Obituary: William Paul Middeleer, Former Darien resident, WW II vet
William Paul Middeleer, son of Charles and Gabrielle Middeleer, died after a brief illness with his wife and family by his side. He was ninety years of age. He was a long-time Wilton resident, having moved there in 1952 with his bride, Rosemary Earle Middeleer from Darien. They were married for sixty-four years.
Known fondly 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.
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.
Mr. 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 Bastard’s Club’ by the local pub in Rattlesden.
After a short stint as a traveling salesman and aerial photographer of coastal Fairfield County, Mr. Middeleer 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 gardened ‘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.
Mr. Middeleer 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.
Perhaps as a result of his Belgian heritage, Mr. Middeleer had a long-standing love affair with food and was often at the cutting edge of culinary trends. He was perhaps best known for such original dishes as ‘chicken a la kinkie’ and his famous ‘essence’ for Béarnaise sauce, the recipes of which, often improvised, will sadly go with him.
He loved Block Island and sunsets over the cove. It was there that he taught his children and grandchildren how to sail, fish and clam. While not always successful as a fisherman, he still made a sizable dent in the shellfish population. Over the 60 some years that he visited the island, there was always a favorite seagull name George who visited every day for a snack.
Mr. Middeleer 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, Rhode Island 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. Memorial donations may be given to any of the following: The Block Island Conservancy — biconservancy.org/donate.html, the ASPCA (or animal rescue of your choice) -— aspca.org, or the Wilton Public Library — wiltonlibrary.org.
— by The Darien Times