|Faculty Member Bill Gregg Perishes in Mine Accident
For more information on this story contact:
|One of Michigan Tech's finest teachers died Saturday, Dec. 6, in a fall down the Quincy Mine Hoist No. 2 Shaft, in Quincy Township. The accident occurred at about 2:15 p.m.|
William Gregg, 60, was installing steel ladders in the shaft to provide an emergency exit from the mine, which is part of the Quincy Mine tour. He lost his footing and fell about 225 feet down the shaft, according to the Houghton County Sheriff's Department.
Members of the Calumet Township Fire and Rescue Department rappelled down into the mineshaft, and Gregg was pronounced dead at the scene.
Gregg was an associate professor of geological engineering in the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, which has set up a website in his memory, www.geo.mtu.edu/news/2008/William_J_Gregg.html .
He was also a member of the board of the Quincy Mine Hoist Association and a dedicated volunteer.
Before coming to Michigan Tech in 1979, Gregg was employed as chief geologist for Windsor Minerals and had earned BS, MS and PhD degrees from the State University of New York at Albany.
Professor Jimmy Diehl (GMES) and Gregg began their careers at Tech during the same era. "He was a good researcher and a great teacher," said Diehl. "He was a wonderful mentor to graduate students," many of whom won best paper awards under his direction. "They were first-rate master's theses.
"He always worked for the best of his students; it was students first, everything else second," Diehl said. "I had a lot of admiration for him. As a colleague, he was first class."
Wayne Pennington, chair of GMES, first came to the department 15 years ago, nine years after Gregg had received the University's Distinguished Teaching Award. His passion for instruction never diminished.
"I do exit interviews with graduating seniors, and to a person, they say Bill Gregg was the best teacher they had," Pennington said. "His network was really impressive, and he is also responsible for many of our graduates getting jobs, particularly in the mining industry. When those students find out [that Gregg has died], they'll be devastated."
Professor Emeritus Allan Johnson (GMES) was a longtime colleague of Gregg's, both at the University and as a board member of the Quincy Mine Hoist Association. "I always liked him," Johnson said. "He was a great researcher, and he put his heart and soul into teaching."
"He was a true geological engineer, a very valuable person to have on the board," Johnson said. "Dedicated? My god, he'd be there at night, on the weekends. He was absolutely great. He was even assembling a tram car; he'd gotten the original plans and was cutting out the timbers."
"He was involved in so many things," Johnson said. "We are all really going to miss Bill."
O'Neill-Dennis Funeral Home in Hancock is handling arrangements.