Bill Wilcox was one of the few who knew exactly what he was headed to Oak Ridge to do.
(WBIR-Oak Ridge) Funeral arrangements are set for Bill Wilcox.
Wilcox's funeral will be Saturday at 11:00 am at Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church on Tulane Avenue in Oak Ridge. A community reception will follow at Pollard Auditorium at Oak Ridge Associated Universities on Badger Avenue.
Longtime Oak Ridge historian Bill Wilcox has died. City officials say Wilcox, 90, died Monday night.
Wilcox came to Oak Ridge to work on the secretive Manhattan Project during World War II. He was employed as a chemist, and was one of the few workers in Oak Ridge who knew exactly what he was working on.
"You can't do chemical purification if you don't know what you're working with," he told 10News in 2010. But he had to keep the secret. He was told to never use the word uranium.
"That's the last time you'll hear that word until the end of the war. If you say it or write it to anyone, you'll be discharged immediately," Wilcox said. He said he was instructed to call it "tube alloy" instead.
Previous story: Namesake: X-10, Y-12, and K-25 in Oak Ridge
In recent years, Wilcox served as the Oak Ridge Historian, making sure everyone knows the impact those Manhattan Project workers had on the end of World War II, and beyond.
Funeral arrangements for Wilcox are not complete.
Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan released the following statement about the loss of Wilcox:
"I was very saddened to hear the news of Bill's passing. He is truly one of Oak Ridge's most distinguished citizens and has enriched our community in countless ways. He was a pioneer scientist of the Manhattan Project and as City Historian Bill helped preserve Oak Ridge's unique history through his leadership on projects such as the Secret City Commemorate Walk and the Birth of a City projects. On behalf of the City of Oak Ridge, I extend our condolences to his wife Jeannie and their children."