William E. Maloney '51
Deceased May 1, 2009
Bill Maloney died on May 1. 2009 in New York City at age 83. (He was a World War II navy veteran.) Bill was an extraordinary person. One classmate described him as a “Renaissance man,” which may sound a bit too grand, but the Oxford definition, “a person with a wide range of talents and interests” fits Bill just fine. Another said he was in many ways as central to the class as any of our many distinguished classmates. Bill was creative, imaginative, highly intelligent, politically opinionated, exceptionally loyal to Amherst and beloved and respected by alumni from many classes. He was a devoted husband of Janet for 55 years and father of Bronwyn and Gavin. After Bill died, Janet said, “I’ve lost my sparring partner.”
After Amherst, Bill became a committed New Yorker, using his writing and creative skills in jobs with three leading ad agencies. During that period he married a local girl, the lovely Janet Thomas. In 1956 the adventurous couple traveled to Europe to check out a job opening in Paris, a trip that included extended stopovers in Majorca, Venice, Paris (no job) and Ireland, and ultimately two years in Marbella, Spain.
On returning to New York, Bill launched an independent entrepreneurial career, which, over the years, included making movies for public distribution and for corporate PR purposes, as well as writing and publishing over a dozen books (e.g. “The Jimmy Carter Dictionary - How to Understand your President and Speak Southern,” “The Illustrated Cat Book,” “The Great Disasters,” and a book for the Bicentennial Commission on preserving and restoring historical art works. He also was a valuable consultant to the New York Public Housing Authority: producing a documentary movie, leading efforts to restore WPA murals and move them to the Brooklyn Museum of Art, creating provocative anti-drug posters and writing the Authority’s annual reports. To sum, Bill was always working on a new idea or project, and many of them became meaningful realities.
Bill was known by many Amherst alumni through the trips to all parts of the world that he organized and conducted. When the College temporarily stopped sponsoring foreign trips for alumni, Bill stepped into the breach and all by himself arranged and led excursions abroad for Amherst families and their friends. They included, among others, Greece and the Greek Isles, Russia, Italy, France, China, Bali and the Balkans. Bill always took an advance journey to make sure the arrangements and accommodations were of high quality. However, he also made sure they were affordable, maybe not deluxe, but always clean and comfortable.
An expert with a computer, Bill was the editor and designer of the Class of 1951’s 35th and 50th Reunion books, which are remarkably professional in appearance and content. They are treasured keepsakes of all members of the class. He also served a term as class secretary, at which he wrote highly entertaining class notes. Additionally, he was a longtime correspondent and good friend with two of our classmates who lived abroad, Mike Todd and Tommy Lee. Bill never missed a class reunion or any of the nearly forty annual class dinners in New York.
Bill Maloney had a long, good and continuously interesting and productive life—miraculous, considering his serious health problems in his last 11 years. He was a dear friend of the two authors of this article, and we, along with his countless friends among classmates and fellow travelers, will miss him deeply.
Dave Fulton ‘51
Dick Sexton ‘51
Maloney & Tritschler in Puerto Vaharta in 2009