William McCormick Blair, Jr., died at 98

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William McCormick Blair, Jr., born October 24, 1916 and died on August 29, 2015 after a short illness.

He 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.

Blair was the son of William M. Blair, who co-founded the investment banking firm William Blair & Company.

He graduated from the Groton School and took his undergraduate degree from Stanford University.

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 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 3rd (1962–2004), who was bipolar and committed suicide in 2004.

Shortly after their son’s death, Blair and his wife relocated from Washington, D.C. to New York City.

William McCormick Blair died on August 29, 2015 at his home in Manhattan at the age of 98.

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