William Curtis Pierce ’28 died on November 12, 2003, in West Baldwin, Maine.
Born on March 18, 1906, in New York City, he prepared for college at the Groton School in Massachusetts and became a member of Psi Upsilon Fraternity at Bowdoin. Following his graduation cum laude in 1928, he entered Harvard Law School, from which he was graduated in 1931. He joined the New York law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, where he became a partner in 1941, and he remained with that firm until his retirement in 1972. From 1942 to 1945 during World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy, attaining the rank of lieutenant commander. He was a trustee of Knickerbocker Hospital from 1946 to 1972 and a trustee of the Stevens- Kingsley Foundation beginning in 1968. Also a trustee of the East Baldwin Library Association and the Episcopal Mission Society, he was for many years a trustee or director of the European-American Bank and Trust Company, the Marine Midland International Corporation, Bonneville Ltd., and International Holdings Corporation. He had served as president of the Maine Historical Society and as treasurer of the Brown Memorial Library in East Baldwin and was a member of the Council of the Society of Colonial Wars, The Society of the Cincinnati, the West Baldwin Grange, the Cumberland Club in Portland, and the University Club of New York.
In Bowdoin affairs, he was elected to the Board of Overseers in 1962, became a member of the Board of Trustees in 1967, served as vice chair of the Trustees, and was elected a trustee emeritus in 1981. In 1973, he was the recipient of an honorary doctor of laws degree from Bowdoin, the citation for which concluded with the words “Steeped in Bowdoin history, his vision has never been confined by that tradition, but has constantly illuminated new ways in which the College can serve the common good.” Two years later, in 1975, he received the Alumni Service Award: “Appointed to lead [the Special Study Committee on Underclass Campus Environment] in 1968 during a period of nation-wide student unrest, you encouraged the candid expression of all shades of opinion, and displayed those qualities of fairness of mind, clarity of statement, tolerance for sharply opposing points of view, and penetrating critical judgment which your College delights to honor.”
Surviving are his wife, Elizabeth Neall Gay Pierce, whom he married in 1929; a son, Josiah Pierce ’69 of West Baldwin; a daughter, Elizabeth Fuchs; Stephen M. (“Mackin”) Pulsifer ’68, for whom Mr. Pierce was former guardian and father; a brother, Benjamin Pierce; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.