generation air traffic control system and his team earned a NASA award for aircraft cockpit design under the NASA AGATE program. At Boeing, Bill worked on major new missile defense programs for the U.S. Army until his retirement.

In addition to his professional interests, Bill was a devoted ham radio operator, and used his talents to build many personal prototypes of electronic equipment, ranging from infrared cameras to radiation detectors.

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Throughout his life, too, Bill was keenly interested in automobiles, especially sports cars. He was proud of the fact that he kept an MG alive for 20 years by personally doing the mechanical repairs. Bill, in spite of his advanced education, loved and respected people who had what he called “the knack.” He was kind and gentle by nature, “one of the most beloved members of our class,” as one of his former schoolmates expressed it. He will be greatly missed by his family and by his many friends.  Everybody who knew him well loved Bill Beamon.

A memorial service is planned in Suffolk, at Main Street Methodist Church, on Dec. 10.