Robert William “Bill” Upchurch, Jr. of Houston, Texas passed away peacefully on Monday,
August 31, 2020, at Houston Methodist Hospital, surrounded by his family.
Bill was born to Robert William Upchurch, Sr. and Dorothy Kerlin in Ruston, Louisiana,
on April 27, 1940. He excelled academically from a young age and received both his Bachelor’s
and Master’s degrees in Chemical Engineering from Louisiana Tech University, Class of 1962
and 1963, respectively. A recognized distinguished alumna of the school, Bill enjoyed a life of
great personal and professional success. He was a man of deep commitment - to career, family,
and faith - and his dedication and discipline are evident in his accomplishments and lasting
family legacy. Bill spent the majority of his career with Exxon, where he managed a variety of
domestic and international businesses and operations, living and working in Baton Rouge,
Baytown, Houston, New Jersey, New York, London and Rome. His work ethic was unparalleled
and he was affectionately nicknamed “the blue-eyed barracuda” for his determined approach to
problem solving. Bill retired from Exxon in 1995 after five years as Vice President of Refining,
joining Wright Killen and later Ernst & Young as Principal before his final retirement. Always
passionate about education, Bill loved to learn and had a special interest in WWII history. In his
free time, Bill enjoyed distance running, duck hunting, professional baseball, and See’s
Candies. He was also an active member of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.
Bill is survived by his wife, Rebecca, his children, Kyle (and his wife Kimberly), Blake and
Brooke, his granddaughters, Lauren and Kate, and sister Dorothy Lazarus, as well as several
nieces, nephews, and cousins with whom he shared many fond memories. He was preceded in
death by his daughter, Kristen, earlier this year. Bill’s immediate family would like to extend a
special thank you to all of the friends and family members who supported Bill throughout his life
and during his long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, especially his gracious and devoted
caregiver, Gina Solorzano.
The family held a small graveside service at Glenwood Cemetery on Thursday,
September 3rd. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations be made in Bill’s name to
the Alzheimer’s Association.
6055 South Loop East, Houston TX 77087