Obituary: William Paul Middeleer, WW2 pilot, 'Lucky Bastard'
William Paul Middeleer, son of Charles and Gabrielle Middeleer, died after a brief illness on Sunday, May 17. He was 90 years old.
Middeleer was a long-time Wiltonian, having moved there in 1952 with his bride, Rosemary Earle Middeleer from Darien. The couple was married for sixty-four years.
Known by close friends as Bill and by his grandchildren as 'Quack Quack,' he was highly respected in the community both as an investment advisor and a good friend, his family said.
For many years, he served as treasurer for the Wilton Library and was a member and President of the Nutmeg Club, a local investment group. Friends and family depended on him for his sound advice and counsel, his family said.
Born in Brussels, Belgium on May 31, 1924, he moved to Rowayton and later to Darien with his parents and older sister when he was very young. He attended the New Canaan Country School, the Westminster School and Yale University, where he was a member of the Elihu Club.
Middeleer served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. He was a First Lieutenant, captain and pilot of a B-17 bomber in the 447th Air Corps. Enlisting at age 18, he was the youngest member of his crew of 8 known as 'Buster's Gang.'
They successfully flew 35 missions over Germany from Rattlesden in Suffolk, England and were honored after they had completed their missions with membership into 'The Lucky Bastards Club' by the local Pub in Rattlesden.
After a short stint as a traveling salesman and aerial photographer of coastal Fairfield County, Bill worked as the Assistant Treasurer at the United Nations under Dag Hammarskjold. Later, he got his license as a stockbroker and worked on Wall Street and later in Rowayton, with Wheat First Securities.
An avid gardener, he worked 'organically' before the term was invented. He enjoyed tennis from a young age and was a long-time member of the Wilton Riding Club, where he was known as 'The Fox' on the tennis court for his wicked drop shots and well-placed lobs.
Bill was a poet at heart. Among other things, he was a creator of original, anonymous Valentines and enjoyed entertaining friends and family at the dinner table with birthday poems, “sometimes-but-not-always-funny” jokes and original limericks, his family said.
Perhaps as a result of his Belgian heritage, Bill had a long-standing love affair with food and was often at the cutting edge of culinary trends.
He loved Block Island and sunsets over the cove. It was here that he taught his children and grandchildren how to sail, fish and clam. Over the sixty some years that he visited the island, there was always a favorite seagull name George who visited every day for a snack.
Bill is survived by his wife Rosemary, his sister Marie-Anne Evans of Wilton, and his four children, Susan Mleczko of Wilton, William P. Middeleer, Jr. of Newtown, Michael E. Middeleer of Providence, RI and Geoffrey S. Middeleer of Danbury, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A small, private remembrance is being planned by the family at a future date to be determined. In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to any of the following good causes: The Block Island Conservancy (www.biconservancy.org/donate.html), the ASPCA or other animal rescue organization, or the Wilton Public Library (www.wiltonlibrary.org).