William "Bill" Meacham '45 October 6, 2020 11:46 AM updated: October 7, 2020 10:39 AM
William Ross Meacham
January 12, 1923 - September 22, 2020
Dr. William Ross Meacham passed away peacefully on September 22, 2020 at the age of 97. He was born on January 12, 1923 in Fort Worth, Texas to William Alfred Meacham and Rebecca Ross Stovall Meacham. He was the first-born, followed by Marjorie, Calvin, and Jane. As a boy and teenager, Billy Ross, as he was called then, enjoyed hiking and hunting in the woods. Bill attended Texas A&M University for a short time until he was drafted into the Army to fight in World War II.
During World War II, Bill served honorably and fought successfully as a member of the 99th Infantry Division. During the defense of Elsenborn Ridge on the northern shoulder of the Battle of the Bulge, the 99th Infantry Division repulsed multiple German infantry and Panzer attacks, defeating the German offensive, and progressed on to cross and capture the famous Remagen Bridge over the Rhine River in Germany. During Bill's service, he was awarded multiple medals and the treasured award of the Combat Infantryman's Badge.
After the war, Bill returned to Texas A&M for his Bachelor's degree, then received a Master's degree from North Texas State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. In 1950 he married Irene Ashenfelter, with whom he shared a love of classical music. Bill and Irene had three children, Kirk, Andy and Carrie. He taught for many years in the Biology Department at the University of Texas at Arlington. Bill rose to become the Chairman of the Biology Department and was respected for his calm demeanor and common sense. Bill and Irene divorced in 1976. In 1978 he married June Fisk, who passed away in 1994. In 1995 he married Helen Riley Eggleston, whom he had known many years earlier as a graduate student in the UTA Biology department. Bill and Helen had a great interest in the outdoors, nature, and the history of Bill's service in World War II.
After retirement from UTA, Bill spent many hours outdoors again, working in the yard, canoeing, reading, and listening to music. He is survived by his three children and two grandchildren, Samuel and Thomas Vogt, his wife Helen, and her three children, Diana Mays, Carolynne LeNeveu, and Barry Eggleston. Bill was a man of great intelligence, integrity, and honesty. Beneath his serious and quiet demeanor, he possessed a wonderful dry sense of humor. He will be greatly missed. With appreciation, the family requests donations in memory of Bill to either the National Ghost Ranch Foundation (www.ghostranch.org <http://www.ghostranch.org>;) or the Battle of the Bulge Association (www.battleofthebulge.org <http://www.battleofthebulge.org>;).
Mount Olivet Cemetery
2301 North Sylvania Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76111
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Photo taken in November 1944 in Belgium, just a few weeks before the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge. Bill used to comment on this photo, saying “that was the last time I smiled until I got the news the war was over.”