Bill was an outstanding metallurgist and manager. In the mid-1970s the direction of his research work turned to the Lakeshore joint venture owned by Hecla and El Paso Natural Gas. Copper ores from the underground mine were treated separately, the sulfides being concentrated by flotation. The copper sulfide concentrates were then roasted, enabling production of sulfuric acid from the roaster gases. The roasted calcine was blended with oxide ore, leached with sulfuric acid, and the leach liquors were treated by direct electrowinning to yield cathodically deposited copper. For a few years, magnetite was recovered from the flotation tailings, pyrometallurgically reduced to metallic iron, and applied to the precipitation of residual soluble copper from the electrowinning plant. Bill once commented that bringing this large complex operation into production was “tantamount to starting a perpetual motion machine.”
Bill received an honorary professional degree from Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology, an honorary doctor of business administration from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, and an honorary doctor of science from the University of Idaho. From the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, he received the Extractive Metallurgy Technology Award (1976), the A. M. Gaudin Award (1976), the Distinguished Member Award (1977), the Robert H. Richards Award (1981), and was elected to the Legion of Honor (1983).
Bill was active in his community of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and belonged to the Rotary Club and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. He served as the director of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, and of the American Mining Congress, as president of the Silver Institute and of the Western Regional Council, and was founding chairman of the board for Inland Northwest Bank. He was a humorous and caring man who left behind many good friends and respectful colleagues.
Bill married Gratia Frances Hannan on Jan. 27, 1949, in Boston, Mass. They had three children, Georgeanne Griffith of Rathdrum, Idaho; Jim (Pam) Griffith of Canton, Ohio; and