William DeFord BathurstNovember 12, 1931 ~ January 11, 2016 (age 84) 84 Years Old
Col. William DeFord Bathurst passed away peacefully at home after a long period of declining health. His beloved wife, Romney, and children, Dana Lee and Bill Jr., were with him. He was a man loved by many, and dedicated his life to service to others, his community and in defense of his country.
The son of Army Col. Charles and Hildegarde Bathurst, Bill was born in Duluth, MN, in 1931. Bill spent his youth on bases at West Point, NY, Ft. Leavenworth, KS and his favorite ‑ Schofield Barracks at Pearl Harbor. He attended the local Japanese school and enjoyed the tropical paradise, spearfishing, horses and polo. After the attack, he and his mother and brother were shipped stateside in a “blacked out” ship.
He graduated from St. Andrews School, Middletown, DE, and upon graduation from the US Military Academy at West Point, he joined the US Air Force. He excelled at and enjoyed his military career, and was the youngest Colonel in the Air Force at the time of his commission. His assignments spanned a wide range, including photo‑mapping the Iberian Peninsula, systems analysis in Vietnam, and 3 tours of duty at the Pentagon. A severe heart attack forced his retirement to Delray Beach, FL in 1976. His last position was as Deputy Comptroller of the US Air Force Budget. He was always ready for the adventure, challenge and rigorous demands of a military career.
Upon retirement, he walked his way back to good health and returned to work as a broker with Merrill Lynch in the Delray Beach office, where he met and fell in love with his second wife, Romney. They moved to the mountains of Western NC in 1982, living in Cashiers for 16 years, before moving to Highlands. Bill loved his mountain homes and enjoyed long walks with his dogs and visits here from his family. He and Romney had 22 years of holidays in their cottage in the Scottish Highlands, an area which was close to their hearts.
He was active in many community organizations, ranging from the founding days of the (then) Cashiers Humane Society to the Jackson Co. Homebuilders Assn. Bill loved assisting with the Special Operations Adventure Race, and supported the Special Ops Warrior Foundation in any way he could. He served as a Vestryman and Senior Warden at the Church of the Good Shepherd, founding President of the Cashiers Rotary, a member of the Foundation Board of the Highlands‑Cashiers Hospital, a Mentor with the Georgia Liver Transplant Foundation and Director of the NC Cardio‑pulmonary Rehabilitation Association. His involvement with Cardiac Rehab continued until the end of his life, with volunteer service at Healthtracks, and his appreciation for excellent healthcare given by his doctors, nurses and care‑givers was endless. He supported the Highlands‑Cashiers Audubon Society, referring to himself as a “Birder by Marriage”, and was a member of the Highlands Falls Country Club.
Bill always encouraged his family and friends to be the best at whatever they were doing. He will continue to be loved and missed by his family, daughter Dana Lee Bathurst, son Bill Bathurst, Jr and his wife, Debra, and two grandsons, William III and Ian, of Delray Beach, FL and by his niece, Jill J. Bathurst, and her children Jimmy and Kelly of Lasne, Belgium. He is also survived by his brother and sister‑in‑law, Stephen and Ruth Willson, and his nieces, Lauren Lawson and Romney Beebe. Their husbands and children were dearly loved and very much a part of his life.
As a mentor and inspiration, Bill was a part of many lives, always encouraging education, advancement and improvement. He mentored many young people and touched many lives.
Memorial services will be held on Saturday, January 30th, at 2PM at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Highway 107 S., Cashiers. A reception will follow in Hines Hall. His ashes will be interred at the US Military Academy Cadet Cemetery in a private service later this year.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, Tampa, FL, Four Seasons Hospice, or the Cashiers‑Highlands Humane Association.
As long as our friends and loved ones live on in our hearts, they will never die. Grip Hands.
Bryant‑Grant Funeral Home is serving the Bathurst family. Online condolences may be made at bryantgrantfuneralhome.com.