Cover photo for William "Bill" Caldwell's Obituary
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1922 William 2022

William "Bill" Caldwell

March 2, 1922 — March 2, 2022

William “Bill” Caldwell, Jr. died peacefully at home in Yarmouth, Maine on Wednesday March 2, his 100th birthday. Alice, his loving wife of 77 years, was by his side. He will be remembered for his passions: blue water cruising, classic cars, and above all, family.

Bill was born on March 2, 1922, in Inwood, New York, the son of William Edward Caldwell, Sr. and Hortense Storer Caldwell and brother of Lee Baldwin Caldwell Churchill. Bill is survived by Alice and their three daughters: Anne (Peter), Jeanne, and Kim (John), and eight grandchildren, Lee, Bill, Elizabeth, David (Pamela), Emily, Deirdre, and Julia. Bill was predeceased by his granddaughter Alice and sister Lee. Serendipitously, Bill and Alice’s first great-grandchild, Casper Liam, was born on Bill’s 100th birthday!

Bill graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology where he was a member of the Chi Phi fraternity and studied mechanical engineering. A fraternity brother introduced Bill to Alice in 1942. They married in 1944 after Bill’s enlistment in the Navy. During the war, Bill served in the Atlantic on the USS Decatur DD-341, a four-stacker destroyer, and the USS Franklin CV-13, an aircraft carrier.

After the war, Bill and Alice settled on Long Island with their three daughters. Bill began his 35-year career at Con Edison, working his way through the ranks to retire as Senior Vice President in charge of Power Supply. His job at Con Edison was simply, or not so simply, to keep all the power plants in working order. In addition to this recognized mechanical skill at Con Edison, his amazing ability to fix anything also included cars, boats, and houses.

Bill started restoring classic cars in the late 1940s which led to leadership roles in the Lincoln Continental Owners Club with his award-winning 1941 Lincoln Cabriolet. He also restored early sports cars, somehow knowing which models would become collectors’ items. Bill’s eye for cars even included Alice’s 1955 Chevy Nomad station wagon. Family vacations were planned around meets where Bill showed his immaculate cars. In preparation for the judging, Alice and the girls were responsible for polishing the chrome bumpers. The meets were not all about competition; Bill and Alice made life-long friends during their years of showing cars.

Bill’s love of all things nautical started at an early age, racing on his father’s Sound Interclub and working on the family Hacker Craft. From paddling his boyhood hand-built kayak to racing hydroplanes, Bill was in his element on the water. Anne, Jeanne, and Kim were taught to sail on a Sunfish – regardless of temperature, breeze, or season. In 1972, Bill took his first step toward a life-long dream of blue water cruising with the purchase of Spirit, a Mercer 44 sloop. Spirit was known throughout the cruising community for her red, white, and blue stern, a testament to Bill’s patriotism. The grandchildren missed the cold days on the Sunfish but were treated to sailing and seamanship lessons from their grandfather “Gampy” during cruises with Alice. Living aboard, Bill and Alice sailed along the East Coast, cruised the Caribbean, and ultimately Bill completed the voyage of his dreams on Spirit through the Panama Canal to Tahiti and up to Puget Sound. With Bill as a Rear Commodore of the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC), the Caldwell home on the Piankatank River in Virginia became a magnet of Chesapeake hospitality for liveaboard sailors. For decades no one missed the annual fall OCC party that Alice and Bill hosted at their home. Bill received heartfelt tributes from around the globe from fellow OCC members on his 100th birthday.

In-between the trips to the Caribbean and later cruises on small ships, Bill and Alice built their retirement house to Bill’s Colonial Williamsburg design. They took great pleasure in finishing the home together, with Bill constructing cabinetry, tiling bathrooms, and laying floors while Alice painted endlessly and planted the gardens. Once his day’s work was completed, Bill would sit quietly on the kitchen porch looking out at the river, as content as could be. Bill and Alice thoroughly enjoyed being outdoors, sharing their enthusiasm for the natural world, raccoons and snakes included, with their daughters and grandchildren.

Bill’s deep and abiding faith was a great comfort to him. He rarely missed a church service and annually volunteered to play Taps for the Memorial Day service, donning his WWII US Navy dress uniform.

Bill’s well-lived hundred years fill us with cherished memories. Always a family man first, he will be greatly missed, especially at the family gatherings that he loved to plan and that were so important to him.

A service will be held at Lower United Methodist Church in Hartfield, Virginia on Friday, March 25th at 2pm.

A celebration of Bill’s life will be held later in Maine for Alice and the family.

One of Bill’s final wishes was for any gifts in his memory be sent to Lower United Methodist Church, 120 Lower Church Road, Hartfield, Virginia, 23071.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William "Bill" Caldwell, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, March 25, 2022

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Lower United Methodist Church

120 Lower Church Road, Hartfield, VA 23071

The family has respectfully requested that no flowers be sent.

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