William McCormick Blair Jr.

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William McCormick Blair Jr.
10th United States Ambassador to the Philippines
In office
1964–1967
President Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by William Stevenson
Succeeded by G. Mennen Williams
46th United States Ambassador to Denmark
In office
1961–1964
President John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by Val Peterson
Succeeded by Katharine White
Personal details
Born (1916-10-24)October 24, 1916
Chicago, Illinois
Died August 29, 2015(2015-08-29) (aged 98)
Manhattan, New York
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Catherine Gerlach
Children William McCormick Blair III
Parents William M. Blair
Helen Hadduck Bowen
Education Stanford University (B.A.)
University of Virginia (J.D.)


William McCormick Blair Jr. (October 24, 1916 – August 29, 2015) served as United States Ambassador to Denmark from 1961 to 1964 and as United States Ambassador to the Philippines from 1964 until 1967. A lawyer, he also was a close associate of Adlai Stevenson.

Early life[edit]

Blair was the son of Helen Hadduck (Bowen) and William M. Blair, who co-founded the investment banking firm William Blair & Company.[citation needed] He graduated from the Groton School in 1935,[1] Stanford University, and the University of Virginia Law School in 1947.[1]

Personal life[edit]

On September 9, 1961, in the chapel at Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerød, Denmark, Ambassador Blair married Catherine "Deeda" Gerlach (born 1931), the former wife of oleomargarine heir Charles Clarke Jelke and the only daughter of Norman Harbridge Gerlach (1904–1980), a partner in the Chicago law firm Gerlach & O'Brien, and his wife, the former Joanna Powell. Deeda Blair was named director and vice-president of the Lasker Foundation in 1965 and is a noted advocate for public health issues.

The Blairs had one child, William McCormick Blair III (1962–2004), who owned a dog walking business, was bipolar, and committed suicide at Chicago’s Le Meridien Hotel in 2004.[2] Shortly after their son's death, Blair and his wife relocated from Washington, D.C. to New York City. Blair died on August 29, 2015 at his home in Manhattan at the age of 98.[1]

Family tree[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Bernstein, Adam (2015-09-01). "William McC. Blair Jr., Democratic political confidant, dies at 98". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-09-26. 
  2. ^ Watters, Susan (2004-12-10). "Deeda Blair's 'Annus Horribilis'". WWD. Retrieved 2017-09-26. 

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Val Peterson
U.S. Ambassador to Denmark
1961–1964
Succeeded by
Katharine Elkus White
Preceded by
William E. Stevenson
U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines
1964–1967
Succeeded by
G. Mennen Williams