William Thomson Wetmore, Jr., of Amenia, NY died with his family by his side on February 4th at Sharon Hospital at the age of 84. He was a novelist and the founder of the Cascade Mountain Winery and Restaurant in Amenia.
Born in Boston in 1930 to Joan Deery and William Wetmore, Sr., Bill, as he was known to most, spent much of his childhood in New York City, where his grandfather, Charles Delevan Wetmore of the architecture firm Warren and Wetmore had worked with Whitney Warren to create buildings that are now landmarks, among them Grand Central Station, the New York Yacht Club and the Ritz Carleton. Although his mother was remarried to Palmer Dixon, on Broadway she was known as Joan Wetmore, a successful actress, and one of the many larger-than-life personalities that shaped him. Bill had many fond memories of times he spent as a young boy in and around the theater with his mother.
He graduated from St. Mark's School, joined the Marines Corp and then continued on to Harvard College, where he was captain of the Harvard Crew. Upon graduation in ‘53, he took a reporting job at the Middletown Times Herald in Middletown, NY at the city desk and then travelled in Europe, spending most of his time in Greece and Spain and later as a freelance writer on assignment in Tahiti and Australia.
While at Harvard he met Margaret Finley Kiser (Radcliffe '54) on a blind date and they were married in December of 1957 in Atlanta, Georgia. They moved to Caracas, Venezuela and arrived in the middle of the Revolution of 1958. In Caracas, he worked as an insurance broker. They explored the country and had memorable adventures with his beloved Aunt Kathy Phelps and her family. In 1963, he and Margaret moved back to the US with their two young sons to continue his writing career. They settled in Millbrook and then Amenia. While still working as a journalist, he published five novels with Little Brown and Company. After writing an article on New York State winemakers, he was inspired to plant a vineyard, which he did in 1972. With his family he founded Cascade Mountain in 1977, an award winning Hudson Valley Winery and Restaurant, which he continued to run to this day with his daughter Joan. An avid sailor and fisherman, he was also a whip for a good part of the 60's and 70's for the Sandanona Hare hounds in Millbrook, NY., where most knew him as Willy.
He was predeceased by his half brother, Jonathan Dixon.
His favorite sports teams included the ones that featured any of his five grandchildren. He and Margaret were frequent spectators at their teams’ events. He is survived by his wife Margaret, children Charles, Michael and Joan, their spouces Leila Wetmore and Walter Yahn, and grandchildren Margaret, Ellen and William Yahn and Finley and Eliza Wetmore. His sense of humor, intelligence and quick wit will be dearly missed by family and friends. A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m. on February 28 at St Peter's Church, 692 Deep Hollow Road, Millbrook. In lieu of flowers, Memorial donations can be made to the Amenia Fire and Rescue Squad, 36 Mechanic Street, Amenia, NY 12501