William Thomas Caldwell III passed away peacefully on January 8th with loved ones at his side. “Bill” was born June 4, 1929 in Camden, NJ to William T. Caldwell Jr. and Rose Mary (McGinness) Caldwell. He spent his youth in Moorestown, NJ where he attended the Moorestown Friends School before graduating from The Taft School in Waterbury, CT in 1946. He joined the US Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps at Princeton University at the age of 17. He completed the NROTC Midshipman Practice Cruise at the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD in 1947. He earned a BS degree (Chemistry) from Princeton University in 1950 and a Medical degree from Columbia University in 1954. Bill served in the US Navy from 1954 to 1958 as Lieutenant in the Medical Corps and as a flight surgeon on the USS Franklin D Roosevelt. In 1958 he left active duty to begin a residency in ophthalmology at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in NYC.
Bill met the love of his life, Betty Ann Mason, in Lavallette, NJ and they married in June of 1952. After serving in the Navy and completing his residency, he began a successful Ophthalmology practice in Red Bank, NJ. He and Betty Ann raised their three children in Shrewsbury and Fair Haven, NJ where he was able to pursue his passion for the sea. Bill built his DN Iceboat “Little Blue” (now docked in the Small Craft wing of the Mariners Museum in Newport News, VA) and designed his wooden boat “The Betty Boop II” on which he spent many happy times exploring the rivers, bays and ocean. He was a member of the Shrewsbury River Yacht Club, the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat and Yacht Club, the Lavallette Yacht Club, the Rumson Presbyterian Church and the Union Church of Lavallette. He was an avid fisherman and wood worker, building many intricate ship models over the years. He loved reading, especially historical and nautical themes. Bill had a special place in his heart for Lavallette, NJ where he spent many happy summers with his family. It was here that he instilled in his three children his love for the sea. A devoted family man he ensured that his three children were competent ocean swimmers. He was proud to have taught his son to surf, sail, ice boat, fish and wood working. Together they enjoyed these father-son activities over their lifetimes. He loved telling the story of when he and his dad swam the entire one-mile length of the Lavallette boardwalk. He semi-retired to Lavallette in 1991, where he enjoyed the beach, boating and fishing until settling in Williamsburg, VA for his retirement in 1998. In retirement he enjoyed pursuing many of his passions; bird watching, classes at Christopher Wren, being a docent at the Mariners Museum in Newport News, building ship models and crewing on sailboats. He and Betty Ann made several trips to Scotland, one of his favorite places. He taught himself Scottish Gaelic and loved Celtic music and culture. While in Williamsburg, he and Betty Ann enjoyed spending time with his two sisters and their families who also retired to Williamsburg.
Bill is survived by his wife of 68 years, Betty Ann (Mason) Caldwell, his youngest sister Mary Rose “Pattee” (Caldwell) Schlatter (David) of Williamsburg and two daughters, Linda Ann Werner (Bill) of Wisconsin and Mary Ellen Caldwell of Colorado. He had 4 grandchildren, William J. Werner (Ida), Michael T. Werner (Melanie), Eric M. Werner and Patrick O. Murphy and two great grandchildren, Abram B. and Willa B. Werner. He was predeceased by his beloved sister Margaret Caldwell Karb (Alan) and his beloved son, William M. Caldwell (Wendy).
There will be a celebration of his life at a future date when it is safe to gather. Bill was devastated when he lost his son to pancreatic cancer in 2018; donations in Bill’s memory may be made to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network https://www.pancan.org . The family would like to thank the staff at The Williamsburg Landing Health and Rehab Center for the wonderful care he received in his last year, as well as his two special care givers, Tina and Beverly who were devoted to him.