|Birth: ||Mar. 5, 1931|
|Death: ||Aug. 31, 2003|
West Virginia, USA
Thad Epps, an outgoing chemical engineer who became Union Carbide's local spokesman and lobbyist, died at home, several weeks after being diagnosed with cancer. He was 72.
Epps leveraged the friends and connections he made lobbying to become an important civic leader, raising money for and offering leadership to cultural institutions and social service nonprofit organizations.
Epps came to Charleston with Carbide in 1967, transferred to Louisiana the next year, then returned here in 1973 and stayed. In 1981, he switched from assistant plant manager of Carbide's South Charleston production plant to regional public affairs director, becoming Carbide's lobbyist/liaison to the governments and regulatory bodies of as many as five states.
(The Charleston Gazette, September 2, 2003, by Bob Schwarz)
Outgoing and articulate, Epps belied the image of the typical scientist and engineer, said Dwight Sherman, who followed Epps in what became Dow Chemical's public affairs job in the Kanawha Valley. "Goodness gracious, Thad was an interesting person," Sherman said. "He was very people-oriented, very much interested in fundamentally listening to what is going on. He'd always come up with a reasonable solution to issues."
Epps was asked to step forward locally after a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, leaked methyl isocyanate in December 1984, killing 2,500 people. Kanawha Valley residents were concerned the same could happen at the company's plant in Institute. Epps' straight-talking, consensus-oriented approach helped smooth discussions. "He was able to bring together the voice of Union Carbide in the Valley," Sherman said. "He helped the community understand what was going on."
Epps retired from the chemical company in 1996 but kept active in the Kanawha Valley in numerous organizations. He served on the executive council for the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences - West Virginia and was active in the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the Salvation Army, the West Virginia Humanities Council, the West Virginia Manufacturers' Association, and Christ Church United Methodist. His peers honored Epps for his community service by naming him Spirit of the Valley Award winner in 2000.
He was born in Springfield, MO, and received bachelor's and master's degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan.
Epps is survived by his wife, Helen, a daughter, two sons, and eight grandchildren.
(Charleston Daily Mail, September 2003, by Therese Smith Cox)
Spring Hill Cemetery
West Virginia, USA
Created by: Kenny Davis
Record added: Oct 10, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 118464440