William Lowery Shockley, age 82, died Wednesday night at home, with his wife at his side. His remarkable life was so full of adventure and achievement that when Hospice said time was running short, he had nothing left on his bucket list.
Bill was born on Christmas Day 1930 in Cincinnati to William Burrell and Mary Ruth (Thurman) Shockley. With his sister, Mary Sue, he was raised in Tennessee and Arkansas, before moving to Dallas. He graduated from Highland Park HS in 1948 and has held his class together for decades planning their many reunions. Although he had a full Navy ROTC scholarship to all the Ivies, he opted to stay in Texas. With a BSEE and MSEE from SMU, he was a pioneer in the telecommunications and computer industries, contributing to the early advancements of microminiaturization while at Collins Radio in the 1950s. His patents, publications, and product successes led to R&D and manufacturing innovations. Bill traveled the world through his work at E-Systems and Andrew Corporation, working on such significant projects as creating telecommunications and defense systems for the "chunnel" between France and England, the Siberian Railway, and the coastline of Chile. He was among the first businessmen to enter China when it opened to the West and among the last to flee Tehran in their revolution. His children even got to walk through Air Force One.
Bill helped to launch the Telecom Corridor and STARtech, Richardson's tech incubator. He was routinely cited as a Technology Titan, often appearing with Jack Kilby, who invented the chip. Yes, he was that smart.
Bill was preceded in death by his first wife, Jackie Anderson, and their son Pat, with whom Bill shared a love of fishing and the outdoors.
He had a large family and many friends. He led scout troops and coached baseball with the boys, Alan, Pat, and Kevin. He rode horses with Laura until he fell and broke his tailbone. He married Patsy Lutes in 1974 and became Dad to Michelle and Melissa, never using the "step-word" to describe their relationship. He walked them both down the aisle.
Bill retired, but never stopped working. He loved McKinney and advised them on expansion of their airport to attract new businesses. He created the Samaritan Inn, the only homeless shelter in Collin County. He fought to preserve a wooded tract of land in Eldorado from future development.
Bill's steadfast love, his wry humor, and his dignified manner will be missed by many, but especially Patsy, his soulmate of 39 years, Alan and Rosa Shockley, John and Gloria Sopko, Kevin and Liz Shockley, Laura and Rick Williams, Michelle and Larry Corson, Melissa Lavis, MarySue and Reed Hoover, his 14 grandchildren, and his best friends for decades, Travis and Cathy Ratan.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Monday at Trinity Presbyterian Church in McKinney. You may honor Bill by supporting the Samaritan Inn in McKinney, Faith Presbyterian Hospice of Dallas, sharing a memory at Remembered.com, or listening to Foggy Mountain Breakdown and feeling him smile from heaven.