It is with great sadness that we note the passing of Project3713 Honorary Chairman William L. Withuhn. Bill was a friend, mentor and advisor not only to our team, but to all of those with a passion for American history… especially steam railroad history. It is fair to say that all of us who treasure the wonder of operating steam locomotives in the modern USA owe more than a bit of thanks to Bill.
People knew Bill in many ways: as an USAF veteran (he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross), as a career Smithsonian leader, as an unabashed supporter of transportation preservation, as a person who championed the regulations that keep steam trains running safely today, and – most importantly – as a good man admired for his knowledge, passion and helpful nature.
Bill was no stranger to Steamtown. He saw the promise in the park from its earliest days. Over the past few years, Bill’s health prohibited travel to Scranton to work with the Project3713 team in person. Instead, he was a trusted voice on the phone and via email. His advice always came with forethought and reason… and usually a personal story or two about how said advice was learned.
The passing of someone as profoundly unique and influential as Bill brings great sorrow. His departure leaves a void in many communities, including the railroad preservation community, that will not be filled.
We share our deepest condolences with his wife, Gail, and family.
Bill’s ashes will be placed in the Columbarium at Arlington National Cemetery.