May 26, 2011
We learned this week that Bill Inderstrodt, a wonderful Minister in the United Church of Christ, and a great friend of the College had passed from this life in Topsham, Maine on May 17.
Bill had become a good friend of mine, both because he was an Earlham alumnus (’43) and because he lived in Topsham, where Ellen and I own a house and will soon be moving. I enjoyed frequent conversations with Bill that were always full of searching questions about his alma mater, strong opinions about the U.S. and the world, great stories and evidence of abiding friendship. He was always introducing us to interesting people, encouraging young people to think about Earlham as a college choice, and dreaming up ways Ellen and I could be involved in Maine once we moved there.
Bill had grown up here in Richmond, Indiana in a Quaker family. I especially enjoyed his stories about life among Indiana Quakers in the 1930s when he was a boy. Bill received his seminary education at Hartford Seminary, where he also met his wife, Jane. He pastored at a number of important churches up and down the east coast (Washington, D.C.; Washington, CT; Danbury CT, the Bahamas; York, ME) and served in paid and board leadership positions for a number of service-oriented not-for-profits. He had a huge heart for helping others, gusto to get things done, and a shrewd understanding of how they might be accomplished. As he grew older, he never seemed to let life get ahead of him. He was always fun and well-informed, eager to think about how the world might be improved.
Our mission statement says, “At Earlham College this education is carried on with a concern for the world in which we live and for improving human society.” That was Bill’s orientation to life.
Says the obituary in the Portland (ME) Press Herald, “His humor, his laugh, his honesty will all be sorely missed, but remembered with great warmth.” Said a friend from Connecticut, Davida Crabtree, ” His combination of humor and candor set him apart, along with his intellect, his vision and his faith. His many accomplishments are testimony to the way God blessed him with rare gifts for bringing people together and firing them up to make a difference in the world.”