by: E&P Staff
William Burriss Irvine II died peacefully surrounded by his family on March 12, 2015 at the age of 89. He was the loving husband of Allen Claywell of Morganton, North Carolina (1925-1995), his wife of 38 years.
Bill entered Cornell University in 1942, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Cornell Widow, the college humor magazine. He was chairman of the senior class finance committee and vice president of the Delta Phi fraternity and was a co-author of A Treasury of College Humor, published in 1947.
In 1944, he served as a first Sergeant in the United States Army, where he was a member of the Army Band unit, the former Bing Crosby band. After the war, Bill returned to Cornell where he graduated in 1949.
Bill had a long and distinguished career as a management consultant for the newspaper industry, beginning as executive vice president of Basil Smith Systems in Philadelphia in 1949. He also served as a partner of the investment firm Johnson Keen and Company of Philadelphia.
In 1966, Bill established Pennsylvania Graphic Arts, a publisher of real estate directories. In 1978, he and Allen moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he became president and founder of Classified Development Corporation, a daily newspaper consulting group whose clients included the Chicago Sun-Times, the Philadelphia Bulletin, regional papers in Baltimore and Los Angeles, as well as metropolitan newspapers throughout the Caribbean.
After he retired, Bill moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, where he was an active board member at the Family Neighborhood Institute and SCORE.
Bill was a gifted musician and pianist who performed professionally from his early days with a high school jazz band to his late years as a piano accompanist. His enthusiasm for all kinds of music—from cabaret to Gilbert and Sullivan—was a great gift he passed along to his children. He leaves behind many friends and admirers and will be fondly remembered for his humor and wit, and for the many people whose lives he touched.
He is survived by his children, William Burriss Irvine III, Mary Irvine Slingluff, and Edward Claywell Irvine; son-in-law Richard Slingluff and Emily Slingluff. The funeral service will be private. A memorial mass will be held later in the spring at the Basilica Shrine of St. Mary in Wilmington, North Carolina.