We are deeply saddened to announce that William Martin Metz passed away March 26, 2023 due to his long battle with cancer. He had his wife and daughter at his side.
William “Bill” was born on December 5, 1955 in Brooklyn, NY. He worked as a civilian for the Department of Defense for 30 years where he retired after working in the position of a Director of Material Command in Huntsville, AL. He began his Defense Department experience in 1985 working for the Air Force. He transferred to the Army Corps of Engineers in Fort Worth and then worked at Army Corps Headquarters in DC. He then moved to Army headquarters in DC where he worked as Assistant Chief of Installation Management. Next he was Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. From 2006-2014 he was Director of Mission Support for Operations and Logistics and Director of the Plans, Programs, and Resources Directorate at Army Materiel Command in Huntsville.
His education began with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Franklin and Marshal College, Lancaster, PA. He earned a master’s degree in anthropology with an archaeology emphasis from Ball State University, in Muncie, Indiana. Following these degrees he worked as a cultural resource archaeologist mostly in Wyoming, after a year of fieldwork in Mississippi. His Master’s thesis was on the history of the oil and gas industry in Wyoming. He next moved into a BLM state office archaeology position in Cheyenne, Wyoming where he initiated the Wyoming BLM Native American reburial policy. Because the BLM position was temporary and lacked retirement benefits, Bill switched to working as a supervisory archaeologist at nearby Warren Air Force Base. He obtained funding to complete inventories of archaeological sites on the base landscape and assessments of historic buildings from the Fort D. A. Russell era in order to prepare a Cultural Resource Management Plan for the base. Bill hired a historical architect for the buildings and for the archaeology section of the plan he hired Alice Tratebas whom he later married. His supervisor at Warren thought Bill had the makings of an effective Defense Department manager and provided him a range of trainings to expand his skill set. Additional duties broadened his experience to include management of natural resources at the base, such as a herd of rare white antelope, becoming a community planner, and handling contracting for the base. Eventually supervising cleanup of hazardous waste spills was added to his duties. Having to wear a pager to respond to all hazardous waste events and exposure to toxins and carcinogens did not agree with Bill, and he moved to a job in Texas working on the NEPA process for base realignment and closure and subsequent Department of Defense jobs.
During his career in the Department of Defense, he earned a Master’s in National Security and Strategic Studies at the U.S. Naval War College, Newport, RI. Additional education included the Defense Leadership and Management Program (Executive Leadership Development) and Army Management Staff College, Fort Belvoir, VA (Sustaining Base Leadership and Management Program). In his long military career, he was in charge of moving Army Materiel Command from Virginia to Huntsville, Alabama, wrote speeches for generals, testified before congress, and resolved numerous Defense issues in Washington, D. C., Huntsville, Alabama, and other posts he filled.
Bill had long enjoyed fantasy books and films and played fantasy themed computer games. He beta-tested a number of computer games during their development.
He will be buried in his favorite state of Colorado that he has always been drawn to since a young age when he camped at Colorado River Ranch and enjoyed leading rafting expeditions and horseback riding. After Bill retired, he and Alice bought land in Colorado and Bill oversaw the building of a retirement home that they had designed. Sometimes he regretted not becoming a full time rafter as a career. He wrote the following passage to begin an unfinished story:
Chapter 1 – Flowing Water
I learned much of my philosophy from the river. Everything from my sense of time, ability to react to crisis, working with people, even management and logistics. But maybe most importantly, how to listen.
He will be dearly missed by his wife Alice, daughter Lacey, and granddaughter Mekiya.
He was predeceased by his parents William and Anna May Metz as well as his in-laws Edmund and Gladys Tratebas, his aunts and uncles Dorothy, Fred, Sunny, Heinz, Martin, and Yusef.
His memory will live on in his siblings Robert (Annie), Ann (Adriana), Tim, Eric, Dan (Leighann), Mark (Ruth), Debbie, Kerri, and Anthony, his Aunts Laura and Dorothy, his nieces and nephews, Veronica, Jennifer, Samantha, Jonathan, Christopher, Ashley, Melanie, Alexandra, Jillian, Rebekah, Jayme, William, Joshua, Renzo, and Dante, as well as his cousins.