In Memoriam: William H. Scheide (1914 – 2014)

For Immediate Release

Contact: Marcy K. Krever, Chief Communications Officer
Phone: No calls please.

American Montessori Society
116 East 16th Street, New York, NY 10003-2163

November 26, 2014. William H. Scheide, a music scholar and philanthropist whose generosity included major gifts to the American Montessori Society, died of natural causes at his home in Princeton, NJ, on November 14. He was 100-years old.

An avid reader and musician—Bill started playing piano at age 6, and later learned the organ and oboe—he used his wealth to support causes and projects that were dear to his heart, including, at Princeton University (his alma mater): an endowed professorship, the Scheide Professor of Music History; the Scheide Library, his famed private collection of rare books and manuscripts; the Scheide Scholars program, which has enabled hundreds of students to attend the University; and the Scheide Caldwell House, which provides offices and classrooms for several key humanities initiatives.

With his wife, Judith McCartin Scheide—a passionate Montessorian and friend of AMS—Bill gave significantly to the organization with contributions including funding for the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector, launched in 2012. The Scheides also provided underwriting for the Douglas M. Gravel Fund, created to preserve the history of the American Montessori Society through projects associated with the AMS Archives at the Thomas J. Dodd Center (at the University of Connecticut), and more. Bill was also a member of the AMS 1870 Society, which ensures the longevity of AMS and its programs through planned giving.

Bill will also be remembered for his contributions to civil rights. The longest-serving board member of the Legal Defense Fund (he joined in 1962), Bill gave the organization nearly $6 million, according to his wife, Judith, as quoted in The New York Times. In the 1950s, he helped provide money for the legal defense fund in the landmark school desegregation case, Brown vs.Board of Education. He also supported Centurion Ministries, which works to free from prison individuals who have been wrongly convicted of criminal offenses.

In The Princeton Packet, Bill is quoted as having said, “I believe that a democratic society must be ultimately founded on love for our enemies, real and fancied enemies, who daily and inevitably trample our personalities and threaten to destroy our innermost beliefs—that is, our essential natures.”

In addition his wife, Judy, Bill leaves behind 2 daughters, 3 stepdaughters, 3 grandchildren, 6 step-grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren.

Contributions in William Scheide’s name may be made to Centurion Ministries and/or to Isles, a Trenton-based community development and environmental organization.

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