William Densmore
William P. Densmore, 88
Civic Leader & Norton Executive
WORCESTER - William P. Densmore, a former Norton Co. executive who served seven years on the Massachusetts Board of Education and later helped architect the state's 1990s-era education-reform efforts, died of heart disease at home on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013. He was 88.
He served on the state board from 1970 to 1977. Following retirement in 1982 as a senior vice president from Norton (now Saint-Gobain), Densmore collaborated on various initiatives involving education, health care, end-of-life policy and nonviolence. He was a founder of the Worcester-based Center for Nonviolent Solutions and a longtime member of Responsible Wealth, a network of individuals who advocate for fair taxes and corporate accountability.
Born June 16, 1924 in Brookline, Mass., Densmore was graduated from The Putney School in Vermont, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, later serving as a trustee of both. He started his Norton career after his discharge in 1946 from the U.S. Naval Reserve as a lieutenant, j.g. In the 1960s, he became active in civic affairs. Densmore helped found, or served on, boards of more than 25 educational, health and community organizations. He also was executive director of the Worcester Consortium for Higher Education and taught management courses part time at both Clark University and the College of the Holy Cross.
"[He] has lead the most active, civically committed life I have ever witnessed," former Massachusetts education secretary S. Paul Reville wrote in a 2008 tribute to Densmore. "He is active on peace studies, health-care costs, end-of-life planning, school politics and income distribution . . . he is my role model . . . a great catalyst, a broker of ideas, a motivator and inspiration."
As he pursued interests in management consulting, educational and non-profit leadership and entrepreneurship, Densmore wrote that he gradually "developed major concerns about corporate governance, excessive corporate influence on government, and growing gaps in wealth and income." He collaborated with Boston-based United for a Fair Economy and became a founding member of UFE's Responsible Wealth program in December 1996. He served on its steering committee and helped develop a shopping-list of rule changes needed in corporate governance and regulation.
Besides his interest in education, Densmore served as board chairman of the Worcester Area Systems for Affordable Health Care, as a member of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center Hospital Management Board and the Central Massachusetts Health Systems Agency board. He helped to found Worcester-based Better Endings to encourage compassionate end-of-life care. He is a former director of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and the Greater Worcester Community Foundation. In 1997, he was awarded the Isaiah Thomas Award for Distinguished Community Service.
Densmore leaves his wife of 64 years, Martha (Lowell) Densmore and three children: Elizabeth C. Densmore, of Newport Beach, Calif., married to Robert T. Rechord; William P. Densmore Jr., of Williamstown, Mass., married to Betsy E. Johnson, and Deborah D. Cary of Princeton, Mass. , married to Charles R. Cary, as well as four grandchildren, Eliza E. Densmore, Christopher D. Densmore, Abigail D. Cary and Stephen G. Cary II.
A celebration of Densmore's life is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2 at the First Unitarian Church, 90 Main St., Worcester, where Densmore was a parishioner and active volunteer
The family requests that Densmore's legacy be acknowledged through either gifts to the Center for Nonviolent Solutions, participation in the Rules Change Summit (www.ruleschange.org) or other acts of civic engagement. For further details, see http://newshare.com/wpdensmore



Published by Worcester Telegram & Gazette from Jan. 19 to Jan. 23, 2013.
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27 Entries
We miss you. On this day near the 4th year from your parting, the sisters you fought for fight on.

We shall overcome.
John Marden
January 21, 2017
My sympathy to all the Densmore family...even though it has been many years, I remember Mr. D fondly.
Joe Steponavic
August 12, 2013
Kind, warm, generous, intelligent, compassionate -- a few of the words that describe Bill. May the world create more like him. My blessings to you, Martha.
Frank Thoms
March 14, 2013
When I think of you, Bill, I feel the peace and love and commitment you spread and left so many of us with. Martha, Betsy, Bill, and Deb, please think of me as with you. Hamp
Hampton Howell
February 13, 2013
A light has surely gone out in the city of Worcester and beyond. Bill Densmore was brilliant, committed and so generous of spirit. He will be remembered by me always. Martha, Betsy, Bill, and Deb I am so sorry for your loss.
Karen Sadowsky Kaufman
February 1, 2013
Deb, I'm so sorry to hear of your father's passing. I know how difficult it is to lose your Dad. Clearly he was an extraordinarily accomplished gentleman. My condolences.
Wendy Reid
January 29, 2013
Bill taught me, by example, to be.a more tolerant listener, to respect another's point of view, to recognize that others could be as passionate about their opinions as I was about mine, and that little could be accomplished without compromise. And Bill accomplished so much for individuals, organizations, and for our community. Gale Nigrosh
Gale Nigrosh
January 29, 2013
Debby,
I am so sorry to hear of your Dad's passing. My heart goes out to you and your family at this sad time.
With deepest sympathy,
Linda (Shamoian) Hazelhurst
Linda Hazelhurst
January 28, 2013
My sympathy to the family on the loss of their husband, father and grandfather. No matter the age or circumstances, it is never easy. I worked with Mr. Densmore on the Dr. Ogretta V. McNeil campaign for School Committee. Intelligent and wonderful person. Gloria D. Hall
Gloria D. Hall
January 28, 2013
Lead on Bill Densmore. Thanks for all you have done for all of us mortals. Huge amounts of love and respect to float you on your way forward to wherever we UUs go.

In the name of Christ, Amen.
John3222 Marden
January 26, 2013
January 26
A Man To Be Remarked On: Thank you for your wonderful children who have reached out to the Community as you have. Especially Thank You for Dynamy, a program that lit up my children.
Fred Rushton
January 26, 2013
Martha, I am so sorry for your loss. I had the pleasure of meeting you and Bill when I installed and repaired a lifeline unit at your home. Having only meeting him twice I could see the love you both shared.
Ralph DeFeo
January 23, 2013
Dear Martha, My deepest sympathies to you on the passing of your beloved husband Bill. May your memories help to sustain you. Bill was an incredible man, inspired to give, teach, inspire, and lead. He was a man who practiced what he preached by living his life in action. I will miss him at the First Unitarian Church in Worcester.
Bernadette Nelson
January 23, 2013
Bill wholly embraced his entire life and, by his example, helped us vow to live fully through to our ends. Thank you, Martha, for sharing your wonderful partnership with us.
Ellen O'Neall-Waite
January 23, 2013
Bill's passionate commitment to a just and peaceful society has inspired countless people, and his inspiration lives on in all of us who were so deeply touched by his warm presence and keen intellect. He led by example and mentored more people than anyone I've ever known.
Paul Ropp
January 23, 2013
Betsy and I are both very deeply saddened. A great friend, mentor, role model, coach, and supporter. As with so many other organizations, his role was pivotal in establishing Dynamy in Worcester many years ago. He represented the city at its best and drew out the best in others as well. Our thoughts and prayers are with Deb, Betsy, Willy, and of course Martha.
Bruce Bergquist
January 23, 2013
Bill was a thoughtful mentor and always willing to listen. He made a huge difference in my early life and remains in my thoughts today.
Walter Henritze
January 23, 2013
It was indeed an honor to know and have the opportunity to work with Bill - he made a true difference in the Worcester community and beyond. His intelligence, his kind manner, his ability to understand and work through problems, and his respect for all people will be sorely missed. Most sincerely, Nancy Leavitt
Nancy Leavitt
January 23, 2013
Along with all his public accomplishments, he helped me become a functioning adult through his many private interactions. There is a hole in the city's heart with his passing.
Bob Sakakeeny
January 23, 2013
Bill was a friend to all he met. He was kind and gentle, yet determined to make our world better. Thanks be to God for the time we had him with us.
Bob Dwyer
January 23, 2013
Mr. Densmore (Bill) was a friend of the Worcester Public Schools and especially the students. His insight and suggestions were valuable. May he rest in peace. John Durkin
John Durkin
January 22, 2013
My parents, George and Priscilla Knowlton, lived side by side with the Densmores in a duplex on Salisbury Street many, many years ago. The Densmores and Knowltons stayed connected over the years, and I saw Martha, Willy, and Deb a few years ago at a memorial service. He was such a gentle, inspiring man. My love to Martha, Deb, Betsy and Bill. Joy Knowlton
January 21, 2013
Mr "D" was a special person that touched the live of so many people. I am honored to have been one of those who were so positively influenced by such a great man. We will all miss him but his spirit lives on!
Lauren (Stratouly) Baker
January 21, 2013
A discplined and focussed individual Bill helped guide my early successful Norton-Sainat Gobain career.
Jerry Hequembourg
January 20, 2013
Our favorite "Densmore-ism": Combine, eliminate, and simplify. He led by example. A nice man.
Harold & Janice George
January 20, 2013
A truly great man and educator!
Wells Dow
January 20, 2013
Bill you were an inspiration to me. I will miss your wise advice and sense of humor. God speed.
January 20, 2013
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