William Brian DeFacio, 77, died Tuesday evening, March 25, 2014.
Professor emeritus of the University of Missouri-Columbia, he was a valued member of the Physics Department until his retirement in 2005. He and his wife Chris moved to Laredo to live among her family after 37 years away from home.
The son of Bill and Nina DeFacio (deceased) of Palestine, he graduated from Palestine High School in 1953 and from Texas A&M University in 1967.
Having received his BA, MA, and PhD from Texas A&M University, he selected Missouri University as home base for his teaching and research in physics and mathematics.
From Columbia, he was often invited to give talks on his research at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, with extended stays at the University of Montpellier 2 in Montpellier, France, and the Jubilee Professorship at Chalmers University in Sweden. While at Chalmers, he and his wife were invited to the Nobel Prize Ceremonies that year. Brian also spoke at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen; Uppsala University in Sweden; Rijksuniversiteit in Groningen, Netherlands; University of Bologna and University of Pisa in Italy, among others. He also presented talks at the University of Howard, Iowa State, Louisiana State, Alabama, Nebraska and many more throughout the United States and Canada.
A lifelong athlete, he played football for the legendary Bear Bryant at A&M. Later in life, he embraced running and competed several marathons before switching to long walks with his dogs.
Brian is survived by his wife, Chris; daughter, Patricia of Laredo; and son, John of St. Louis, Mo.; as well as two sisters, Mary Thomas, and her sons James Reeder (Susan), David (Kellie) Reeder, and John Reeder; and Ruth (Bill) Whitaker, and their sons, Stephen Whitaker and his children, Jordan and Honour, and Robert Whitaker and his children, Derek and Christian, all of Tyler, Texas.
He will be cremated and a celebration of his life will be held Sunday, March 30, 2014 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the house.
In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to your local animal shelter or food bank.