William D. Middleton, 83, died on 10 July 2011 at Livonia, New York. He had been battling Merkel Cell Carcinoma. He was the second of six children of Dr. and Mrs. William D. Middleton. All six were born at Davenport, Iowa. William went on to be a career naval officer, chief facilities officer for the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, and an extensive career as a railroad historian and photographer for more than 60 years.
Middleton was among the first recruits for the Navy’s new ROTC training program in 1946, and completed his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy, New York, in 1950. Following his graduation he was commissioned in the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps and began a career of almost 30 years. His work with the Navy took him to French Morocco, Turkey, Vietnam, Okinawa, Korea, and Japan, as well as many postings in the United States. He served with the U.S. Navy Seabees (CB—construction battalions), as a public works officer (chief facilities officer), as a civil engineering advisor, and as a staff member for the United Nations Command, Korea. He retired from the Navy as a commander in 1979. His military awards included a Secretary of the Navy Commendation for Achievement and the Legion of Merit.
Following his Navy work, Middleton joined the University of Virginia as its chief facilities officer for the next 14 years, responsible for construction and maintenance of buildings and grounds, planning, and construction. He was particularly proud of the work the organization did in developing highly competent staff in every trade through comprehensive training plans, licensing of staff, and the development of new staff through a formal apprenticeship program, the first of its kind at any Virginia public institution. Active for many years with APPA, the international association of higher education facilities officers, he was its vice president for three years, and elected as its president in 1990.
Following his retirement from the University in 1993, he continued his extensive work in conducting facilities management evaluations, both as a single member and a large staff of evaluatoirs for dozens of colleges and universities. His largest single consulting project was working with consultant Eva Klein his development of a system for evaluation of required work for the upgrading of deficient facilities and needed new construction of long rage enrollment planning for the 17 member University of North Carolina. A $1.5 billion investment followed the completion of this project. Throughout more than 60 years Bill Middleton was also active as a reporter, writer, and photographer. His published work includes more than 20 books and approximately 700 articles for magazines and newspapers over the years, accompanied with extensive photographic work. He was a long-time writer for such international railroad topics at Railway Age, Railroad Track and Structures, Railway Gazette International, and International Railway Journal, as well as such general publications as American Heritage, and American Heritage of Invention & Technology. While his work was largely on the subject of railroad history and operation, he also did extensive work in engineering, military topics, and travel. On occasion he worked with his family, including a travel guide of South Korea with his wife Dorothy, and a biography of Frank Julian Sprague written jointly with his son, William III.
Books By William D. Middleton
1961 The Interurban Era. Kalmbach Publishing.
1964 North Shore: America’s Fastest Interurban. Golden West Books.
1967 The Time of the Trolley. Kalmbach Publishing.
1969 The Railroad Scene. Golden West Books.
1970 South Shore: The Last Interurban. Golden West Books.
1974 When the Steam Railroads Electrified. Kalmbach Publishing.
1975 (with Dorothy H. Middleton) Some Korean Journeys. Royal Asiatic Society, Korea Branch.
1977 Grand Central: The World’s Greatest Railway Station. Golden West Books.
1983 Traction Classics, Volume One: The Interurbans, The Great Wood and Steel Cars. Golden West Books.
1985 Traction Classics Volume Two: The Interurbans, Extra Fast, Extra Fare. Golden West Books.
1985 Traction Classics Volume Three: The Interurbans, Interurban Freight. Golden West Books.
1986 China By Rail. Trans Anglo Books.
1987 The Time of the Trolley: The Street Railway from Horse Car to Light Rail. Centennial of the Trolley 1887-1987. Golden West Books.
1989 From Bullets to BART. Bulletin 127, Central Electric Railfans’ Association.
1996 Manhattan Gateway: New York’s Pennsylvania Station. Kalmbach Publishing.
1997 (General Editor) Facilities Management: A Manual for Plant Administration, Third Edition, Four Volumes. Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers.
1999 Landmarks on the Iron Road: Two Centuries of North American Railroad Engineering. Indiana University Press.
1999 South Shore: The Last Interurban, Revised Second Edition. Indiana University Press.
2000 Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take: Railway Journeys by William D. Middleton. Indiana University Press.
2001 When the Steam Railroads Electrified, Revised, Second Edition. Indiana University Press.
2001 The Bridge at Quebec. Indiana University Press.
2002 The Pennsylvania Railroad Under Wire. Kalmbach.
2003 Metropolitan Railways: Rapid Transit in American. Indiana University Press.
2003 The Last Interurbans. Bulletin 136, Central Electric Railfans’ Association.
2007 (Editor, with George M. Smerk and Roberta L. Diehl) The encyclopedia of North American Railroads. Indiana University Press.
2009 (with William D. Middleton III) Frank Julian Sprague: Electrical Inventor and Engineer. Indiana University Press.
In press On Railways Far Away. Indiana University Press.
Middleton’s long and happy marriage of 53 years came to an end with the death of his wife Dorothy in 2009. He is survived by his son William D., III, and his daughter-in-law Elia Marina Castellanos Morales, who live in Livonia, New York, and his son Nicholas F., his daughter-in-law Andrea Klarman, and granddaughters Isabel Riquette and Evalina Dorothy, who live in Seattle, Washington and his five siblings, Susan, Louise, Frederick, Elizabeth, and David.
For remembrances we suggest contributions to support the Indiana Historical Society (450 W. Ohio St., Indianapolis. IN 46202-3269), which will maintain the extensive Middleton collection of railroad photographs, or the University of Virginia’s Historic Buildings (University of Virginia, ATT: Gift Accounting, P.O. Box 400807, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4807). Gifts should be made in memory of William D. Middleton.
Memorial Service will be held 1PM, Saturday, July 30, 2011 at the University of Virginia Columbarium, Charlottesville, Virginia. Arrangements, Kevin W. Dougherty Funeral Home, Inc., 21 ig Tree St., Routes 15 & 20A, Livonia, NY 14487. To send condolences or share a memory, please visit: www.doughertyfuneralhomes.com