The Honorable William A. Hewitt, a Caltech life trustee and a former U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica, died Saturday, May 16th, 1998 of a heart attack at his home in Rutherford, California. He was 83.
The former chairman of Deere & Company of Moline, Illinois, Hewitt assumed leadership of the company following the death in 1955 of Charles Deere Wiman, the great-grandson of John Deere. Hewitt retired in 1982 and was appointed to the Jamaican ambassadorship by President Reagan. He served in the office until 1985.
A native of San Francisco, Hewitt graduated from Berkeley in 1937 with a degree in economics, and thereafter attended the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration.
He was an officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II, serving in the Pacific theater. Originally commissioned as an ensign, he earned nine battle stars and four other medals, including the Presidential Unit Citation Medal, and left the service with the rank of lieutenant commander. After the war, he began his career with Deere & Company.
He was elected to the Caltech Board of Trustees on June 9, 1967, and became a life trustee on October 25, 1991. During his 30 years on the board, he served on the audit committee, the building and grounds committee, the visiting committee for the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences, and the visiting committee for the Division of Biology. In addition, he was a life member of the Caltech Associates and a member of the President's Circle in 1986–87.
In addition to his Caltech affiliations, Hewitt was also a member of the visiting committee for East Asian Studies at Harvard University, and a member of the Stanford Research Institute Council during the 1970s. His civic affiliations included membership in the Smithsonian National Associates, the National Safety Council, the Museum of Modern Art, the International Council of the Asia Society, and the Council of the Americas. He is survived by two daughters, Adrienne Deere Hewitt and Anna Deere Hewitt; a son, Alexander Southall Hewitt; and six grandchildren.