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In Memoriam: William H. McCracken 1923–2016

He spent a long career at Harbison-Walker Refractories in Pittsburgh/US and Peru (1947–1985), then at F&S International, Inc. (1985–1998) – at the time one of the leading mineral traders specialising in sourcing refractory raw materials. He evaluated refractory raw materials and their potential in more than 40 countries. His technical knowledge of refractory minerals was extensive, deeply respected across the industry, always sought after, and always generously shared. Naturally, he was very active in participating in in- dustry conferences, and contributed many excellent presentations, discussions, and articles to the re- fractories media. Bill McCracken was one of the founders of the Asociacion Latinoamericana de Fabricantes de Refractarios (ALAFAR), serving as its President on various occasions, and a prime force in the establishment of the Unified International Technical Conference on Refractories (UNITECR), with its inaugural conference in Anaheim, California, in 1989, and later served two stints as an Executive Board Member. While working in Latin America, he was responsible for establishing a subsidiary of HarbisonWalker – Refractarios Peruanos (REPSA), Peru (now independent) – of which he was its first Managing Director (1953–1972). In 2005, REPSA celebrated its 50th Anniversary, marking the occasion with the dedication of its new R&D facility, the William J. McCracken Research Center. Bill McCracken was also recognised by the National Society of Industries and the Committee of Glass, Ceramics, Refractories and Related Products (La Sociedad Nacional de Industrias y el Comite de Vidrios, Ceramicas, Refractarions y Afines) for his long and dedicated contribution to the industry. Bill McCracken was the recipient of many awards in recognition of his authority on refractory raw materials, which included: ACerS Fellowship, Distinguished Life Member of UNITECR, American Institute of Mining Engineers (AIME) Legion of Honor, Honorary Life Member of ALAFAR, American Ceramic Society’s Albert Bleininger Award (1997), and the 2007 Tredennick Award of The Refractories Institute.


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