William Alexander Darity Sr.
1924 - 2015
{ "" }
Share
Share William's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
NORTHAMPTON - William Alexander Darity, Sr., Emeritus Professor Public Health and founding Dean of the School of Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst died Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton. He advanced the fields of public health and advocacy as well as tobacco control. He was preceded in death by his wife of 44 years, Evangeline Royall Darity, who died in 1994.

A native of North Carolina, Dr. Darity was a leader and pioneer in the fields of international health inequities and the health status of marginalized populations. He advanced the fields of public health and advocacy as well as tobacco control.

William Darity, Sr. was born Jan. 15, 1924, in East Flat Rock, North Carolina, the son of Aden Randall Darity and Elizabeth Smith Darity. Neither of his parents had had the opportunity to complete schooling beyond 6th grade but, nevertheless, managed to send three of their four children to college. Darity completed a bachelor of science degree from Shaw University and a Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) degree from North Carolina Central University. In 1964 he became the first black recipient of a doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, taking only two years to complete his doctorate in public health.

After working for two years with the anti-poverty agency the North Carolina Fund, Darity accepted an associate professor appointment at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1965. At that time, the small department of public health, which offered a bachelor of science degree and a master of science degree with a concentration in environmental health, had three full-time faculty members. He was appointed head of the department in 1968 and then dean in the school of health sciences in September 1973. In addition to the Division of Public Health (an accredited School of Public Health) and a Division of Nursing (an accredited School of Nursing), this newly created School of health sciences included a department of communications disorders, which offered majors and graduate study in audiology and speech and language disorders. At his urging upon his retirement, the division of public health became a school of public health with its own dean, and the division of nursing became a school of nursing with its own dean.

His last major responsibility at the University of Massachusetts was to serve as principal investigator of a $3.4 million, five-year research study on smoking and cancer in black populations, funded by the National Cancer Institute. This important investigation explored the factors affecting smoking adoption and accompanying health risks among middle-income and low-income blacks. After retirement, he served as senior associate and deputy director for the Asia and the Near East for the Population Council of New York and a consultant on several research projects at University of Maryland's School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Prior to pursuing his doctorate degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Darity's international experience included 10 years with the World Health Organization (WHO). During his tenure at WHO, the American University of Beirut's School of Public Health in Lebanon and the University of Alexandria's Higher Institute of Public Health in Egypt. Darity also served as a health consultant with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Arab Refugees and as a WHO Regional Advisor for 17 countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, which included 11 Arab countries, as well as Israel, Cyprus, Iran, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Pakistan and West Pakistan (now Bangladesh) with an emphasis on malaria eradication.

Darity served as a member of the board of trustees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill between 1985 and 1991. He was honored as an outstanding alumni by Shaw University in March 2015 and inducted into the Golden Rams Society at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in November 2014. Earlier he was named a Distinguished Alumnus by the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in October 1996 and received the Alumni Achievement Award from Shaw University in 1997. He also received an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from Shaw University in 1990 and was given a Distinguished Service Award from the University of North Carolina's School of Public Health Alumni Association in 1977.

He is survived by his wife Trudy Whisonant Darity; his daughter Janki Evangelia Darity; his son William Darity, Jr.; daughter-in-law Kirsten Mullen; and grandsons Aden Lowell Mullen Darity and William Otis Mullen Darity.

The family is grateful for the love and support of friends and the expert care provided by the medical teams at Bay State Medical Center and Cooley Dickinson Hospital over the course of many years.

Calling hours with the family will be held Thursday, Dec. 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Douglass Funeral Home in Amherst. Funeral services will be held Friday, Dec. 4, at 10 a.m. also at Douglass Funeral Home, Amherst. Burial will follow in Wildwood Cemetery, Amherst.

Obituary and memorial register at www.douglassfuneral.com.

To sign a Guest Book, express condolences, share memories and read other obituaries, go to www.gazettenet.com/obituaries.
Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Dec. 1, 2015.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
No events have been scheduled at this time. Check back later or contact the funeral home for more information.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
28 entries
April 30, 2020
My condolences to your family!
annette wilcox
July 20, 2019
Sandy, Janki and Kirsten, please accept my very belated condolences.
Alex Osei-Kwame
May 29, 2016
I had the great privilege of getting to know this fine man when I was a driver for seven years for Valley Transporter. When I would pick him up, and he was settled in his seat, I would turn the key in the ignition and begin asking questions; listening to him speak about his life was beyond incredible. I must've been quite the pest! I so admired him, as did the owners of V.T., and many of my coworkers. My deepest, sincerest sympathy to his family; I shall always be thankful to have known him.
Amy Murphy
May 3, 2016
I have just learned of Dr. Darity's passing and want to send my condolences to Sandy and his family. He had a remarkable scholarly career and made lasting contributions to the advancement of Public Health worldwide. Sincerely, Prof. Elbert L. Robertson
Elbert Robertson
March 11, 2016
I have just learned of Dr. Darity's passing through my UMass Amherst Alumni Magazine. He was a wonderful and elegant scholar, educator and motivator. I am proud to have been one of his students. I know he leaves a legacy to be remembered and memories to be cherished.
Linda Bishop Hudson
December 14, 2015
He was a friend, colleague, scholar and the best!!
December 11, 2015
My Parents, The Late Ira D. Branch, Jr., Dorethea M. Branch & I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. William A. Darity, Sr. several years ago and always appreciated and enjoyed his friendship. We are very sorry to hear of the loss of Dr. Darity, and extend our deepest condolences and prayers to the Darity Family. May God's Blessings Be With Each You.
Dennis Branch
December 11, 2015
Sandy and family,
I am so sorry for your loss.
Monique McMillian
December 8, 2015
Sandy, Kirsten and family, I'm so sorry for your loss.
Kim Allen
December 8, 2015
Sandy and Janki, I am so sorry for your loss. I always enjoyed visiting with your Dad when he came home to Flat Rock.

Yvonne Mims Evans
December 7, 2015
Dear Trudy, Margaret joins me in expressions of love and prayers in your time of sorrow. We knew Dr.Garity by reputation only but the love that bound the two of you tells the story of his life and character. May memories of that love continue to bring you happiness and solace.
Tilden LeMelle
December 4, 2015
Many years ago I worked with Dr. Darity at the university. A true gentleman, he always had a smile and always made me smile, even years later after university when our paths crossed in town. My sympathies to the family -- may comfort be found in good memories.
Elizabeth Kimbrel
December 3, 2015
Condolences to to the Darity family and may you find peace during this difficult time. Your family is in our heart and prayers.
Edward and Judi Mazique
Edward Mazique
December 3, 2015
It was a great honor to know Dr. Darity who was such a wise, kind, and life affirming gentleman. Our sincere condolences go out to Trudy and the Darity family.
Barbara Freed
December 2, 2015
I am sorry for your loss Aunt Trudy. I only met him once, but spoke with him several times on the phone. Uncle Bill was cool.
Michelle DeView
December 2, 2015
My deepest condolences to the Darity family. Bill was an outstanding educator, a gentleman and a friend. He touched countless lives in the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He will be missed beyond words.
William (Bill) Small
December 2, 2015
Please accept my heartfelt sympathies on your lost .I pray the love of God enfolds your family during this difficult time.
Bobby Boddie
December 2, 2015
Although I only met Bill several times, he makes me proud to be a North Carolinian. I knew and worked happily with Van when she was at Mount Holyoke College. What impressive and kind people. J
Jane Crosthwaite
December 2, 2015
In loving memory of a trailblazer, scholar, educator and mentor. You will be greatly missed...Rest in Heavenly Peace.
Carolyne Richardson-Phillips
December 2, 2015
Please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss. Our thoughts are with Darity family during this difficult time.

Valentino Bryant
Director of Alumni Relations
Shaw University
December 2, 2015
I am so sorry for your loss. He was a great, kind and thoughful man and helped many through his work. May you find peace when you reflect on your lives together. Rest in peace.

Dianne Kendall
Dianne Kendall
December 1, 2015
With a heavy heart We extend our sympathy to Trudy and family. Bill was such a lovely, humble, talented, gentle and loving man. A true scholar and gentleman. It was our honor to be his friend and neighbor. Nancy and Paul Hamel
Nancy Hamel
December 1, 2015
Please accept my deepest sympathies.
William Sacherek
December 1, 2015
A gentle, courtly, wise man who will live on in the hearts of the many people whose lives he touched; it was an honor to know him. Our hearts go out to his dear wife and partner in all things, Trudy Peter and Merle
Merle Bruno
December 1, 2015
Dr. Darity was a true presence and inspiration to us all. It was a great honor and blessing to have him as my Dean and my Professor. His guidance and support steered my education and career.
My condolences to the family,
Ketty Belizaire,
School of Public Health Class-1987
December 1, 2015
Dean Darity's Family-
His dedication and accomplishments no doubt make you very proud and bring smiles to your face. As a former student and colleague, I am very aware of the breadth and depth of his influence on public health research and practice. It was an honor to have worked with him.
Best, Jane Gronostalski Zapka
Jane Gronostalski Zapka
December 1, 2015
Tashni-Ann Dubroy, Ph.D. President, Shaw University
My sincere condolences to the Darity family. Sleep in peace Shaw Bear. You have served humanity beyond measure.
Tashni - Ann Dubroy
December 1, 2015
Such a kind man. He will be remembered fondly by so many students and friends.
David Mazor
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences