Jewell, who was born in Detroit on July 2, 1932, died at the John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek of complications from pneumonia.
"Bill possessed a tremendous intellectual curiosity that covered a wide breadth of topics," said C. Roger Glassey, professor emeritus of industrial engineering. "His interests spanned from the mathematical analysis of risk to the history of beer in Czechslovakia. He was also a talented musician. Throughout his life, he maintained a degree of optimism that was infectious."
Jewell received his bachelor's degree in engineering physics at Cornell University in 1954, and his doctoral degree in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1958.
Jewell joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1960 and served as chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR) from 1976 to 1980. He continued teaching until his retirement in 1997, but remained active in the department years afterward.
An early proponent of interdisciplinary research, Jewell was the driving force behind the 1989 reorganization of the Operations Research Center, an organized research unit at UC Berkeley's College of Engineering, into the Engineering Systems Research Center (ESRC). Jewell was the former director of the center.
The center's change reflected a new direction in solving challenging technological problems, one that brought together researchers from industrial engineering and operations research with mechanical and electrical engineers, computer scientists, and professors of business and public health.
"The center gives researchers from many fields a home where they can interact and work together," said Jewell at the time the new center was transformed.
Jewell earned many awards and honors throughout his career, including a Fulbright Research Fellowship to Paris and a Halmstad Memorial Prize in recognition of significant research in actuarial science. He was also a member of various scholarly societies, including the Operations Research Society of America, the Institute of Management Sciences and the International Actuarial Association.
He was also an active member of such community organizations as the Rotary Club of Orinda and the Swiss Actuarial Society.
Jewell is survived by his wife of 46 years, Elizabeth; his sister, Kathe Dempster of South Haven, Mich.; four children and five grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 1), at St. Stephens Episcopal Church, 66 St. Stephens Drive, Orinda, Calif. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to the Rotary Club of Orinda, P.O. Box 44, Orinda, Calif., 94563, or to a charity of the donor's choice.