Dr. WJ Wimpee's death Dec. 1, 2002, marked the end of an era at Baylor. Dr. Wimpee, 84, was a retired administrator and chaplain emeritus. In his 57 years at the University, he served under four Baylor presidents.
"Dr. Wimpee was one of the most influential men to ever walk across Baylor's campus," said President Robert B. Sloan Jr. "His name, his very image, are synonymous with Baylor. It will be hard to imagine our campus without his presence."
Born in Kaufman, Texas, Dr. Wimpee enrolled at Baylor in 1936 and served as a class officer all four years and Chamber of Commerce president his senior year. He graduated in 1940 and earned his master's and doctoral degrees in theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.
In 1945, President Pat Neff appointed Dr. Wimpee, then the pastor of First Baptist Church in Dayton, Texas, head of religious activities at Baylor. In 1948, he became the University's first chaplain under President W.R. White.
"As the first chaplain of Baylor University, Dr. Wimpee laid out the pattern for what a chaplain ought to be," said Dr. W. Winfred Moore, Visiting Distinguished Professor of Religion and director of the Center for Ministry Effectiveness. "He truly was pastor of the Baylor community. A pastor is a shepherd, not only looking after his sheep but also leading them. That's what Dr. Wimpee was."
In 1955, Dr. Wimpee was appointed executive assistant to the president and in 1960-61, he served as a teacher and administrative adviser at Hong Kong Baptist University as part of Baylor's efforts to expand international education opportunities. While at Baylor, Dr. Wimpee also served as a fund-raiser, student counselor and religion professor.
Shortly after his 1989 retirement, he returned to the University as director of the Baylor Retired Professors and Administrators Program, a position he held for nearly 10 years.
Dr. Wimpee is survived by his wife of 60 years, Lillian Wilkins Wimpee; daughters and sons-in-law Gayle and David West, Deborah and Mitch Stinnett and Dayna and Mark Schwartze; 10 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and sister, Thelma Lee.
Erwin A. Elias
Baylor law professor emeritus Erwin A. Elias, 69, died Nov. 20, 2002, after a long battle with cancer. Born in Milwaukee, Wis., in 1933, the son of German immigrants, Professor Elias earned his bachelor of science and juris doctor degrees from Marquette University and an LLM degree from the University of Michigan School of Law. He taught at Baylor Law School from 1957 until his retirement in 1994, except from 1968 to 1970, when he taught at Texas Tech Law School. He served as associate dean of Baylor Law School from 1970 to 1975 and was named the George M. Kelly Professor of Law in 1975. He served 16 years as a member and also was the chair of the Texas Motor Vehicle Commission, which dealt with the then-new "Lemon Law" during his service.
Professor Elias is survived by his wife of 46 years, Patricia; daughter and son-in-law Elizabeth and Tom Davis; grandchildren Jenny, Jackie and Tommy Davis; brother and sister-in-law Ernest and Violet Elias of Milwaukee, Wis.; and nieces and nephews.
Former dean of Baylor's School of Education L.V. McNamee, 86, died Dec. 6, 2002. Born in Greenville, Texas, in 1916, he earned his bachelor's degree from Baylor in 1938 and his master's and doctoral degrees in education at the University of Houston. Dr. McNamee came to Baylor in 1965 as a faculty member and was named dean of the School of Education in 1971, a position he held until his retirement in 1981. Previous to his tenure at Baylor, he was assistant superintendent for the Waco Independent School District from 1959 to 1964. He held teaching or administrative assignments at schools in La Marque, Mosheim, Munger and Liberty and at Vanderbilt and Texas A&M.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Marguerite Concilio McNamee; daughter and son-in-law, Barbara and David Tomaja; son and daughter-in-law Gary and Noel McNamee; grandchildren Amanda, Douglas and Rachel McNamee and John Konopnicki; and sister, Alma Rohm.