After a long battle with dementia, William (Bill) Michael Hexter passed away on December 20, 2018 at the Center for Extended Care in Amherst, MA at the age of 91. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Rachel (Ringler) Hexter of Amherst, MA, son Jim and daughter-in-law Eileen Haggerty, and daughter Karen, all of Boston, MA; and daughter Marla and son-in-law Larry Cohen of southeast PA. Bill was the proud grandfather of Abigail, David, Lillian, and Nora.
Born in Canton, Ohio in 1927 to the late Milton Hexter and Jean Bonda Hexter, Bill spent his early years in Cleveland, OH, Rochester, NY and Joliet, IL. He graduated from Joliet High School where he was a member of the ROTC. His family moved to the west coast in 1945, where Bill attended the University of California, graduating in 1949 from Berkeley and completing a Ph.D. in Biology in 1953. That year, he was hired by Amherst College. He made Amherst his home and remained there for the rest of his life.
At Amherst College Bill was committed to teaching and loved being in the classroom and challenging his students to academic rigor. A serious geneticist, he could be seen leaning over a microscope in his lab looking at fruit flies. He taught for over four decades, serving as pre-med advisor from 1965 to 1993 before retiring in 1997. The arrival of grandchildren brought him new joys. In retirement Bill and Rachel split their time between Amherst and Florida and traveled extensively.
Bill had a great sense of humor. He liked to say that there were only two things that he didn't know. Unfortunately he never shared what these two things were! He was a talented bridge player and enjoyed games of trivia. And whether the Red Sox did well or not, he was a loyal fan, sharing his love of the game with his children and grandchildren.
Memorial gifts in his name may be sent to the Alzheimer's Association
, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601.
Memorial register at www.douglassfuneral.com