OBITUARY: William Gerald Reinecke, 85

Below is an obituary from Campbell Funeral Home:

PEABODY, MA — William Gerald Reinecke, age 85, died on May 31 after suffering a stroke. He and his wife Sandra moved to senior housing in Peabody, last December after living 21 years in Gloucester, and 30 years before that in Beverly. Bill grew up in South Bend, Ind., and attended Purdue University and Princeton University, where he earned his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering.

After serving in the Air Force research labs at Wright-Patterson Air Base for three years, Bill joined Avco Systems Division (subsequently Textron Defense Systems) in Wilmington, Mass., where he became Director of Engineering. He was responsible for the engineering development of three smart weapon systems for the Department of Defense, including the Sensor Fuzed Weapon (BLU-108) which was successfully employed in the liberation of Iraq. At Avco he also developed the first experimental facility to measure the erosion impact of rain and dust on high speed projectiles. This work has had a major impact on the design of U.S. reentry vehicles.

After working 25 years at AVCO, Bill joined the Institute for Advanced Technology at the University of Texas at Austin to conduct internationally recognized work on the aerothermodynamics and impact of unconventional hypersonic projectiles, leading to the first aerodynamically stable, explosively forged penetrator (an anti-tank weapon). Prior to retirement from IAT he was appointed Distinguished Research Fellow at the University of Texas.

Bill’s participation in professional organizations required him to travel extensively overseas to meet with similar professionals. He chaired two NATO Industrial Advisory Groups; was national Director for Aerospace Sciences of AIAA; and was a member of the International Ballistics Committee of the National Defense Industrial Association. He and his wife were fortunate to have traveled together to every continent except Antarctica.

Bill embraced New England. He hiked in the White Mountains and encouraged his wife and daughters to become downhill skiers. He loved the ocean and was an avid sailor and cruiser, traveling from Long Island Sound to the Bay of Fundy from the home base of Salem Willows Yacht Club. Post retirement vacations usually included a six-week cruise among the islands of Maine.

Bill and his wife Sandra have been married for 61 years. They have two daughters, Sheryl Silva of Beverly, and Kathryn Orfino of Houston, TX; four grandchildren, Andrew, Lucas, James, and Joselyn Silva of Beverly; and three nieces and a nephew: Bette Whalen of Austin, TX; Lee Reinecke of Hilton, NY; Sandie McGavin of Frederick, Md; and Marli Robicheau of Fayetteville, NY. He was predeceased by his parents and his brother.

Bill was an avid reader of history and philosophy. The family will establish a memorial gift at the Beverly, public library to buy nonfiction books. Donations may be sent to the Friends of the Beverly Public Library, 32 Essex Street, Beverly, for the William G. Reinecke Memorial Fund.

The family will hold a celebration of Bill’s life on Monday, June 28 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Wylie Inn and Conference Center of Endicott College, 295 Hale Street, Beverly. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. Arrangements by Campbell Funeral Home, 525 Cabot Street, Beverly. Information, directions, and condolences at

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