20 days ago
It is with sadness that I send word of the death of my husband, William H. Erskine, Deerfield ’39 on January 21st of this year. At nearly 92, he had enjoyed quite decent health and an abiding joy in the company of family and friends up to the last few weeks when a combination of congestive heart failure and kidney failure finally took him down. Throughout an active, peripatetic life and successful business career, Bill never stopped talking about Deerfield and his love for the school, most especially for Frank and Helen Boyden.
As the only son of a widowed mother, far from home and family, Bill entered Deerfield feeling somewhat lost and defenseless. The Boydens gave him both kindness and the strong moral compass that characterized the rest of his life. Deerfield also led Bill to Amherst where he thrived along with many Deerfield friends including John Andrews, Paul Avery, Bill Babcock, Allen Boucher, Otis Cary, Ted Parkhurst and Allen Rugg,
After serving as a Lt j.g. in the amphibious forces in the South Pacific, Bill joined J. Walter Thompson Company, where he spent 25 successful years in New York, Canada, Australia and elsewhere before joining JWT client Labatt Breweries of Canada. Later he went on to own and operate International Beverages, Inc. in Boston, an importer and distributor of fine European and American craft beers. In 1998, he finally retired to a happy though still active existence on Cape Cod.
Bill is survived by his wife, Nancy, three daughters, two grandsons and a great grandson. Unfortunately, none of those has made it to Deerfield as all but one live in Canada.
We are all grateful to Deerfield for all that it meant to Bill.
Class of 1939