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Memorial

William E. Colby ’40

Published in Nov. 27, 1996, issue

The death of former CIA Director Bill Colby in a canoeing accident on Apr. 27, 1996, marks the tragic loss of one of '40's most distinguished and noteworthy members. Bill's remarkable public service career included WWII days as an OSS agent, a Cold War warrior leading clandestine operations in Europe and Asia, and finally as CIA director.

Bill was an individual of strong convictions, immense courage, and unshakable principle. When the CIA's clandestine activities came under congressional investigation, Bill cooperated with the congressional authorities feeling it an essential opportunity to educate Congress, the press, and the public about the agency and its projects. Bill wrote in his memoirs, "The agency's survival could only come from understanding, not hostility, built on knowledge, not faith."

In retirement Bill remained energetic with lecturing, law practice, and national and international consulting. He spoke out in behalf of nuclear arms reduction and founded the American Committee for Free Vietnam. He was senior editor of Strategic Weekly Briefings. He also was creating a computer game about espionage and counter-terrorism.

He is survived by his wife, Sally SheltonColby, and his children from a first marriage, Jonathan, Carl, Paul, and Christine, and six grandchildren. Courage and integrity under pressure were centerpieces in Bill Colby's career and '40 proudly recognizes the accomplishments of this patriotic and dedicated classmate.

The Class of 1940

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