Dr. William “Bill” Ergle, professor of mathematics and statistics, emeritus, died on Feb. 21, 2021. His family reported that he had been healthy until a broken hip a few weeks before his death led to blood clots and a massive stroke.
He taught at Roanoke College for 44 years and led the Math, Computer Science and Physics department for 15 years. Along with that, Ergle initiated the computer science department and courses at Roanoke College. As chair of the Math, Computer Science and Physics department, he valued the culture of all the professors being able to teach all courses, as he thought this kept the “department’s teaching fresh and innovative,” Dr. Roland Minton, M. Paul Capp & Constance Whitehead Professor of Mathematics, wrote in a blog post about Ergle’s impact on the department.
Ergle’s passion for teaching was evident as he loved his job and his students. He was known for being a fair professor. He was entertained by the students and felt they kept him young. He loved his colleagues as well, and that feeling is reciprocated throughout the department.
“I got to know Bill when he hired me in 1986,” Minton said. “He was a great mentor, always available for counsel or just listening to young-faculty complaints. I trusted his judgment and valued his friendship.”
“He demanded rigorous performance, and he did it with good humor and a willingness to help those wanting to learn.”
President Michael C. Maxey
Ergle served his community in many ways. He was a member of the Roanoke County School Board for five years, and taught Sunday School with his wife, Joy. The Ergles moved to Atlanta, Georgia eight years ago to be closer to their beloved children and grandchildren.
Ergle held a Bachelor of Science degree from Clemson University, a master's degree from the University of South Carolina, and a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech.
Roanoke College President Michael C. Maxey remembered Ergle as “a giant who shaped the College in lasting ways,” a professor who left students with memorable classroom experiences.
“He demanded rigorous performance, and he did it with good humor and a willingness to help those wanting to learn,” Maxey said. “In my previous roles at Roanoke, I often sought his advice. He gave wise counsel, was always fair, and told it like it was.”
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 13 at 2:00 p.m. for the family, but with COVID-19 protocols, the viewing will be remote.
Those who wish to express condolences may contact Ergle’s daughter, Christi Ergle O'Neal, at Christi.firstname.lastname@example.org.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to TACAnow.org (The Autism Community in Action) in honor of his grandson, Eric O’Neal.