WATTS--Duane E. 87, of Stamford, CT, retired Price Waterhouse partner, sailor, and management consultant who proposed some of the first uses for computers in business, died peacefully at home on January 18, 2013 of congestive heart failure after a four year decline due to Alzheimer's. For 30 years, Duane played a role in shaping Price Waterhouse's management consulting practice in New York and Tokyo before retiring as partner in 1982. A lifelong sailor, he served as Commodore of the Stamford Yacht Club and Master of the Corinthians and was a member of the New York Yacht Club, racing his classic wooden sloop â€œWillowindâ€ and sponsoring the first women and minority members admitted by these organizations. Duane Everett Watts was born in Decatur, IL, on September 28, 1925. A gifted student, he graduated from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering at age 19. During WWII, he served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy from which he retired in 1946. Aided by the G.I. Bill, he attended Columbia Law School, earning a law degree in 1949. He and his wife, Lillian, married in 1951, together had three daughters and settled in Stamford, CT in 1954, the year he was recruited to join Price Waterhouse. Duane was one of the early management consultants who helped clients adapt computers to their needs, and his work with Price Waterhouse on five continents over three decades helped shape the emerging field of management consulting. His career culminated in Tokyo where he and Lillian lived for three years. Retiring and returning to Stamford, he joined the Literacy Volunteers of America to teach English as a second language to immigrants. He enjoyed long distance sailing and built a home named "Topside" on Elbow Cay, Bahamas. Duane is survived by Lillian Watts, his wife of 62 years, daughters Ellen Watts of Wellesley, MA, Janet Watts of Dallas, TX and Judy Watts Wilson of Rye, NY and four loving grandchildren. As Duane wished, his body was donated to the University of Connecticut School of Medicine for use in anatomical education. His memorial gathering will be held privately. Personal remembrances, much appreciated by Duane's family, can be shared at duanewatts.wordpress.com.
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Published in The New York Times on Jan. 22, 2013