William Bowman Wharton, a long time officer in the U.S. Department of State, died on Monday, May 4, 2020. Born in Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain, 87 years ago where his father, Clifton R. Wharton, Sr., the first black career Foreign Service officer, was serving as U.S. Consul.
The family moved to Roxbury where William attended Boston Public Schools and then earned a BA degree from Harvard University, class of 1955. He became a lawyer with a JD in 1968 from John Marshall Law School of the University of Illinois, Chicago.
William then followed in his father's footsteps by joining the Department of State. He served for 40 years with distinction in several posts in legal and passport divisions until his retirement in 1998 as Director of Passport Policy and Procedures Office. William had a reputation of unwavering rectitude which once led to his winning a passport controversy covered in the New York Times (November 18, 1992).
William greatly enjoyed sailing his boats in the Chesapeake Bay. At Harvard, he had been coxswain for the Junior Varsity 150 pounds Crew. An avid bridge player, William also loved playing piano for friends, ranging from the classics to jazz. For many years he served as lay reader at the St. Columba's Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C.
He is predeceased by his wife Audrey Belle Wharton and son Andrew. He is survived by brothers Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. of New York City, Richard G. Wharton of Bradenton, FL, and sister Mary Wharton-Sampson of Little Falls, NJ. He is survived by several nieces and nephews - Richard G. "Peter" Wharton, Jr; Bruce D. Wharton; Jonathan Wharton; Joseph Wharton; Lydia S. Hollis; and Matthew Sampson.
Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, funeral services will be delayed until a later date.
Memorial contributions in William Wharton's name can be sent to the Father Martin Ashley Treatment Center, 800 Tydings Lane, Havre De Grace, MD 21078.