William H. Tranter
October 24, 1939 – May 5, 2019
William Harrington Tranter, 79, of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, formerly of Blacksburg, VA, passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday, May 5, 2019. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Judith, his daughter Elizabeth Ann Tranter, of North Myrtle Beach, and his son John Harrington Tranter and daughter-in-law Danni Li of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
William was born in 1939 to William D. and Margaret E. Tranter in Greensboro, North Carolina. Later moving with his family to Dothan, Alabama, he developed interests in music, photography, astronomy, and model railroading. In high school, his teachers identified and encouraged his lifelong love of writing.
As a student at the University of Alabama, William met Judith Piper, his lifelong love, whom he married in 1961. William H. Tranter received the B.S.E.E., M.S.E.E., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Alabama, in 1964, 1965, and 1970, respectively. He joined the faculty of the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1969, where he served as an Assistant and Associate Dean of Engineering from 1980 to 1985. He was named Schlumberger Professor in 1985. His devotion to his students was recognized through several teaching awards. In 1997, he joined the faculty at Virginia Tech, as the Bradley Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and member of the Mobile and Radio Research Group (now Wireless@VT.) He served as a Program Director in the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate with the National Science Foundation from 2009 to 2011.
A pioneer in the field of communications and simulation, William contributed chapters to a number of books and published more than 75 research journal and conference papers. He also co-authored a number of widely-used undergraduate textbooks in the communications area. Throughout his career, he was active in the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) and was named Fellow in 1985 and life fellow in 2005. He served as a member of the Board of Governors and Director of Journals of the IEEE Communications Society, was elected Vice President-Technical Activities, and served an 11-year term as the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications. He received an IEEE Centennial Medal in 1984, a Millennium Medal in 2000, the Donald McLellan Meritorious Service Award from the IEEE Communications Society in 2000, and the Publications Exemplary Service Award in 2001.
William will be remembered by friends around the world for his scholarship, mentorship, and generosity. He loved international travel, music, dining, and hours of animated conversation with family and friends. His wisdom, friendship and humor will be missed by those left to mourn his passing.
The family would like to extend its gratitude to Lower Cape Fear Hospice and the exceptional in-home caregivers who provided compassionate care and warm companionship in his final months. A Memorial Service will be held for William on Saturday July 20 at 1:00 pm at Lee Funeral Home in Little River, SC. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Ainwsorth Endowed Graduate Scholarship in Applied Mathematics at the University of Alabama, or Wireless@VT at Virginia Tech. Online condolences may be offered at: https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/little-river-sc/william-tranter-8273163
Saturday, July 20, 2019
William H. Tranter
May 5, 2021
I have thought of Bill many times over the past two years, remembering his words of wisdom.
May 5, 2020
I have thought about Bill many times over the past year and still pray for all of your loved ones.
July 13, 2019
Unlike most of the prior posts, I first met Bill when he was a Ph.D. candidate and I was a young Asst. Prof. fresh out of the Army. We both worked on a NASA contract under the direction of Richard S. Simpson. Bill was one of the hardest working fellows I ever met; for example one term he worked on the Contract half-time, taught two courses for the EE dept. and took two courses! Our paths crossed once again in 1979 when we both were Battelle consultants to the Army Missile Cmd. in Huntsville. We shared an apartment and on the weekends when I went home, Bill spent time studying about microprocessors. He was kind enough in 1986 to recommend me for the Dept. Head at Rolla; which gave us some time to visit, Finally, Bill remained in my thoughts for several years as I was teaching out of the textbook "Principles of Communication" he co-authored with Roger Ziemer. He was a mover in IEEE programs and will no doubt be missed.
July 6, 2019
I mowed the Tranters' lawn in the early and mid 1970s and cleared their back hedge of poison ivy. I had Dr. Tranter in Communications Theory in the late 1970s at the University of Missouri - Rolla. I still have his textbook on my bookshelf.
I appreciated Dr. Tranter's tutelage and humor in class. I only wish that I could have seen his model railroad.
My condolences to the family.
July 6, 2019
As a colleague of Bill's on the EE Faculty at UMR from 1969 to 1975, I send my condolences on Bill's passing to his family.
Dr. Eddie Fowler, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of EE, Kansas State University
July 3, 2019
When I began grad school at UMR in 1975, Bill Tranter became my MS and later Ph.D. advisor. He was an outstanding mentor and teacher. He also became a friend. I recall an early discussion in our relationship, shortly after I arrived in Rolla with my shiny new BSEE, when I went to him for advice and answers, which he was happy to provide. But the thing I remember most about that meeting is that he ended it by saying at some future time he hoped and expected that our relationship would shift so that we would be not a student looking for answers, but rather well-informed colleagues discussing the pros and cons of technical issues (and even respectfully disagreeing!). He always encouraged, welcomed, and embraced discussions like that—always elevating the student in a way that invited conversation as an equal. He was a wonderful mentor. I also recall that he loved to tell stories—once he said to me that he tried not to let literal truth get in the way of a good story. He will always be remembered and appreciated by an enormous number of people who knew him either as a student and mentor or as a friend and colleague. I believe that even now he surely is still learning and researching and teaching and helping others to grow. Thank you, Bill.
July 1, 2019
Bill Tranter was one of the finest colleagues I was privileged to know. He had incredible moral values. When I needed guidance, he was always there for me. He was also there for the department, for our students, and for the Rolla campus of the University of Missouri. He was that rarest of people, fine husband, father, teacher, scholar and administrator.
Rest In peace, my friend and colleague. I miss our late afternoon, after hours, discussions.
My condolences to his wife, children and other loved ones. I was very fortunate to have known him and to have benefited from his wisdom and experience.
June 22, 2019
Sarah and I are very sorry to hear about Bill's passing. I had the privilege to have him on my PhD committee and he was always thoughtful, encouraging, and generous with his time.
June 22, 2019
Dr. Tranter was my M.S. and Ph.D. adviser in Virginia Tech while I was a graduate student there during 2000-2006. He was an accomplished scholar, inspiring teacher and above all a gentleman in every sense. Not only did he advise me in academic matters, he offered valuable life lessons as well. My condolence to his family.
June 22, 2019
Bill was my PhD advisor at the University of Missouri - Rolla back in the late 1980's. He was a true gentleman, always generous with his time, and was truly loyal to his friends and colleagues. He helped me out during a particularly difficult time in my life which I will always be grateful for and never forget.
Bill - May you rest in peace in the arms of our Lord.
June 21, 2019
I had the pleasure and privilege of knowing Bill both when I was his student and when I was a colleague. He was truly both a gentleman and a scholar and one of my favorite professors. I learned much from him as a student, and even more when he was my mentor as a professor. His whimsical teaching style had a lasting effect on my own teaching. In fact, I still tell stories in class that I heard from him. But, he wasn't just a great guy (who can forget him singing "Wild Thing" at our annual symposium?), he was also a scholar. His introductory communications textbooks are surely classics. In short, he had a tremendous impact on our field both as a scholar and as a person. He will truly be missed.
May 18, 2019
I am deeply saddened to learn of Bill Tranter's passing. He was my "side kick" while I was IEEE Communications Society Director of Magazines and he was my counterpart as Director of Journals. He was a wonderful individual - a noted scientist, teacher, mentor to many, and genuine gentleman. I will surely miss him!
May 14, 2019
Bill was a wonderful mentor and esteemed colleague who took me under his wing in the very early 1990s, when he was editor of the IEEE JSAC, He was an inspiring educator, loyal colleague, and dedicated servant leader to the global practice of electrical engineering and to IEEE. And he was one of the first IEEE leaders to know that wireless would grow into a large new field. Some of my fondest memories of Bill are when he and his Univ of Missouri Rollla friends would spin tails at the House of Pie. I was so glad when he and Judy moved to Blacksburg . Love and prayers go out to Judy, Beth Ann, and John. Bill, may you Rest In Peace, old friend.
May 11, 2019
Bill will certainly be missed. He was a very wise person in addition to being a very accomplished professor. He has made a significant impact in his guidance of many students and faculty members. I hope that his family can feel some peace in knowing his life left a positive effect for many people.
May 7, 2019
Bill was my "assigned mentor" when I came to Virginia Tech as a new faculty member and freshly-minted Ph.D in 2003. But he was so much more than that. He became my friend, trusted advisor, and confidant. We wrote a short book together; I proposed abandoning that project more than once, but Bill insisted that we carry on (and it came out nicely, if I do say so myself). I have met few people in my life that were more generous with their time and wisdom. Offering thanks for the life of Bill Tranter, and thoughts and prayers for his family. Rest in peace, Bill.
May 6, 2019
I was immensely saddened to hear of Bill's passing. He was not just a gifted and talented researcher and engineer; he was also an incredible human being, and a genuinely wise man. Over the course of my career, I treasured my many wonderful technical conversations with Bill; but I treasured the personal advice and guidance that he gave me when I needed it even more. He will be missed greatly by so many of us.
May 6, 2019
Bill was a valued colleague in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech. His contributions and impact were huge to Virginia Tech, to the University of Missouri at Rolla (as it was known in the day), to the research and education community in wireless communications, and to the profession through the IEEE Communications Society. Bill shared graciously of his knowledge, wisdom, and time. He will be missed by many. My sympathies to his family and his extended academic and professional family.