William C. Conkling, 77, died on March 24, 2021 in the Consulate Health Care Center, after a long illness. He was born in Richmond, Va. on July 30, 1943, and was the elder son of Elizabeth Price Conkling and Clarence Ellsworth Conkling.
A 1961 graduate of Highland Springs High School, he played the clarinet in several school bands, and developed a lifelong interest in science, mathematics and history. From there he was accepted into the Apprentice School at NASA Langley, where he enjoyed a career lasting 44 years. He loved aircraft, from a two seat small plane all the way to the Skylab, which was his favorite. As a model builder, he was involved with myriad projects, and was known for his attention to detail and commitment to excellence. His second career was as an Alternate Spectrum Manager with Analytical Mechanics Associates, Inc. Always a student of radio frequency, his study crossed from career to hobby. HAM radio became a passion, and he was generous in sharing his time and talent. NR4C served as President of the local Williamsburg Amateur Radio Club and the Middle Peninsula group. His time was filled with club meetings, events, builder’s groups, contests which reached around the world, planning the next project, and crafting pieces and parts…always the builder. One of the joys of HAM radio can be community events, where people volunteer in several ways. As a much younger man he was a member of the Hampton JayCees, and learned about leadership, community involvement and giving back whenever possible…traits which lasted his entire life. Bill enjoyed both classical music and jazz, and was a member of the Virginia Professional Photographer’s Association. Hundreds of brides have treasured his wedding photos, and he was sought after for dramatic black and white portraits of notable locals. One of his photographs took first place in the Junior Woman’s Club Art Show, the first year that photography was accepted there as an art form for shows.
He is survived by Anne, his wife, of 46 years; a son, Sean, of Phoenix, AZ, and a daughter, Sarah, of Ithaca, NY, as well as his brother, Craig (Gale); one nephew; one great-niece and many beloved cousins and relatives in several states. A host of HAMS will miss his contacts.
A memorial service will be held Thursday April 8 at 2 pm in the Bruton Parish Graveyard, within the Colonial Williamsburg area. Interment to follow service. Masks and social distancing required, please. Parking is available on Duke of Gloucester Street, close to the church.
Cremation Society of Virginia-Newport News assisted the family with arrangements.