William Karl Wasch Sr. died on August 28, 2021 at the age of 90. He was born in Mt. Vernon, NY on May 11, 1931, the son of German immigrants, and was a long-time resident of Middletown, CT. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wesleyan University in 1952 and then was a Bronfman Scholar at Columbia University, where he earned his MBA in 1953. He joined the Navy as a Lieutenant, Junior Grade in 1953 and served in the Supply Corps until 1955. After the Navy, he joined Standard Oil as a financial analyst and marketing supervisor, before moving to the Sinclair Refining Company in 1961 as a marketing economist. In 1958, he married Susan Devereux Beck in Scarsdale, NY. In 1964, Bill returned to Wesleyan and began a long career with the university, initially running the annual fund and then becoming Director of Development and Alumni Relations in 1967. While at Wesleyan, he oversaw several large capital campaigns and successfully kept more traditional alumni connected to the university during the very difficult years of campus unrest in the late 60s and early 70s. He retired from Wesleyan in 1985 and began his third career as a consultant and advocate for healthy aging. In 1996, he published the book, Home Planning for Your Later Years, which provided practical advice on how to plan for aging in place. In 2004, he hosted a Connecticut Public Television original documentary series, Seniors: Living a Quality Life, and in 2005, he hosted another series, In our Prime. He was on the boards and ran several conferences for the National Council on Aging and the American Society of Aging. He was a lifelong member of Rotary International, the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce, and served on boards and commissions for the City of Middletown. He was treasurer of the Wesleyan Adelphic Literary Society and the Skull and Serpent Society. In his later years, he and his beloved wife Susan worked on developing and endowing a center for retired faculty at Wesleyan, the Susan B. and William K. Wasch Center for Retired Faculty. It opened in 2004 and has provided a place for retired faculty to share intellectual and social pursuits, while also offering lectures and classes for the community. In 2012 he was awarded the Baldwin Medal for extraordinary service to Wesleyan.
Bill was optimistic, big-hearted, generous and always curious. He was devoted to his family, his faith and Wesleyan. He loved his wife and mourned her untimely death in 2016. He loved his children and grandchildren and took every opportunity to visit them, the more exotic the location the better. His Christian faith grounded him in the world and his community. He was a devoted member and supporter of The Church of the Holy Trinity, where he loved to sing in the choir with his booming tenor reverberating throughout the brownstone church. He felt blessed to be alive and wanted those around him to share his pleasure in the moment. While his parents taught him the importance of hard work, others recognized his intellectual and leadership potential, which led to many opportunities including full scholarships to Wesleyan and Columbia. His mind was sharp and expansive - no one appreciated the value of a liberal arts education more than he did. He valued the gifts he was given and the importance of mentorships. Throughout his adult life he actively sought out ways to support and mentor students, alumni, friends of his children and many others in his community. Together with Susie, they created an open and welcoming home. There was always an extra place at the dinner table and an extra bedroom for alumni, foreign students and anyone who needed a safe landing. Bill saw the best in people and actively maintained and encouraged relationships with family, friends and alumni all over the world. He loved Pepe’s pizza, the Metropolitan Opera, chocolate Labs, vanilla ice cream, beer, getting dressed up and going to a party, meeting new people, playing squash, taking a nap, reading the New York Times, and singing at his children’s weddings. He travelled widely and intrepidly, from the Siberian taiga, to the beaches of Kerala, to the wonders of the Silk Route and to many many places in between. He was also perfectly content taking the dogs for a walk through the woods and then sharing time and a glass of wine with Susie down at the pond. He is survived by his children, Christina E. Wasch of Middletown, CT, William K. Wasch Jr. (Natalia Vovk) of Munich, Heidi H. Wasch (Robert O. Leversee) of Seattle and Frederick C. Wasch (Elizabeth Wasch) of Pennington, NJ, and his grandchildren Sophia, Maya, Emily, Marc, Samuel and Eleanor, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Visiting hours will be held on Friday, September 3rd from 4pm to 7pm at the Wasch Center for Retired Faculty, 51 Lawn Ave, Middletown, CT 06457. Please only attend if you are fully vaccinated. Handicapped Only parking at the rear of the building entering from Home Avenue.
There will be a private funeral service for the family and a larger memorial service next spring.
In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Memorial Fund of The Church of the Holy Trinity (381 Main Street, Middletown, CT 06457 https://tithe.ly/give_new/www/#/tithely/give-one-time/2040503) or the Wasch Center for Retired Faculty at Wesleyan University (℅ Jennifer Opalacz, Wesleyan University, Office of Advancement, 291 Main Street, Middletown, CT 06457 https://www.givecampus.com/campaigns/15700/donations/new?amt= designate Other and use Wasch Center in the memo section). To share memories or send condolences to the family, please visit www.doolittlefuneralservice.com.
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