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William Wayne McVinnie

September 4, 1939 May 9, 2020
William Wayne McVinnie
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Obituary for William Wayne McVinnie

William Wayne McVinnie, resident of Clarkston MI, died peacefully on May 9, 2020, from complications of pneumonia. He was 80 years old.

Bill is sadly missed by his wife, Susanne, and children: Katherine (Jeff Clarkson) McVinnie, Tuscaloosa AL; David (Paula Vozza) McVinnie, Windsor ON; and Alison (Kevin Crozier) McVinnie (Fergus, ON); grandchildren: Michael, Lindsay, and Christopher Clarkson; Nora, Matthew and Robert McVinnie; and Ronan and Jack Crozier. Bill is fondly remembered by his sister Mary Ann (James) Shirk, cousins Robert (Laurel) and Richard (Susan) McVinnie, of Rockford, IL, brother-in-law Donald Campbell, HI, as well as many nieces and nephews, extended family members, colleagues, and dear friends.

Bill was born in Rockford, IL on September 4, 1939 to Wayne and Margaret (nee’ Shipman) McVinnie. Bill’s father’s brother, Wilson, returned from service in the South Pacific in WWII, to marry Margaret‘s younger sister, Odetta. His grandmother, Blanche Shipman, was the anchor of the two close families, helping to raise her grandchildren. He graduated from Harlem High School, class of 1957, where he was a proud member of the celebrated football team that won Conference Championships in both 1956 and 1957.

At the University of Illinois, Bill met a fellow student, Susanne (Susie) Campbell. They were married September 3, 1961, the year they both graduated from the University of Illinois, a lasting partnership for almost 60 years. Bill graduated with a Bachelorʼs in Civil Engineering and went on to earn his Masterʼs Degree (1963) and Ph.D. (1966). He taught engineering at the University of Windsor, and then the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In 1972, he took a full-time position at Chrysler Corporation, Detroit, MI, where he worked until his retirement in 2003.

Bill was instrumental in bringing a supercomputer to Chrysler, the first Detroit automaker to own one. He and another Chrysler engineer donated their time at night and used the supercomputer to design a boat to represent the United States in the 1987 Americaʼs Cup Race. The computer allowed them to achieve the model that would most efficiently move through water. Bill took the research concepts in structural design that he had established in his Ph.D. to evaluate thousands of design studies, and used the supercomputer to apply them to analyze the strength and integrity of the automotive body structure. This saved building expensive prototype cars and crash-testing them, eventually shortening product development time for a new vehicle from five years down to two. Most importantly, it saved lives: these optimized computer-aided auto designs were better able to safely manage the energy in a crash and protect the occupants from serious injuries.

Bill enjoyed sailing, travel, time “Up North”, reading, and watching sports. He was blessed to have many years to get acquainted with his grandchildren, spend vacations with them and their parents, and welcome them for holidays at the house in Clarkston.

He was predeceased by parents Margaret and Wayne McVinnie; maternal grandmother, Blanche Shipman; and Aunt and Uncle Wilson and Odetta McVinnie, who were especially close.

Due to Covid-19 pandemic, a memorial will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, contributions are encouraged to ASPCA, Detroit Rescue Mission Ministry, or University of Illinois Civil and Environmental Engineering.

For further information, phone Lynch & Sons, Milford at 248-684-6645.

Memorial Contribution


Attn: Gift Processing Center
PO Box 96929
Washington, D.C.

Detroit Rescue Mission Ministry

150 Stimson Street
Detroit, MI 48201

University of Illinois Civil and Environmental Engineering

1117 Newmark Civil Engineering Lab
205 North Mathews Avenue
Urbana, Il 61801

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