Obituary: William F. Dudley

William Francis Dudley, of Chappaqua, N.Y., died at home Tuesday, August 7, 2001. He was 86 years old.

William was born May 3, 1915, in Mamaroneck, N.Y., the son of George Banks Dudley and Carrie Sands Chapman and grandson of a boatbuilder and a professional musician. He graduated Mamaroneck High School in 1934 and went to work immediately as a guitarist in dance bands in Westchester and eastern Connecticut.

in 1937

William joined the service in 1943 as a "90-day wonder," attending officer candidate school at Fort Hood, Texas. During basic training he played guitar in a number of army dance bands. He was assigned to the 817 Tank Destroyer Battalion as a second lieutenant and was promoted to captain during World War II. He landed in Normandy on D-Day +20. William earned a Bronze Star for meritorious service against the enemy from June 26 to September 18 in Normandy and Brittany and from September 28 to November 22 in Holland and Germany. He was cited for displaying exemplary courage and coolness under fire while evacuating the wounded and keeping order in the platoon during the attack.

1943 portrait

1946 portrait

William returned to Westchester County after the war and married Grace Joan Hite in 1948. He worked as a Realtor for the Julia B. Fee agency in Scarsdale, eventually purchasing the agency with partners. Julia B. Fee grew to be the largest and most successful privately held agency in Westchester. William sold his share in the agency in the late 1980s and retired in 1990.

1969 portrait

William continued to play jazz guitar throughout his real estate career and, after his retirement, played private parties, restaurants, and other engagements as a soloist and with other musicians. He was well known throughout Westchester as a fine guitarist.

in June 1989

William was preceded in death by his wife Grace. He is survived by three sons: William F. Dudley Jr. of Jackson, N.J., John Dudley, of San Pedro, Calif., and George Dudley, of Louisville, Ky.; and a grandson, William III. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the American Diabetes Association or to your favorite charity.