By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun
1:44 PM AKST, February 17, 2012
William Warner Staley, a decorated Army Air Forces gunner during World War II who became a mechanical engineer, died of prostate cancer Monday at Pines Genesis Eldercare in Easton.
The one-time Bolton Hill and Pasadena resident was 90.
Born Warner McConnell Staley in Gibbstown, N.J., his name was changed when he was 10 to William Warner, to honor an ancestor who emigrated from the Cotswolds of England to Philadelphia in 1683.
Raised in Haverford, Pa., he was a 1939 graduate of Lower Merion High School. He attended the University of Virginia before enlisting in the Army Air Forces in 1942.
Trained as a radio gunner, Mr. Staley was assigned to the 8th Air Force in England and flew aboard the "Yo is My Ideal," a B-17 Flying Fortress.
He flew 33 combat missions over Europe and was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters and the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters.
He was then transferred to Laredo, Texas, where he was a gunnery instructor until being discharged at war's end.
Mr. Staley returned to the University of Virginia, where he earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1947. After graduation, he went to work for the Koppers Co.'s Bartlett-Hayward Division in Baltimore.
He took a job in 1955 with Westinghouse Electric Corp.'s Air Arm Division, where he worked on electronic assemblies, both in the commercial and defense industries.
He retired in 1983.
Mr. Staley and a partner, Charles Harper, founded Technology Seminars Inc., which made presentations throughout the U.S., England and Japan.
He was active in civic affairs and was a member of the committee that drafted the Anne Arundel County charter. He also was active in Junior Scientists of America and on the local and district levels of the Boy Scouts of America.
Mr. Staley was a life member of the John Paul Jones Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.
He enjoyed sailing and was a member of the Potapskut Sailing Association and the Sailing Club of the Chesapeake. He was a founding member and third president of the Magothy River Sailing Association.
He also had been president of the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association and was a co-founder of the Chesapeake Sailing Yacht Symposium in Annapolis.
He enjoyed building radio-controlled sailboats at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels and vacationing at a second home in Danville, Vt.
Mr. Staley was a founding member and elder of Harundale Presbyterian Church, 1020 Eastway in Glen Burnie, where funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Feb. 18.
Surviving are his wife of 67 years, the former Helen Ross, an architect; two sons, Ross W. Staley of Annapolis and Frederic A. Staley of Cary, N.C.; two daughters, Joanne Buritsch of St. Michaels and Elizabeth Staley of Annapolis-on-the-Bay; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.