HAMDEN, Conn. -- William A. Liddell, a resident of Hamden for 40 years, most recently a resident at the Masonic Healthcare Center in Wallingford, died on April 26, 2004.
Born Dec. 8, 1919, William Liddell grew up in Lowell, Mass.; his father, William A. Liddell was professor of civil engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He graduated from Haverford in 1941 and served as an officer during World War II in Italy and Brazil as a specialist in cryptography. Liddel earned a doctorate in American history from Yale University in 1953 and remained in the New Haven area for the rest of his life. He was an associate fellow of Branford College at Yale University for many years.
Liddell was employed for more than 35 years at Asgrow Seed Company, retiring as technical horticulturalist liaison. His strong belief in the value of public education led him to service and election to the Board of Education in Hamden for 17 years, retiring as chairman in 1973. He was well-remembered for his strong stand against the banning of "The Catcher in the Rye" from the high school student reading list. Liddell was a deeply committed amateur musician on recorder and viola da gamba. He co-founded two ensembles and performed with the Cappella Cordina under the direction of Alejandro Planchart, which made several recordings for Experience Anonymes and Lyrichord.
Liddell was a passionate gardener and his ability to maximize produce yields led him to establish a relationship with the CT Food Bank. Out of just more than an acre of land, and with the help of his devoted "volunteer migrants," he averaged more than 30,000 pounds per annual harvest. This project achieved national press coverage (The New York Times and AP) as well as national television interest (CBS' "Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt" and "Good Morning America"). For his service, Liddel received the CT Jefferson Award and a letter of commendation from President George H.W. Bush naming him one of the Thousand Points of Light. The Connecticut Food Bank also established an annual award in his name to honor his commitment and to recognize outstanding volunteer service.
Liddell was predeceased by his brother, Charles; sons Thomas and Andrew; and wife Eleanor.
He is survived by his sister, Elizabeth Cane of Sudbury, Mass.; three daughters, Catherine Liddell of Natick, Mass., Margaret Liddell of Hamden, and Susan Liddel Rykken of Gardiner, Maine; and two grandsons, Matthew Thomas Liddell and James Andrew Liddell, both of Cromwell, Conn.
A memorial service will be announced at a later date. For information, please contact Hawley Lincoln Funeral Home in New Haven.