Cover photo for William Corbin "Bill" Elrod's Obituary
William Corbin "Bill" Elrod Profile Photo

William Corbin "Bill" Elrod

December 28, 1928 — February 23, 2024

Clemson

William Corbin "Bill" Elrod

William Corbin Elrod, “Bill,” was born December 28, 1928, in Walhalla, South Carolina to Alice Corbin Elrod, a first-grade teacher, and William Crayton Elrod, a teacher, US revenuer, and finally a deputy sheriff. He had an identical twin brother, Alvon Creighton, an older sister, Mary Elizabeth, and a younger sister, Miriam Alice.

Bill graduated from Clemson University in 1949, earned his MS in mechanical engineering from Clemson in 1951, and received his PhD from Michigan University in 1965. He returned to Clemson to teach mechanical engineering for 6 years–at the same time his twin brother taught in the same department, imagine the confusion–before moving to Dayton, Ohio, to teach aeronautical engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) for 27 years. While at AFIT, he served his community and promoted the sciences by judging high school science fairs and contributing to organizing TechFest, the largest science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) event in Ohio.

Bill was called up to active duty for the US Air Force on June 18, 1953, and retired as a Lt. Colonel from the US Air Force reserves in 1977. While on reserve duty, he designed the small dynamic shaker that simulates acceleration on the centrifuge used to prepare NASA’s chimpanzee astronauts for missions. (He promoted science at home by bringing home samples of the solid fuel to create sparklers to amuse his children.) He also designed ground support engine-generator sets for the B-47 and B-51 aircraft.  

Even though Bill and Carolyn lived in Clemson at the same time, they met in Dayton, Ohio. One of Bill’s friends connected them which led to a 70+ year partnership. They enjoyed playing bridge, square dancing, attending Cincinnati Reds baseball games, tending their huge vegetable garden and apple orchard, and serving the local Southern Baptist Church, their friends, their family, and neighbors.

Bill served as a deacon in the Southern Baptist Church for about 50 years and received the honor of being a deacon Emeritus from the First Baptist Church of Fairborn, Ohio. Bill and Carolyn were devoted Christians who dedicated their lives to serving others. Their pastors knew they could be called upon to assist fellow church members any time there was a need.

Bill and Carolyn had five children, four daughters Miriam Liegh Elrod (Jennifer Lewis), Mary Elrod Little (Ed), Alice Bain Elrod, and Elizabeth Elrod Jones (Jerry), and one son, William Benjamin Corbin Elrod (Tonjia).

On February 23, 2024, Bill passed away at his home surrounded by loved ones. He is preceded in death by his parents, his twin brother Alvon, and his sisters Miriam and Mary Elizabeth. He is survived by his wife and children; six grandchildren, Grace Nicole Little Canova, William Reid Little, Jonathan William Elrod, Emily Grace Elrod, Ryan Christensen, and Jon-Erick Christensen; two great-grandchildren, Sadie Harper Canova and Dylan Michael Canova; and many nieces and nephews.  

Bill will be remembered by the young people he encouraged at the science fairs, his students, the members of each church he served, his neighbors, his friends, and his family for his selfless support and encouragement.

It was Bill’s wish that any memorial tributes be made in the form of charitable donations to one of the following funds for academic scholarships at Clemson University: the Alice Corbin Elrod Endowed Fellowship, https://iamatiger.clemson.edu/giving/giving-to-clemson?id=80616382-8f20-45bc-b73f-bc9b380fd53c or the Senior Platoon Operating Fund. The address is: Annual Giving Office, PO 1889, Clemson, SC 29633-1889.    

A memorial service will be held at 1 pm on April 20, 2024, at the First Baptist Church in Clemson, SC. A reception will be held in the fellowship hall following the service.

Visit RobinsonFuneralHomes.com or Duckett-Robinson Funeral Home & Cremations, Central-Clemson Commons.

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, April 20, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

First Baptist Church of Clemson

397 College Ave, Clemson, SC 29631

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