Bill, a graduate of Allen-Stevenson School, Saint Paul’s School (Concord, NH), Williams College (1937) and Yale Law School (1940), joined the law firm of Debevoise and Plimpton in New York City as lawyer number 6 in 1940. He joined the U.S. Naval Reserve soon after Pearl Harbor, and earned seven battle stars, largely in the Pacific, before being mustered out a lieutenant commander in 1945 and rejoining Debevoise and Plimpton. He retired from the practice of law in 1988, having been a partner at Debevoise from 1949-1985. He had been a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a member of the American Bar Association, a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (and of its executive committee in 1960-64) and a member of the New York State Bar Association (and chairman of its committee on corporate law in 1971-73).
He had been a trustee of Saint Paul’s School, a trustee (1978-1986) and member of the executive committee of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as well as a trustee and member (1987-1993) of the executive committee of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. He was a member of the Pilgrim Society, the Piping Rock Club and the Links Club in New York. A devoted sailor, he had also been a longtime member of the Edgartown Yacht Club, the Edgartown Golf Club and the Edgartown Reading Room.
He leaves three children, William R. of Brooklyn, Coburn D. of San Francisco and Preston of Centreville, MD; his three daughters-in-law, Barbara S., Elizabeth (Betsy) E. and Sarah J.; six grandchildren, Josh, Chris, Cobie, Ellie, Abby and Nick; and three great-grandchildren, Will, Murphy and Lily. Another grandchild, Molly, predeceased him.
Arrangements made by Dodge-Thomas Funeral Home, Glen Cove. There will be a memorial service at Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Cold Spring Harbor on Sept. 25 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Paul’s School Development Office, 325 Pleasant St., Concord, NH 03301