William Albin “Bill” McGahan, 58, of Spicewood, Texas, passed away at his home on February 3, 2024, after a courageous battle against pancreatic cancer. Bill was born January 8, 1966 to William and Marilyn McGahan in Kearney, Nebraska. The family relocated to North Platte, Nebraska, when he was six months old. Bill was the first of five children, and by all accounts, a brilliant thinker and a talented musician.

Bill attended North Platte St. Patrick’s High School, graduating in 1984. From age 13 he spent summers working alongside his Granddad McGahan on the family farm near Elsie, Nebraska, doubtlessly contributing to his strong work ethic. He excelled academically, earning a National Merit Scholarship and a Regents Scholarship to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) where he studied Electrical Engineering and Physics. In addition to classes and working in the lab, he managed to find the time to pursue his interest in music, studying classical piano and playing in several local rock bands.

In 1994, Bill earned a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from UNL and began his career at the J.A. Woollam Company, working with his mentor, John Woollam. Bill’s research contributions in the field of spectroscopic ellipsometry were highly regarded. In 1995, Bill joined Nanometrics, Inc. in San Jose, California, where he worked in advanced technology research and development for over 25 years. In 2020, Bill transitioned to KLA Corporation, continuing his work in advanced technology, where he made a significant impact. His expertise led to numerous patents and global recognition.

Growing up in Nebraska, Bill developed a love of hunting and fishing, and it was not surprising to find fish, pheasants, or frogs in the kitchen sink. He later shared his love of the outdoors with his children, Catherine (Katie), William (Will) and Henry. Their home was full of music and Bill was always ready to jam with fellow musicians.

While at Nanometrics, Bill met Janet Taylor, and they were married October 17, 2020. They lived on their dream property in the Texas hill country, where Bill shared many games of pool, hunting, and target practice with his boys.

Bill was preceded in death by his beloved daughter Katie. He is survived by his wife, Janet, sons Will and Henry, parents Bill and Marilyn McGahan of North Platte, Nebraska, siblings Eileen (Steve) Honors, Kathy (Don) Tellis, Kevin (Erika), and Chris (Julie), and many nephews, nieces, and friends.

A celebration of Bill’s life will be held at a later date in both Texas and Nebraska. In honor of his memory, contributions may be made to MD Anderson Cancer Center, P.O. Box 4486, Houston, TX 77210-4486 or MDAnderson.org/Gifts (Direct to: Dr. Karp’s Handbook of Targeted Therapy #6008508011478319)   OR North Platte Catholic Schools Endowment, P.O. Box 57, North Platte, NE 69103.

Bill’s kindness, intelligence, and love for life will be deeply missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him. His legacy lives on through his family, his contributions to the scientific field, and the beautiful memories he leaves behind.

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