Deceased June 5, 2020

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In Memory

You would be hard-pressed to find any better, more complete life than Bill enjoyed. He came to Amherst from Deerfield Academy, joined Chi Psi, lettered in tennis, sang in the Glee Club and was a member of Sphinx. During World War II, he served as a lieutenant in the Army Air Corps from 1943–45. 

After college, he earned his MBA at Harvard Business School, married Margaret Collett (Smith ’49) and moved to Bedford, N.Y., where he resided for 63 years. He started with the Pittsburgh Coal Co. but, after four years, joined Merrill Lynch and began a very successful career in investment banking. 

In 1970, Bill joined a client, Lewis Cullman, as a director and major investor in Cullman’s leveraged-buyout firm. Bill was there for 28 years and, along with his own investments, admitted to producing substantial personal rewards. 

He was active in a number of industry associations and president of two of them. Not surprisingly, he was very active in many Bedford organizations—president of Rippowam Cisqua School, a trustee of Northern Westchester Hospital, a warden of his church and vice president of the United Way, among others—as well as several national charitable organizations. 

Yet, in the middle of all this, he and Margaret traveled all over the world on foot or bikes—the mountains of Europe, the Andes, the Himalayas and almost any country you could mention, plus a trip to Antarctica with their son. 

Like many of us, Bill took his greatest satisfaction in his wonderful children and their great careers. The last time I saw Bill was at his wife’s memorial service a few years ago, having known her since school days in Pelham, N.Y. He is survived by three children and seven grandchildren. A wonderful life of accomplishment, service and love. We all should be as fortunate. 

Gerry Reilly ’49