Richard A. Wiley ’49, who distinguished himself in the military, law, business, academia, and as a Bowdoin overseer and trustee for nearly 30 years, died June 12, 2009, in Wellesley, Mass.
Richard A. Wiley ’49, who distinguished himself in the military, law, business, academia, and as a Bowdoin overseer and trustee for nearly 30 years, died June 12, 2009, in Wellesley, Mass. He was born July 18, 1928, in Brooklyn and prepared for college at Springfield Classical High School in Springfield, Mass. He was a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity at Bowdoin. He graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, with high honors in government, and he did it in three years, completing his studies in 1948. He immediately entered Harvard Law School, joined the Marine Corps Reserve, then earned a bachelor of civil law with honors at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar in 1951. He earned his law degree from Harvard in 1959, and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Bowdoin in 1994. He served in the Air Force from 1952 to 1956, and as a major in the Air Force Reserve. He was awarded an Air Force Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, and Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service. He practiced law at the Boston firm of Bingham, Dana & Gould from 1956 to 1976, when he was appointed assistant secretary of the Department of Defense. In 1977, he was appointed vice president and counsel of Bank of Boston, and was promoted to executive vice president in 1978. He later returned to private practice, developing a specialty in high technology corporate law. Committed to education, he taught at Bowdoin, Boston College Law School, and Boston University School of Law, and served as chairman of the state’s Education Loan Authority, Higher Education Coordinating Council, and Board of Regents of Higher Education. He also served on the Regents’ task force on student financial aid. He served as a Bowdoin Overseer from 1966 to 1981, and president of the overseers 1977 to 1980, then as a trustee from 1981 to 1993. He established the Arthur R. and Anna Wiley and Harry W. and Thelma E. Smith Scholarship Fund at Bowdoin, named for his and his wife’s parents. He kept working until late in life, despite having amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and transferred the last of his clients to other lawyers only a few weeks before his death. He is survived by Carole Smith Wiley, his wife of 55 years; sons Garett and Stewart Wiley; daughter Kendra Wiley Kilsdonk ’84; and four grandsons.