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William Iles Brockman

1932 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
William Iles Brockman Obituary
William Iles Brockman

1932 - 2015 William Iles Brockman, founder of Brockman Real Estate, was born January 15, 1932 in Columbia, S.C. and died on Thursday evening, August 27, in Monterey, MA, the Berkshires. Bill passed peacefully in his sleep at his home, Fiddletop, which he shared with his spouse and best friend, Jack Jefferson, who left the party early almost 11 years ago to the day Bill joined him. Bill grew up in Columbia and Edisto Island, S.C., the son of Washington Clark Brockman and Hazel Carver Iles Brockman. He earned degrees from both University of South Carolina and the University of Colorado. He served his country during the Korean War with the United States Air Force in Norfolk, England. After the war he taught English and history in Northern Alaska, and then biked and hitchhiked though Japan and the Near East. After traveling the world extensively, he worked in fundraising, including serving as the Vice President of Deferred Giving at the American University of Beirut. Bill also worked in non-profits in New York City, primarily with two of Bill and Jack's best friends, John and Betty Lee "Mac" Carlson. It was the Carlsons who introduced Jack and Bill to Monterey, and to the Berkshires. They moved to the Berkshires first as part-time residents where they owned a home on Fairview Road. In 1976 they made the move full time as they, like many before and after them, thought they would love living in the country. "We loved it but I had to work, had to get a job," Bill related, "I talked to a number of people and the suggestion that made the most sense was real estate. Somebody suggested I go into politics... shows how well they knew me." After a year in Litchfield County with Robinson Leech Bill founded William Brockman Real Estate. As the business began to grow and prosper Jack joined him full time. Bill once reminisced, "What was the reason for our years of success? Luck? Hard work? We both were very conscientious, we didn't come from a 'sales' background; our backgrounds were people related and we have always been very mindful of people's wants. I think we are all very good listeners we hear what people have to say and, I think, appreciate where they are coming from and what they need. One of the great benefits of the real estate business is meeting wonderful people. We made some incredible friendships in the last 30 plus years. We had times of growth and fallow. It allowed us to live in the Berkshires and that has been a privilege." Bill grew up in a small town and he really loved life in the country, yet the proximity of New York and Boston. "A slower paced way of life, the farms, the beauty of the place," he once said, "yet our work, and a key to our success, is that this is not a 'sometime job' but a commitment to being available when somebody wants to speak with you." Bill lived up to that commitment never taking a single vacation with Jack 'because we didn't need to, we lived in the Berkshires', and their getaway was a monthly trip to the Upper East Side of New York for haircuts, shopping, and lunch, but back by 5 o'clock for a cocktail on the screened porch. Bill and Jack maintained long-lasting relationships with loyal clients, who became friends. If anyone could mix business and pleasure while making everyone feel like family, they did so for more than a quarter of a century. Life was not easy for Bill after Jack's sudden and unexpected passing. After an extended hospital stay in 2008, Bill retired, made Chapin Fish, who had been serving as managing broker since 2006, the managing partner, and travelled in the South during the winters. Work in real estate and life in the Berkshires were completely intertwined for Bill and Jack - and were a part of their dedication and commitment to the Bidwell House Museum on Art School Road in Monterey. They were good friends with Jack Hargis and David Brush, the original residents and restorers of The Bidwell House. As founding trustees, Bill and Jack worked hard to found the museum with people close to them, and do whatever they could to ensure the future well-being of this beautiful property as a center for education and activities, and a window into what life was truly like in the wilderness that was New England in colonial America. In 2013 Bill was honored as a Founding Trustee of the Bidwell House Museum. Bill is survived by his nephews and nieces: Clark Brockman, Kristi Brockman, Russell Brockman, Jeannie Brockman Anderson, and Judith Brockman Gilmore, as well as by Chapin Fish, his friend, business partner and broker-owner of Brockman Real Estate (and his husband, Kevin Fish), and of course by many friends whose lives were touched by Bill and Jack, as their lives were touched and enriched in turn. Anybody who knew them will remember their keen sense of humor, great intellect, and immeasurable charm. Bill had a razor sharp wit, and was a devoted partner to Jack. They were both gentlemen who lived and worked with the strongest sense of generosity, decency and fairness, and who genuinely cared about those in their lives. May it bring them comfort to know their legacy will continue. At Bill's request there will be no funeral, and in lieu of flowers, donations may be gratefully made to the Bill Brockman and Jack Jefferson Memorial Fund at the Bidwell House Museum in Monterey. There will be a memorial service for Bill later in September. For more information please contact Brockman Real Estate, or the Bidwell House Museum after Labor Day. Jack and Bill - Southern Gentlemen at heart who lived in grace and beauty and who adored life, especially in the Berkshires. May it bring a smile to your face knowing that Bill and Jack are together again.
Published in The Berkshire Eagle on Sept. 6, 2015
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