William Rutherford “Bill” Sadler, 82, passed away peacefully at the University of North Carolina Hospice Home, Pittsboro, on April 12, 2023 after a brief battle with cancer. A longtime resident of New York City and Garrison, N.Y., he had been a resident in recent years of Galloway Ridge near Chapel Hill. His family was by his side.
Born in Little Rock, Ark., on May 9, 1940, Bill was educated in the wonderful public schools of his native city before moving on to Davidson College in North Carolina. After serving as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army in Germany, Bill continued his formal education as a Woodrow Wilson Scholar at Cornell University, after which he earned an MBA at Columbia University. A long career in investment research and management followed, beginning at Smith Barney & Co. His investment work carried him to Irving Trust Company, NSR Asset Management, which became Pine Tree Capital where he was president, and finally Lord Abbett & Co.
On a trip to Puerto Rico in 1968, Bill met his lifelong partner and later husband, William “Bill” Hicks, a pioneering New York theatrical and political fundraiser. They soon became known as “The Bills” and for their irrepressible, often devilish humor as well as active civic engagement. Both were devoted to their Black Labradors, Lola, Olive and Velma, affectionately called “The Girls.”
Bill Sadler’s mischievous smile and laughter at his own foibles will long be remembered. He often cited Hicks’s chiding him on lengthy correspondence. “What are you doing, writing another War and Peace?” Recipients relished the sequels. As they did the playful and occasionally acerbic wit that enlivened his commentary on the passing scene. He loved travel, which stimulated his curiosity and added to the considerable depth of his understanding of and thoughtful insights into history and politics. He was an unabashed Anglophile, who also loved his gardens.
After buying a home in Garrison in 1995, The Bills helped establish an endowment for supporting gymnastics at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, across the Hudson River, that today totals millions. Bill Sadler was also an active board member of the Desmond-Fish Public Library in Garrison where he chaired the Nominating Committee for several years. A longtime member of The First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York, he served on the Session and as president of the Board of Trustees and chair of the Investment Committee.
The Bills moved to the retirement community of Galloway Ridge in 2016. Bill Sadler soon became chairman of its Employee Scholarship Fund Committee, raising funds for employees to pursue higher education. In short order, the funds quadrupled. He was also active in the Chatham County Democratic Party, was a dedicated fundraiser for state offices, and was co-chair of the Galloway Ridge Villa Democrats, spearheading the group’s get-out-the-vote initiatives and happily achieving a turnout rate of 100 percent in his neighborhood.
Bill is survived by his nephew, Alfred G. Duncan III of Los Angeles, and his niece, Darrielle Duncan of Jacksonville, Fla. He was preceded in death by his beloved husband; his parents, Gladys McClain Sadler and William Harold Sadler; and his sister, Marilyn Sadler Duncan. At his express request, there will be no service. The family requests that any memorial donations be made to Guiding Eyes for the Blind, 611 Granite Springs Road, Yorktown Heights, N.Y. 10598 (800-942-0149) or to the Jim & Betsy Bryan Hospice Home of UNC Health Care, 100 Roundtree Way, Pittsboro, N.C. 27312 (984-215-2675).
Bill cherished this life and he wishes all a joyous life in their own days ahead.