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Fessenden Mourns the Passing of William R. Elfers ’63

The Fessenden School is deeply saddened by the passing of William R. Elfers ’63, alumnus and Trustee Emeritus. Bill joined Fessenden’s Board of Trustees in 2016, and his personal and professional experiences—including serving on numerous boards for art organizations and independent schools—enabled him to provide invaluable insight to Fessenden into many areas. For his distinguished service, the Board of Trustees voted to make Bill a Trustee Emeritus in October 2020. 

As an alumnus and trustee, Bill was deeply committed to Fessenden. In 2005, he founded the William R. Elfers ’63 Fund for Alumni Programming to support the School in keeping young alumni connected with Fessenden and each other. In 2018, Bill was awarded the inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award for his extraordinary service to The Fessenden School while upholding the core values of honesty, compassion, and respect in all aspects of his life.

The opening of the William R. Elfers ’63 Center for the Arts in 2019 provides a lasting legacy for Bill and his family’s commitment to the arts and to The Fessenden School. As a lifelong supporter of the arts, Bill was a strong advocate for this center becoming a reality at Fessenden because he believed that boys should have an opportunity to explore and cultivate their creative sides.

Bill’s former teacher, Mr. Fitts, recalls: “I certainly do remember Bill and have photographs of teams I coached and can pick him out from the crowd. As I recall he played soccer with speed, craft, and spunk. He was a winner, in my book, and I have never doubted that he would succeed at whatever he tried.” That certainly seems to have come true. Fessenden was fortunate to have Bill among us as an active and generous alumnus and school leader. 

The community will remember his smile, sense of humor, intelligence, and generosity. In remembering Bill, Head of School Steve Armstrong offers, “Those at Fessenden who knew Bill have lost a great friend. He was a giver to and supportive of many causes, and Fessenden is fortunate to have been one of them.”

We extend our deep condolences to the entire Elfers family, including his wife, Deborah Bennett Elfers, and his daughters, Katherine Adams Elfers and Amelia Rice Elfers.

Read William R. Elfer’s obituary here.
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