William Hambleton

 Memorial services for William W. “Bill” Hambleton, 91, of Lawrence, KS will be held at 11 AM Friday, October 19, 2012 at Plymouth Congregational Church in Lawrence.    The Rev. Dr. Peter Luckey will be the officiant.  He died on Thursday, October 4, 2012 at Pioneer Ridge Retirement Home following a prolonged illness.

Bill was born September. 10, 1921 in Lancaster, PA, the son of Harry Coxen and Ella Moore Hambleton.  He graduated from McCaskey High School in 1939.  He then attended Franklin and Marshall College, where he majored in Chemistry. 

Upon graduation, Bill enlisted in the Army.  He served in the Army Specialized training Program at Lafayette College and in G Co., 335th Battalion, 84th Infantry Division in the European Theatre, participating in the Battle of the Bulge.  He was awarded the Bronze Star for valor.

After leaving the military, Bill married Nancy Jane Schnelli of Lancaster, PA.  They recently celebrated 66 years of marriage.  He always said that the key to his professional success was the outstanding advice and support that he received at home. 

He earned an M.S. degree in Geology from Northwestern University in 1947 and a Ph.D. degree in Geology with a minor in Physics from the University of Kansas  in 1951, where he held a Shell Fellowship.  His career at the University of Kansas started as an instructor in 1948 and ended with him retiring as Emeritus Professor of Geology and Geophysics in 1987.

He was also Emeritus Director of Kansas Geological Survey and served as Associate Dean of the Graduate School and Associate Dean of Faculties.  Bill was also employed by the Pennsylvania Geological Survey, the U.S. Bureau of Mines Surface Chemistry Lab in Oklahoma, and Chevron Geophysical Company in Louisiana.  He served as consultant to Batelle Memorial Institute Office of Waste Isolation and was a visiting scientist at Lamonte Geological Observatory of Columbia University.

Bill was a passionate enthusiast of the arts and was a founding member of the School of Fine Arts Advisory Board.  Other Lawrence positions he held include serving as a member of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Directors of the K.U. Alumni Association, the Kansas  School of Religion Board, the Advisory Board and Chair of the Friends of the Spencer Art Museum, the Friends of the Theatre Advisory Board, the Cottonwood Foundation Board,  the Kansas Land Trust, the River City Weekly Advisory Board, the Kansas Geological Survey Advisory Board, Plymouth Congregational Church (as Moderator  and Board of Deacons), and the Lawrence Rotary Club.

At KU, Bill served as Chair of the Council of University Divisions, a member of the Overview Committee of the Tertiary Oil Recovery Project, the President of the Kansas Chapter of Sigma Xi, a member of the Hearing Examination Board of Office of Affirmative Action, Center for Research Board of Directors, and as Secretary of University Senate.

Bill was a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an Honorary Member of the Association of the American State Geologists. Other membership involvements include the Association of Petroleum Geologists, American Geophysical Union, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Kansas Academy of Science, 84th Infantry Railsplitter Society,  KU Alumni Association, and KU Endacott Society Retirees Club.  He has been awarded the  Haworth Distinguished Graduate and Alumni Award and the first  Phoenix Award for Volunteer in the Arts.   KU’s Hambleton Hall was dedicated in his honor in 1987.

At the state and federal level, Bill served as Governor’s  representative and Vice-Chair for the Interstate Oil Compact Commission; member of the Executive Advisory Committee to the Federal Power Commission,   the Executive Office of President Carter on Energy, the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, the National Academy of Sciences on disposal in salt.  He was the Energy Advisor to Governors Docking and Bennett.  Other directorships he held included Kansas Energy Office, Kansas Nuclear Energy Council, Pesticide Control Board, Kansas Water Authority,  Kansas Association of Commerce and Industry Executive Committee, and the Central States Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission Advisory Committee.

Bill is survived by his wife, Nancy, of Lawrence. Other survivors include a daughter Ann and her husband Kevin Klee, of Chewelah, WA, son Jeff and wife Nancy and two grandsons W. John and Sam of Lawrence, KS, and a sister, Joan Pollock of Lancaster, PA.

The family suggests memorials in his name to either the LMH Endowment Association or the William W. Hambleton Student Award for Excellence in Research.  Donations may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary.   

15 Condolences

  1. David and Diane Schneli on October 6, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Aunt Nancy, Ann, and Jeff

    Sorry to hear that you also lost your Bill. Even when expected, it’s lonlier. And so the “seasons” change. We are each thankful for the gift our fathers were to us, as they showed us our high calling. Love to you all, Dave and family

  2. Stan McCool on October 7, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Peace to Bill, you and your family.

  3. Bert and Marge Rowell on October 7, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Nancy,we were so sorry to hear of Bill’s death. We have so many happy memories. Yours was the first home we were invited to when we first came to Lawrence in 1964. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Bert and Marge

  4. Russ and Harriet Larkin on October 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Sending our sympathy to the family.

  5. FLOYD D. ATKINS JR. on October 8, 2012 at 2:08 pm


  6. Martin Owens on October 8, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    I am deeply saddened in learning about Bill’s demise. It was my good fortune to have conversed with him last Wed or Thursday morning while visiting my dad. A true loss for everyone who has known all these years.

  7. Anne McDade Barrett on October 8, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Dear Nancy, Ann and Jeff, even now with tears in my eyes, I know the grief will catch up with me tomorrow. I’ll be reviewing our mutual memories of our years in “Sunnyside” at K.U. in the 1950s and all the years since. I am so glad we had a visit when we
    were there in June. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Much love, Anne

  8. Diana Coleman on October 12, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Bill was my mentor, my boss, and most of all my friend. I will miss him greatly. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  9. Dale Bajema on October 12, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Sympathy to the family. Bill was a generous friend and inspiration.

  10. Kris and Jennifer Baldwin on October 13, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Aunt Nancy, Jeff/Nancy, and Ann/Kevin–Our prayers have been with you since hearing this news last week. I always enjoyed visiting with Bill at our Hambleton holidays, especially once I started teaching 5/6th Science. Unfortunately, we are unable to attend the funeral, but will be thinking of everyone as you celebrate such an accomplished life. Love you! (Jenn)

  11. Sandra Stettler on October 15, 2012 at 12:13 am

    My thoughts are with your family. May you all have fond memories, and may he continue to live on in those memories.
    With sympathy.
    Sandra Stettler

  12. Paul Pollock on October 20, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    My brother Mark, Bill’s godson said it best – A True Renaissance Man. For me, always a smile and great to be around as few times as that was because of distance.
    You cared.

  13. Paul Pollock on October 20, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    My brother Mark, Bill’s godson said it best – A True Renaissance Man. For me, always a smile and great to be around as few times as that was because of distance.
    You cared.

  14. Lawrence Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club on October 22, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Nancy and Family,

    We are sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family at this time.

    -The Lawrence Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club

  15. George devries Klein on February 11, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    I only read this today. Bill was an outstanding and helpful mentor to me and di much to boost my confidence as a graduate student. When I took his courses, he asked me to teach his class on occasions when he had to be out-of-town.

    Bill was an outstanding human being and we shall miss him. The best living memorial we can give him is to only and always remember the good things about Bill Hambleton.

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