Engineer fulfilled by tinkering, singing
No man's phony, engineer Bill Zollars lived a life light on glamour and high on observation.
“I was taking pictures of mountains and pyramids while he was taking shots of electrical lines,” said Elsa Reese Zollars, his wife of 56 years. “You always knew what you were getting with Bill.”
William Bell Zollars of Upper St. Clair died Friday, Sept. 20, 2013. He was 82.
The couple traveled to more than 25 countries, including Mr. Zollars' boyhood home in Rio de Janeiro, where he picked up the Portuguese that he spoke fluently. He sang in the choir at Christ United Methodist Church, making every performance even when it required he slip in quietly through the back.
“He lived his life simply,” his wife said. “He was a lot more interested in problem-solving and making sure everyone around him was comfortable and provided for.”
Mr. Zollars, who spent his 37-year career as an electrical engineer with Alcoa, was the ultimate tinkerer.
“We never had to call in a repairman,” said his son, Bill Zollars of Upper St. Clair, who also became an engineer.
They bonded over build-it-yourself TV kits and Fiberglas kayak plans.
A graduate of Duke University who served in the Air Force, Mr. Zollars stayed on the forefront of technology. His son said he became one of the first in his field to operate primitive software that set the sagging length for electrical lines, no matter the weather or strength of the current.
“Oh, he wired everything,” his wife said. “I prefer an on-off switch, and he's got a remote for every gadget in our house. I'm going to be in trouble later when I need to turn off the lights.”
In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Zollars is survived by two daughters, Mary Beth Zollars of Bethel Park and Jean Anne Zollars of Albuquerque, and four grandchildren.
Friends are welcome from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday in Laughlin Memorial Chapel, 222 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon. A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday in Christ United Methodist Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Music Ministry at Christ United Methodist Church, 44 Highland Road, Bethel Park, PA 15102, or the South Hills Chorale, 6002 Belle Terre Court, Bridgeville, PA 15017.
Megan Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5815 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Megan Harris to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Shale oil, gas finds put Mon Valley on path to renaissance, leaders say
- Ebola watch lists to shrink
- Penguins forward Downie becoming a hit with teammates
- Legal titans prepared to tussle in Ferrante cyanide homicide trial
- Opposing defenses find success against Steelers by eschewing blitz
- Scottdale appoints borough solicitor
- Steelers looking for Spence to step up game at inside linebacker
- Pittsburgh photo exhibit shines light on ‘Good’ work
- Customers rarely utilize right to cancel a contract
- West Virginia University warns students over riots
- Monessen police break up fight