William G. Melluish, a Baltimore architect and construction specialist, dies

William G. Melluish, an architect and construction specialist who was an associate in the Baltimore firm of GWWO Inc./Architects, died Sept. 25 at Gilchrist Center in Towson from glioblastoma. The Keswick resident was 39.

“There is no doubt that Billy was a talented architect — he demonstrated that every day,” said Alan Reed, president of GWWO Inc./Architects. “But what I will remember most was his incredible optimism and ability to put even the most difficult challenge in perspective.”

The son of Dr. James Melluish, an ophthalmologist, and Patrica Melluish, a homemaker, he was born and raised in Kalamazoo, Mich.

After graduating from Hackett Catholic Central High School in Kalamazoo, he studied architecture at Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pa. He graduated in 2002, and had participated in study programs abroad in Rome and Berlin.

While at Penn State, he also met and fell in love with a fellow architecture student, the former Katherine “Kathy” Speicher. They married in 2004.

After leaving college, he worked at Gruzen Samton in New York City, and in 2004 joined the San Francisco firm of BCV Architecture.

“His early work included civic, retail and commercial projects,” according to a release by GWWO announcing his death. “Among them were the Oxbow Public Market in Nappa, Calif., and the courtyard and exhibit space renovations for El Museo del Barrio, a museum of Central and South American art in New York City.”

In 2008, Mr. Melluish, who was known as Billy, joined GWWO. His initial assignment was as a member of the design team for the new 85,000-square-foot Towson University West Village Commons, a project that featured student housing, dining, meeting space and parking. He became the firm’s representative during construction for that project.

As a construction specialist, he was responsible for “helping project teams anticipate and avoid potential challenges,” stated the company. “His deep understanding of the complexities of construction, his problem-solving skills and his invaluable perspective benefited both GWWO’s architectural staff and our clients.”

“He was the consummate professional and his job was one of the most difficult in our industry … and he did it very well,” said Eric G. Feiss of Towson, a colleague at GWWO.

“We were peers. I learned a tremendous amount from him, and would always go to him for advice even though we were working on different projects,” Mr. Feiss said. “He was tremendously easy to get along with. Bill took a very measured approach to his job and was always very fair.”

“It was a pleasure to work with him. He was a fun person to be around,” he added. “A consistent theme of his life was that he was the life of the party, and if you knew he was going to be there, you were in for a good time.”

“I will always remember Bill as one of the most capable and one of the most fun people in our firm. He could solve a problem and make you laugh at the same time,” said Terry Squyres, a GWWO principal and a resident of the Phoenix area of Baltimore County.

“Bill had an extraordinary skill set. He was artistic, he was meticulous, he had an excellent business sense — and everyone loved working with him,” Ms. Squyres said.

Recalled by colleagues as being a “broad and forward thinker,” he was named an associate at the firm in 2015.

Mr. Melluish represented his firm during construction of the $21 million Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral, Fla., and the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention in Gainesville, Fla., an interactive science and technology center whose mission is to inspire inventors, entrepreneurs and visionaries.

Locally, he worked on the Rita Church Community Center in Clifton Park and the C.C. Jackson Recreation Center on Park Heights Avenue.

Other Maryland projects that benefited from his expertise involved construction at Salisbury State University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; school projects in Anne Arundel, Howard and Baltimore counties; and Prince George’s County government.

One of his most recent projects was the Jean R. Packard Center, a multipurpose event venue at Occoquan Regional Park in Lorton, Va.

Mr. Melluish was a construction document technologist certified by the Construction Specifications Institute, and was also recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council as an accredited professional for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

He was a member of the American Institute of Architects, and was also active in the Building Congress & Exchange and the ACE Mentor Program, which works to give high school students an opportunity to explore careers in the building professions.

He was also a member of the Keswick Improvement Association and was active with the Towson Recreation Council. He coached his son’s soccer, basketball and baseball teams.

Mr. Melluish had been a Type 1 diabetic since his teen years, and wrote a book with his father: “Diabetes at 14: Choosing Tighter Control for an Active Life.”

A man of varied interests, he enjoyed playing the piano and guitar, games, puzzles, golfing, snowboarding, salty snacks and strong coffee with lots of cream and sugar, said his wife of 14 years.

He was also an outdoorsman who liked camping, hiking and “jumping into chilly waters,” Ms. Melluish said. He was also a world traveler.

“All who knew Billy will remember his quick smile, warm personality, dance moves, sense of humor, unending optimism, and his uncanny ability to make any ordinary day extraordinary,” said his wife.

“If you were ever having a bad day, you could stop by Billy’s desk for a chat and by the time you left, whatever was bothering you just didn’t seem to matter as much anymore — that was Billy,” said Mr. Reed.

Mr. Melluish was a communicant of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, where a funeral Mass was offered Monday.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at noon on Friday, Oct. 12, at St. Monica Roman Catholic Church in Kalamazoo.

In addition to his wife and his parents, he is survived by a son, Emmett J. Melluish, 8; two daughters, Helena P. Melluish, 5, and Vivienne R. Melluish, 1; a brother, James Melluish of Marshall, Mich.; four sisters, Jenny Cummings of Downers Grove, Ill., Jackie Harley of Colorado Springs, Colo., Sarah Sanford of Bonny Doon, Calif., and Annie Eastman of Elmhust, Ill.; and 25 nieces and nephews.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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