William T. Dentzer, Jr., age 91, whose life of faith, love, service, integrity, and humility inspired many, died of non-Covid pneumonia while surrounded by family on Jan. 25, 2021. During his professional career he was president of the National Student Association (1951-2); a force in the creation of the U.S. foreign aid program in the 1960s; USAID Mission Director to Peru; Deputy Ambassador to the Organization of American States; New York State Superintendent of Banks; and founding chairman and CEO of the Depository Trust Co. (now Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.), the entity created to address the paperwork crisis that paralyzed Wall Street in the 1960s.
In his own words: “After John F. Kennedy’s election in 1960, I asked one of his White House Special Assistants, a former NSA officer, to arrange my transfer from CIA to the task force that created the Agency for International Development (AID), America’s program of foreign assistance to underdeveloped nations. I soon became Special Assistant to the first head of AID, and thereafter Special Assistant to the U.S. Coordinator of the Alliance for Progress, the program initiated by President Kennedy to foster economic development in Latin America.
My work for the Alliance was interrupted by my appointment as Executive Secretary of a committee appointed by President Kennedy and chaired by retired General Lucius Clay. Clay may be best known as the Military Commander in Germany who in 1948 persuaded President Truman to mount the Berlin airlift after Russia blocked land routes to that city. President Kennedy hoped the conservative Clay Committee, which included former World Bank President Eugene Black and Robert Lovett, a former Deputy Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, would increase Congressional support for AID appropriations. After the committee reported, I followed up as coordinator of AID’s annual budget presentation to Congress.
In 1965, my family and I moved to Lima, Peru, where I served as Director of the AID Mission to that nation. After three years there and fearful that I would become a lame duck awaiting firing if Nixon was elected President, I engineered a return to Washington. There I was named Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States, the multi-governmental organization based in Washington and created in 1948 to foster cooperation among member states in the Americas.”
A longtime resident of Larchmont, NY, he also led several New York state and local commissions, including a 1982 panel that recommended increasing the inadequate salaries of state judges. He is survived by Celia, his wife of 68 years; a sister, Ann Azer; sons James (Holly) and William T. III; daughters Susan (Charles Alston) and Emily (Scott Rodi); and 8 grandchildren. A full obituary and other details are at https://jjffh.com.
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