Born: August 27, 1914 Location: Newport RI Siblings: Margaret Joan Mathers Phillips (deceased June 2003) College: Dartmouth 1935 Law School: Yale 1938 Married: Myra Tutt Martin, January 17, 1942 Cold Spring Harbor NY Children: William Martin Mathers, Michael Harris Mathers, John Grinnell Mathers, Myra Tutt Mathers McAnulty, Ursula Fraser Mathers Nehrt, and Ann Corning Mathers Bill grew up in Newport, the son of a dentist, Howard, and an active community organizer, Margaret. Bill excelled in his studies as well as sports, becoming the RI state golf champion as a teenager and receiving a scholarship to attend Dartmouth. After college Bill went on to receive his JD from Yale and took a position with Milbank Tweed, a well regarded New York law firm. Bill's legal career was quickly interrupted by the war, which he joined as a private in 1942 and left as a major in 1946. As a competent lawyer, the Army chose to employ Bill as a behind-the-lines analyst and strategist (due to his eyesight) with various organizations including the Office of Strategic Services. Upon discharge from the Army Bill immediately resumed his position with Milbank Tweed. He described himself as a 'well qualified lawyer', meaning he had: reasonable intellect, the ability to read and write, an understanding of ethics, training discipline, willingness to work hard, and good judgment based on experience. All of which, he proposed, needed to be in balance with 'fun'. Bill certainly personified all these traits in his professional life, and he was well known for his sense of fun, both in his business and personal life. Bill worked for two prestigious New York law firms (Milbank Tweed and Chadbourne Parke) over his long career and was instrumental in a number of high profile corporate actions, including putting the first 747s in the air, the takeover of United Brands, and a number of special assignments for the Rockefeller interests in the Americas. In addition, Bill was a Vice President with Yale & Towne for several years, helping them address their global business. Upon retirement in the 1980s, Bill was senior partner with Chadbourne and general counsel at United Brands. Bill was an active as a member of the bar associations in New York State, New York City, Massachusetts and Nassau County, assisting via legal aid and the American Arbitration Association where he was a director. Bill also undertook a number of directorships, including Pine Street Fund, Gimbel Brothers, Barnard College, and the New England Society. His interest in politics led to a stint as Mayor, Trustee and Clerk/Treasurer of the Village of Cover Neck from 1949 until 1984. Bill's personal life revolved around his wife of 68 years, Myra Martin Mathers. They met while he was teaching sailing one summer on the north shore of Long Island. They married in 1942 and expanded into a family of eight over the next two decades. Settled on Cove Neck, not far from New York, Bill developed a well-deserved reputation for entertaining, with his parties and celebrations known for their fine food and drink, but most of all for the enjoyment associated with any Bill Mathers event. The consummate host, Bill was proud of the family's exquisite home, his children, but most of all his lovely and entertaining Myra. Of course, his love of golf continued throughout his life and Bill made every effort to play all the major courses in the world as he traveled. He was a member of the local club, Piping Rock, as well as Seminole, and when the children had left the house after college, Bill moved Myra and himself to a house next door to the golf course so he could play as often as he wanted. Myra and Bill became engaged while sailing up the coast from Long Island to Maine and sailing was always a part of the family's life. Each summer the entire family would sail up the coast, spending time enjoying each other and the open seas. Bill joined the New York Yacht Club as part of this love affair and was an active member throughout his adult life. In the mid-1980s Bill and Myra retired to Vermont and their lovely home in Sutton in what is known as the Northeast Kingdom. Here Bill played golf, volunteered with the Service Corps of Retired Executives to help small businesses and enjoyed the family when they came to visit. His retirement included regular trips to New York for business and social events as well as to Florida in the wintertime for golf and visiting friends. Over the last years of his life, Bill has lived in Connecticut in a retirement community where he and Myra can receive the care that they have required. It was here at the MasoniCare facility that Bill died on July 27, 2010 at the age of 95. Bill leaves behind his wife and six children, along with five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. In his life Bill was thoughtful and diligent in his work and home life, taking loving care of every detail. His contribution to his family, his friends and to the community is greatly appreciated and will be missed. Thank you, Bill, for being in our lives.

View current weather.

Memories Timeline

View the Timeline

Guestbook

  1. On behalf of the Sphinx Club here in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, I would like to send our sympathy to the Mathers family. Bill was a valued and loved member of the club. We have missed him for the past several years, and are saddened by his passing.

  2. Condolences to the Mathers Family. Remembering shared careers at Milbank,where Bill was my mentor some 60 years ago. Dick Stark

  3. I knew your father for over 40 years and we shared wonderful times together in NYC, Long island, Vermont and at Civitella. He helped me understand the family when I became Ursula Corning’s lawyer many years ago.We shared the frustrations and sorrows when Bill, Jr. was in captivity, seemingly never to see the light of day again. The houses on LI always filled with laughter and good cheer and with memorabilia from family and trips, the infamous Duke of Windsor ciagrette burn. Later years our intimate dinners when he came to NY, always being the last to leave whatever of our clubs we were at. Both your Mom and Dad were exceptional people and greatly enriched my life. I also know how affectionately .Cousin Ursula. felt towards them both. Now there is closure for your Dad but it brings a sadness because those wonderful days will never be had again. I do say thanks for the memories. We are all richer for his life. My thoughts are with you all. Gerald Rupp

  4. Mr. Mathers was one of my travel clients in VT and one of the most memorable ones. I will miss you Mr. Mathers but keep you in my thoughts. My sympathies go to you, Myra and your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

  5. Sorry to read that your father passed away. Always remember Bill and Mike playing football at Eastwoods and drawing blood from each other in their ferocity. The picture of Bill senior was so like Bill junior I was mislead until I read the obituary in the NYT.

  6. To The Family of Bill and Myra: Please know that we are deeply saddened at the passing of your beloved husband, father and grandfather. We had the good fortune to know your parents in their later years when they resided in Sutton. We played golf, socialized and greatly enjoyed each others’ company. If you are able to communicate with us, we would love to receive your address in order to send you a personal message. In deepest sympathy, we cherish Bill’s memory. Sincerely, Russell and Virginia Reed Brightlook Apartments, (Apt. 6) 91 Brightlook Drive, St. Johnsbury VT 05819-2810

  7. As a young lawyer at Milbank 60 years ago I had the good fortune to be in Bill’s company and to witness his professional style — a commitment to the practice of law and to the notion that one could have fun in doing so. Evidence of that was amply provided by Bill’s many starring roles in the firm’s annual .Mighty Arts Players. productions.

  8. To Mayra and every member of the Mathers family. I’m sorry for your loss. Will always remember Bill and the wonderful times spent during the United Fruit Company days, in the States and in the Tropics. Besides being a good friend, he offered valuable counsel in those turbulent days. Neither my wife, Nancy, nor I will ever forget him. Best,

  9. We send our condolences at Bill’s passing to Myra and the family. We have many happy memories of Bill at Chadbourne and the summer outings at your fabulous Oyster Bay house. Our thoughts are with you.

  10. When I first started work at Milbank in 1951 Bill was a young partner and I worked for him on many things. He was an excellent tutor, always pleasant and patient, and he helped me to look at things from the client’s point of view. He and Myra generously invited me for weekends at their estate on Cove Neck. I saw him at a Milbank reunion a few years ago and we had a good chat. I send my thoughts to Myra and the children.

  11. As a young associate at Chadbourne in the 70’s, I remember Bill Mathers well as an extraordinary lawyer and terrific fun-loving gentleman — the firm’s summer parties at the Mathers’ magnificent home in Cove Neck (with Bill and Myra as unequalled hosts) and frequent visits to St. Johnsbury will be forever etched in fond memories. My sincerest condolences to the entire Mathers family.

  12. Dear Myra, We’re sorry to hear about your loss. Bill was such a wonderful guy who brought happiness and cheer to everyone around him. We will surely miss him. Lori and Peter

  13. my condolences. The Mathers family was always a huge presence on the north shore of Long Island where I grew up. SA

  14. Ursula, I am in California but saw the obit in the NY Times and am sad about the news, but maybe it was his time. I’m so glad we connected before he died and hope he won’t leave too much of a void in your life. Also now that your mother has gotten used to his visits I hope it won’t be too hard on her. I was impressed with the obituary. He was both accomplished and a good man and a delightful person and I think enjoyed his life thoroughly. Love and deep sympathy, Rizz

  15. Myra & Bob, I send my deepest condolences on the loss of your father – he was an exceptional human being and gave much to those he knew and loved. May he now rest in the loving embrace of our Lord.

  16. sending our deepest sympathy on the loss of your Dad. I had the pleasure of knowing both parents at Dr.Armstrong’s dental office. my husband & i had lunch with parents at their old home. it was a pleasure for all of us. sincerely, Frances&Richard, Cross. (dr.Armstrong’s receptionist.

  17. Bill and Myra bring smiles when we think of them. We enjoyed being with them at several of their fabulous dinner parties on Long Island around the great round wooden table while Bill was at Chadbourne. Our favorite story was Bill at the helm during a hurricane when Myra was thrown out of the boat with one wave and back into the boat with another. We still have the book. Our dear love to Myra. We know what a close couple they were and how tough parting must be. Mary Anne and Gene Sullivan

  18. We loved having your parents as our neighbors for so many years. The parties were legendary, the stories many and with great fondness for you all, our deep condolences. Love, Nancy, Ralph & Robin

  19. Sincere condolences to all Mathers. Bill, Mike and Myra were more known to me at East Woods, although I’m sure my brothers and sisters were friends with Ursula too. All of us who lived there loved your wonderful house in Cove Neck. Echoing Stu Arthur, your family has always been a happy presence in our lives. I wish I had known your Dad better.

  20. Dear Myra, Mike, Bill and Ursala Our good US friend Jerry Shields was so kind to pass on Bill.s obituary to us in Amsterdam. Elsbeth and I want to convey our sincere condolences to you all with this great loss. We keep the best memories of this remarkable man with whom we had the privelege to share many thoughts, conversations and golfgames during our stay in your wonderfull Coveneck house some 30 years ago. Bill was such a kind man to us and so interesting to talk to and he gave us the feeling of being his real adopted weekend children and we spent many happy moments together. We really regret not to have seen all of you for so long and of course should have come to Vermont . We will remember Bill fondly and wish you lots of strenghts in coping with this enormous loss. warmest regards Elsbeth and Rijnhard

  21. Bill, Stanley and I were glad to have had a chance to catch up with you a bit a year ago in Florida but are sad to read about your father. He led an amazing and full life, and we are all grateful to have known him. Our deepest sympathies to you and your family, Stanley and Susie Trotman

  22. Bill, Stanley and I were glad to have had a chance to catch up with you a bit a year ago in Florida but are sad to read about your father. He led an amazing and full life, and we are all grateful to have known him. Our deepest sympathies to you and your family, Stanley and Susie Trotman

  23. Ursula, I am in California but saw the obit in the NY Times and am sad about the news, but maybe it was his time. I’m so glad we connected before he died and hope he won’t leave too much of a void in your life. Also now that your mother has gotten used to his visits I hope it won’t be too hard on her. I was impressed with the obituary. He was both accomplished and a good man and a delightful person and I think enjoyed his life thoroughly. Love and deep sympathy, Rizz

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle

Sign the Guestbook