William Verity Jr.

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William Verity
27th United States Secretary of Commerce
In office
October 19, 1987 – January 30, 1989
PresidentRonald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Preceded byMalcolm Baldrige Jr.
Succeeded byRobert Mosbacher
Personal details
Calvin William Verity Jr.

(1917-01-26)January 26, 1917
Middletown, Ohio, U.S.
DiedJanuary 3, 2007(2007-01-03) (aged 89)
Beaufort, South Carolina, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Peggy Wymond

Calvin William Verity Jr. (January 26, 1917 – January 3, 2007) was a U.S. administrator and steel industrialist. He served as the Secretary of Commerce between 1987 and 1989, under President Ronald Reagan.


Early life and education[edit]

He was born in Middletown, Ohio, on January 26, 1917, to Calvin William Verity and Elizabeth (O'Brien) Verity. He roomed with John F. Kennedy at Choate, a Connecticut boarding school, starting a friendship with the future president.[1] He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy.[2]

Graduating from college (Yale), and after working briefly (in defiance of his parents) as maître d' at an upscale Manhattan restaurant,[3] Verity worked for most of his career at Armco Steel, a corporation founded by his grandfather, George M. Verity.[4] He started there in 1940, and retired from Armco in 1982.

Secretary of Commerce[edit]

Secretary of Commerce Verity (center) to being sworn in office with the wife, Peggy W. Verity (left), to holder book, and the U.S. President Ronald Reagan (far right).

Between 1980 and 1981, Verity was a chairman in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In 1981, he served as chairman of Reagan's bipartisan task force on Private Sector Initiatives (PSI). In 1983, he was appointed to be a member of PSI's Advisory Council and later served on PSI's Board of Advisors. Between 1979 and 1984, he co-chaired the U.S.-U.S.S.R. Trade Economic Council, a private sector council of American and Soviet businessmen.

During Verity's time at the U.S. Department of Commerce, he established the Commerce Hall of Fame in 1988 to honor good employees of the department. In 1988, he also created the Office of Space Commerce to support the National Space Council. That office was an early version of the Office of Space Commercialization, an office created to promote the effective commercial use of outer space. According to Jonathan Chait of The New Republic, Verity kept a passage from Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged on his desk, including the line "How well you do your work . . . [is] the only measure of human value."[5]

Personal life[edit]

Verity's wife, the former Margaret Wymond Verity known as Peggy, and had two sons and a daughter together, (Peggy Verity Power, Jonathan George Verity and William Wymond Verity).

He died on January 3, 2007, a complications of pneumonia, in Beaufort, South Carolina, at the age of 89, twenty-three days before his 90th birthday.[6] His wife, Peggy Verity died on Wednesday, January 20, 1999, at age 81. He is interred in Woodside Cemetery, Middletown, Ohio.


  1. ^ Steve LeVine, The Oil and the Glory, Random House, 2007.
  2. ^ "Calvin VERITY Jr.'s Obituary on The Cincinnati Enquirer". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  3. ^ Gardner Botsford, A Life of Privilege, Mostly (St. Martin's Press, New York, 2003), p.131
  4. ^ "C. William Verity Jr. -- Former Commerce Secretary, 89". New York Times 6 Jan. 2007, late ed.: A16.
  5. ^ Chait Jonathan (2009-09-14) Wealthcare, The New Republic
  6. ^ "C. William Verity Jr., Former Commerce Secretary, 89, Dies". New York Times. 2007-01-06.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Malcolm Baldrige
U.S. Secretary of Commerce
Served under: Ronald Reagan

October 19, 1987 – January 30, 1989
Succeeded by
Robert Mosbacher