William McCormick Blair Jr.

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William McCormick Blair Jr.
William McCormick Blair Jr..jpg
10th United States Ambassador to the Philippines
In office
PresidentLyndon B. Johnson
Preceded byWilliam Stevenson
Succeeded byG. Mennen Williams
46th United States Ambassador to Denmark
In office
PresidentJohn F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded byVal Peterson
Succeeded byKatharine White
Personal details
Born(1916-10-24)October 24, 1916
Chicago, Illinois
DiedAugust 29, 2015(2015-08-29) (aged 98)
Manhattan, New York
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Catherine Gerlach
ChildrenWilliam McCormick Blair III
ParentsWilliam M. Blair
Helen Hadduck Bowen
EducationStanford 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. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws (L.L. D.) degree from Whittier College in 1964.[1]

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.[2] He graduated from the Groton School in 1935,[3] Stanford University, and the University of Virginia Law School in 1947.[3]

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 (who was later a subject of portraits by Andy Warhol)[4] 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.[5] 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.[3]

Family tree[edit]


  1. ^ "Honorary Degrees | Whittier College". www.whittier.edu. Retrieved 2019-12-06.
  2. ^ "William Blair & Company History". wmblair.com. Archived from the original on 23 August 2007. Retrieved 16 February 2007.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "Exchange|Search: "deeda blair"". exchange.umma.umich.edu. Retrieved 2020-03-11.
  5. ^ 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
Succeeded by
Katharine Elkus White
Preceded by
William E. Stevenson
U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines
Succeeded by
G. Mennen Williams