William John Flathau

Published 10:34 am Thursday, March 23, 2017

William John Flathau passed away Tuesday, March 21, 2017. He was 87.

Visitation will be from 9 to 11 a.m. at Triumph Church Friday, March 24, with services to follow. Mike Fields, Betty Love and Kimble Love will be officiating.

Burial will follow at Greenlawn Gardens Cemetery.

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He was born in Chicago. Upon graduating from the University of Illinois in 1951 with a degree in civil engineering, he worked two years for the Harza Engineering Co., then entered the United States Army.

In 1954, he was one of the first four enlisted men to be assigned to the Waterways Experiment Station under a program called the utilization of engineering and scientific personnel.  Upon completion of his military duty, he was employed as a civil engineer in the Special Investigations Section of the Hydraulics Laboratory. That section expanded into the Weapons Effects Laboratory where he served as chief of the Protective Structures Branch from 1963 to 1972, when he became chief of the laboratory.

During this period, he earned a Master of Science Degree from Mississippi State University. He was involved in some unique projects concerned with both nuclear and conventional explosion effects: the last nuclear trials of structures subjected to above ground detonations at both the Nevada Test Site and the Pacific Proving Grounds (Eniwetok and Bikini Atolls), development of laboratory devices and participation in field techniques to simulate the air blast signatures of nuclear devices to test and evaluate buried protective structures, special structures used in Vietnam for protection against conventional weapons, the design of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe War Headquarters in Belgium to resist weapons effects, and the development techniques and dynamic tests of model structures to predict the response of prototype systems.

A registered professional engineer in Mississippi, Flathau was a member of the Society of American Military Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers and is listed American Men of Science. In 1963, the Mississippi Society of Professional Engineers selected him as the Outstanding Young Engineer in Mississippi.

In 1970 and 1974 he received the Department of the Army’s top award for research and development achievements. In 1975, he received the Meritorious Civilian Service Award and in 1977, the SAME Wheeler Medal.

He retired from WES in April, 1984 and opened the Vicksburg office of JAYCOR, where research and applied engineering studies were conducted in the field of structural dynamics and weapons effects. After six years, he retired from JAYCOR, but continued to do some consulting work for the Applied Research Associates Office located in Vicksburg.

Flathau has served as president of the Y’s Men’s Club and the Vicksburg Branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is a past member of Rotary International and past district commissioner of the Boy Scouts of America. He is a member of the board of directors of the River City Rescue Mission and past member of the advisory board of the Salvation Army.

He was a member of the Vicksburg Camp of Gideon’s International and an active board member of the Aldersgate Renewal Ministries of Goodlettsville, Tenn. He also participated in the Mississippi Methodist Cursillo movement where he was the rector for Cursillo No. 55. He was also active in the Discover God’s Call program in Mississippi.

He was a member of the Triumph Church of Vicksburg. For many years in the summer, he taught the third- and fourth-grade Sunday school class for the Community Bible School.

He was preceded in death by his father, Walter Reinhold Flathau; his mother, Hilda Marie Flathau; his former wife, Barbara Ann Reinhardt Flathau.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara Sue Flathau; his son, Jeffrey Sherard Flathau (Heather) of Hattiesburg; and three grandchildren, Tyler Austin Flathau, Hannah Ryan Flathau and Jeffrey Heath Flathau.

Pallbearers will be, Tyler Flathau, Heath Flathau, Gary Dykes, Wes Lominick, Hugh Green, Gene Allen, David Mobley, and Gordon Cordes.

Honorary pallbearers will be, Joe McCormick, Mike & Patty Byers, Dr. Bob Shell, Don Neuman, Bill Curtis, Richard Cowart, Randy Sherard, Jimmy Newman, Bob Cunny, John Shingler, James Mason, Dr. Calvin Masterson, Joseph Smith, members of the board of directors of the River City Rescue Mission, members of the Vicksburg Camp of the Gideons International, and members of the board of directors of the Aldersgate Renewal Ministries.