William Will, 92, formerly of Chestnut Hill, a city official and a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, died Aug. 11 at Cathedral Village in Andorra.

Mr. Will served as deputy administrator of the Model Cities Program in Philadelphia from1967 to 1974. After leaving Model Cities, he worked for United Way until retiring in 1987.

He served as president and executive director of the City Parks Association. Passionate about healthcare policy issues, he founded Citizens for Informed Decisions in Healthcare Inc. in 1991.

Earlier he had been director of education and research for the International Union of Electrical Workers and executive director of the Germantown Community Council. He also had worked in the Labor Education Department of the School District of Philadelphia and for Community Progress Inc. in New Haven, Conn.

Born in Philadelphia and raised in Elkins Park and Dresher, he was a graduate of Cheltenham High School. He served as an Army medic in World War II, following Gen. George Patton across Europe. He participated in the Battle of the Bulge, where he was surrounded by the German Army for 12 hours. At the end of the war, he cared for inmates of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria, writing letters to their relatives in the United States.

After the war he attended Swarthmore College, graduating in 1949. The summer before his graduation, he drove to Alaska in a 1931 Model A Ford, traveling the unpaved roads constructed by the military during WWII, and worked laying tracks on the Alaska Railroad.

He wrote several memoirs of his early years, war experiences and college days, and was an amateur poet.

Mr. Will is survived by his wife of 65 years, the former Wanda Tyler; daughters Linsey Will and Laura Will; a son, Carl Will; brothers Fredrick Will and Wendell Will; and five grandchildren.

A celebration of Mr. Will’s life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, at Cathedral Village. Memorial donations can be made to Cathedral Village, 600 East Cathedral Road, Philadelphia 19128, or to Swarthmore College, 500 College Ave., Swarthmore, PA 19081. – WF

 

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