Dr. Marcellus E. Waddill

Published 2:16 pm Thursday, August 25, 2016

Dr. Marcellus E. Waddill, beloved husband, father, and grandfather, died on August 24, 2016. He was 86 years old. His life was centered on God and devoted to family and friends, especially the members of College Park Baptist Church and the students, faculty, and staff of Wake Forest University. He lived in a way that was genuine and good, with a calm strength and a listening ear that invited people to come and talk, whether it be good news or bad, joy or trouble.  He paid attention; he lingered; he took the time to be with others, take care of them and enjoy their company. He took to heart the commandment of Jesus, “That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another to the last.” 

Dr. Waddill was born at North Garden on April 28, 1930. In 1937, his family moved to a farm called “Rocky Knoll” in Prince Edward County. There he developed a love of growing things that never left him (he always turned his garden with a shovel, and must have grown a million tomatoes!). He graduated from Worsham High School in 1947 and attended Hampden-Sydney College, where he studied Greek, Latin, and mathematics. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society and graduated in June 1952 as valedictorian of his class.  At Hampden-Sydney, he was elected to membership in the student council and was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. He earned an M.A. degree at the University of Pittsburgh in 1953. From 1953 until 1956, he served as an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserves. He attended the University of Pittsburgh from 1957 to 1962 and completed the requirements for the Ph.D. in mathematics in May 1962. He joined the faculty at Wake Forest University (then College) where he taught mathematics for 35 years, retiring in 1997 as professor emeritus of mathematics. 

Dr. Waddill was the son of the late Charles Wilson Waddill and the late Sally Ann King Waddill. Surviving him are his wife, Shirley Ann Waddill; two sons, David (Irene) of Rye, N.Y., and Dan (Karen) of Newport News; grandchildren, Harrison and John Waddill, and Wilson, Lillian, Evan and Henry Waddill; a brother, R. King Waddill (Lorraine) of Richmond. Another brother, Thomas A. Waddill, of Angier, NC, predeceased him in 2010. 

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Dr. Waddill devoted his intellect, mind and heart to Wake Forest University.  He served as chairman or member of over 30 committees, including the Committee on Academic Affairs, the Graduate Council, the Judicial Council, the Honors Committee, the Committee on Student Affairs, and numerous search committees and selection committees. During his career, he taught 16 different undergraduate and graduate mathematics courses, and served as advisor for six master’s theses and numerous independent studies and honors projects. He was chairman of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department for seven years and was a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Fibonacci Association. As a researcher in the area of Fibonacci and recurrence sequences, he published 14 papers in journals and attended numerous conferences both in the U.S. and overseas. He served as secretary-treasurer of Phi Beta Kappa, held positions on numerous committees, and attended eight Triennial Council meetings which were located in various parts of the United States. His honors and awards included Professor of the Year, Omicron Delta Kappa Award for outstanding contribution to student life, Outstanding Chapter Advisor Sigma Chi Fraternity, Jon Reinhart Award for distinguished teaching, and Alumni Association’s Faculty Prize for Community Service. In addition, the Marcellus Waddill Excellence in Teaching Award was established by his son David, with a $20,000 award given annually to teachers involved in primary and secondary education.   

Since 1962, Dr. Waddill was an active member of College Park Baptist Church, where he was embraced by countless friends in God’s love and Christian fellowship. He served the church as a deacon, member of numerous committees, and Sunday school teacher for Wake Forest students. For many years, he was a member of the Shepherd Sunday school class. 

Memorial services will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 27, at College Park Baptist Church, with Ramon Smith presiding. Family will greet guests following the service in Smith Hall at the church. Lunch will be served to the family by the Ruth Sunday school class assisted by the Shepherd class.

Memorials can be sent to the College Park Baptist Church building fund (College Park Baptist Church, 1701 Polo Road, Winston-Salem, NC  27106) or Hospice (101 Hospice Lane, Winston-Salem, NC  27103). Online condolences can be made through www.salemfh.com.

Salem Funeral Home, North Carolina, is serving the family.