William Towle, 80
RAYMOND — William (Bill) Towle, 80, died at home of esophageal cancer on Friday, June 23, 2017.
He was born in Richmond, but grew up attending Auburn schools, graduating from Edward Little High School in 1955. He received a four-year scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), graduating in 1963 with three degrees in aeronautical engineering. In 1958, he married his best friend and lifelong mate, Faith Webber. When he was granted a Fulbright Scholarship to Delft University in the Netherlands in 1960, they went abroad together. That experience initiated a wanderlust that continued to influence the rest of his life.
Bill always said he had three careers. The first job, based on his major at MIT in the field of aeronautical engineering, was in Los Angeles. Before starting a family, Bill and Faith spent several months traveling abroad exploring Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia and Egypt. After their two sons were born, they decided to return to New England to be nearer their families in Maine. Bill was still in the same field but became increasingly restless for a new and different challenge.
When he learned that the World Health Organization (WHO) was looking for people with his kind of Operations Research experience, he saw an opportunity to start a second career living in a third-world country where he could contribute to improving the health care system and this benefited many lives. In 1972, Bill’s family moved to New Delhi, India. For five years, he worked with the public health ministries of several Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, Nepal, Indonesia and Bangladesh. His main focus was in Thailand, and it was there that he felt most fulfilled by what he had accomplished.
After leaving India, they spent a brief time in the Washington, D.C. area. During those years, Bill worked mostly in various African countries as a consultant. He also continued his lifelong desire for new learning opportunities by earning a master’s degree from Georgetown University. When Bill learned about an interesting job at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, he and the family agreed to launch on yet another new adventure. They moved to the Geneva area in 1972 and remained there until Bill’s retirement in 1996.
Bill decided to return to his roots in Maine when he retired. At age 60, he was not ready to stop working, so he began his third career — portfolio management. He had already been investing for family members for quite some time, but friends (noting his success in this business) offered to become paying clients. He became certified, and faithfully practiced a fiduciary approach to investing. Via word of mouth, his client list grew and became a rewarding career for him. Bill continued to work for his clients even after his cancer diagnosis until the end of May 2017.
During his 21 years back in Maine, Bill also became very interested in forestry. He and Faith own a fairly large parcel of woodland, and Bill very much enjoyed working in his woods. He joined the Woodland Owners of Maine (formerly SWOAM, Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine) and served on its board as treasurer, as well as on the land trust board. They were also one of his pro bono clients.
During those last 20 years, Bill and Faith decided to continue their love of visiting and discovering new countries and cultures. They made a “bucket list” and were able to travel to many fascinating destinations — Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, China, Hungary, Turkey, Iceland, Ireland, Scotland, Labrador and Newfoundland.
Music was important in Bill’s life, both classical and jazz. He formerly enjoyed sports such as tennis and golf, but his favorite was cycling, exploring as many Maine back roads as possible. He was also a lifelong fan of the Boston sports teams. Another hobby was collecting wine. He was never active in politics, but he did work to support ranked choice voting and has always supported groups that work for human rights, especially women’s rights. He was a humanist and a pragmatist.
Family was always very important. After Faith, Bill’s two sons were his best friends. Losing his younger son, Steve, at age 36, in a skiing accident was extremely painful. The four adult children have remained close and supportive, a great joy to Bill. He enjoyed the short time he was able to enjoy his five grandchildren and regretted that dying meant he would not live to know their destinies. Bill had a very special life, full of fascinating experiences and fulfilling opportunities. He will be missed by the many whose lives he touched.
Instead of flowers, please make a donation in Bill’s memory to: Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice, 15 Strawberry Ave., Lewiston, ME 04240.