He was “one of the community’s greats,” in the words of former state Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, and while the death of William Bozman was not unexpected, it still created a ripple of emotional outpouring from several generations of Arlington civic leaders who had relied on him for counsel and good humor.
Bozman died Nov. 30 at Goodwin House in Baileys Crossroads. He was 93 years old, and in the past year had faced challenges related to heart disease.
“I loved Bill,” said Peg Hogan, a longtime friend and herself a veteran civic leader. “He was one of the great gentlemen. He never, never had a bad word to say about anyone.”
“Such a good man,” said Meg Tuccillo, a longtime school staffer and volunteer.
During a career in the federal government and later private sector, like many in Arlington’s post-World War II generation, Bozman often deferred to his wife, Ellen, in the civic arena. Ellen Bozman, who died in 2009, served a record 24 years on the Arlington County Board from 1974-97.
Both individually and collectively, the pair had a potent impact on local life, Whipple said. “There was no greater couple that contributed to Arlington than Bill and Ellen Bozman,” she said.
Bill Bozman’s community involvement was extensive, from service with United Way of the National Capital Area and SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) to work with the American Red Cross and Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ. He and Ellen Bozman were founders of the Alliance for Housing Solutions.
Bozman also made time for one of his great passions, said state Sen. Barbara Favola (D-31st), who served with Ellen Bozman on the County Board and was a longtime friend.
“Bill was a dedicated golfer,” Favola said. “He liked the camaraderie, he liked the athleticism.”
In civic life, Bozman was “a solid, good, analytical man,” Favola said.
After service in the Army Air Forces during World War II, Bozman attended Harvard University. He worked at the federal Bureau of the Budget from 1948-61, then for the government’s Area Redevelopment Administration (1961-64) and Office of Economic Opportunity (1967-70). After retirement from the civil service, he held posts with the Urban Institute and U.S. Railway Association, as well as launching a consulting firm.
Bill and Ellen Bozman raised three children in Arlington – William (“Mac”), Bruce and Martha – and had four grandchildren.
A week before Bill Bozman’s death, the Arlington County Board voted unanimously to name the government’s headquarters in honor of Ellen Bozman. Although he was unable to attend, Bill Bozman watched the proceedings online.
“Bill was very pleased that that happened,” said Blair Reischer, his son-in-law.
But, Reischer said, what made Bozman even more happy was creation in 2014 of “Ellen’s Trace,” an urban park in the Ballston area that highlights Ellen Bozman’s efforts in areas from day care and early-childhood education to urban redevelopment and open space.
“What Bill and Ellen would say is the real memorial is the living memorial, the activities of all of you each day,” Reischer said during the Dec. 3 awards ceremony of the Alliance for Housing Solutions.
A celebration-of-life service is expected to be held in January. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Bill Bozman can be made to the Alliance for Housing Solutions, P.O. Box 7009, Arlington, Va. 22207.