WILLIAM D. WITTER
William D. Witter, age 73, the Foundation's Secretary and a founding Trustee, passed away at his home in New York City on May 11, 2003, after a short illness. Mr. Witter contributed leadership, humor, and intelligence and provided fresh points of view to the deliberations of the Trustees for fifty-one years.
Mr. Witter was a graduate of The Hotchkiss School (1947) and Yale University (1951) and received a Masters in Business Administration from the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University (1953), after which he served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. After 10 years in the retail brokerage business with Dean Witter & Company, where he rose to the rank of partner and was a member of the Executive Committee, Mr. Witter set off on his own and founded the first William D. Witter, Inc., in 1966. He managed his company through turbulent times in the U.S. securities industry into a successful institutional research and asset management firm which was acquired by Drexel Burnham Lambert. True to his championship of small companies and the entrepreneurial spirit, shortly after the acquisition, he set off on his own again and started the second William D. Witter, Inc. in 1977. The firm has grown successfully through a unique combination of a collegial management style and entrepreneurial investment professionals, focused on small-cap companies and attentive client service. The firm's investment offerings include equity, balanced and fixed income (separate) accounts and hedge funds.
Throughout his business career, Mr. Witter remained committed to his principles and beliefs: he built his business the way his father, Dean Witter, preached that it should be done: one customer at a time. He was generous to his associates as well; he never turned away anyone needing help. He leaves friends throughout the financial community that abound with stories of his generosity and his loyalty.
Mr. Witter served on the Board of Overseers of the Hoover Institution (Stanford, California) and on the Advisory Board of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He served as a trustee of The Dean Witter Foundation and was a member of the New York Society of Security Analysts and of the American Electronics Association. He served as a director of numerous public and private companies and was a founding investor in National Semiconductor and an early investor in Oracle and Cadence.
Mr. Witter was an avid outdoorsman; he enjoyed hunting in Africa, India, South and Central America, as well as in his native California. He traveled extensively, working in an occasional scuba diving trip or fishing expedition.
Mr. Witter married the former Susan Rentschler
in 1956, and they have 4 children: Virginia Woods, of Altamont, NY; Elizabeth
Tacy Mayer, of Los Altos, CA; Sidney Daire, of New York City; and William
P. Witter, of Boulder, CO. There are 9 grandchildren. After divorce, Bill
was remarried to the former Inger Kullberg in 1972. They have two children,
Michael D. Witter, and Anna Christina Witter, both of New York City. In
addition to these family members, Mr. Witter is survived by his sister,
Ann Witter, of San Francisco, CA. He is remembered fondly within the family
for his fierce loyalty and his generosity.