William Boyce Upholt

Upholt—William Boyce Upholt, 72, on July 30, 2016, at home in West Hartford, Conn. Bill was born on September 14, 1943, in Orlando, Fla. He earned a bachelor’s from Pomona College in 1965 and a doctorate from California Institute of Technology in 1971, both degrees in chemistry. In 1975, after postdoctoral fellowships at University of Amsterdam and Carnegie Institution of Washington, he began research at University of Chicago in pediatrics and biochemistry, meeting and in 1980 marrying Mary Lee Morrison. He moved in 1985 to West Hartford, Conn., to work at University of Connecticut Health Center, doing research in the School of Dental Medicine Reconstructive Sciences Department, teaching, carrying out administrative duties, and receiving many professional honors. An avid cyclist, he bicycled to work for many years.

He served diligently, carefully, and thoughtfully his monthly, quarterly, and yearly meetings. His New England Yearly Meeting positions were: representative to Friends Committee on National Legislation; sessions reading clerk; member of Internal Nominating, Personnel, and Earthcare Ministry Committees; Permanent Board member; Executive Council member; Sessions Committee clerk; and Student Loan Committee clerk. He served New England and national Friends organizations devoted to earthcare witness and was FCNL Visiting Friend with Mary Lee.

Bill found unusual and out-of-the-way places when he and Mary Lee traveled extensively with their growing children, a spirit reflected in his children’s life journeys, such as Gretchen’s Peace Corps work in the Ukraine and Boyce’s mathematics teaching on an Indian reservation. Bill also worked in the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network and co-clerked the City of Hartford’s Advisory Commission on the Environment, helping to guide the planning of two citywide Earth Day events and serving on the Clean Energy Task Force. He and Mary Lee were arrested at a White House protest against the Keystone Pipeline in 2011. After their children were grown, they often combined family and friend visits with attendance at peace and justice/peace education conferences. They made several long-distance bike trips in the United States and Europe and hiked many trails together.

Bill’s Quaker faith, mindful life, influence on many people, environmental work, and use of the earth’s resources will remain an inspiration long into the future. One of his favorite writers was Wendell Berry, who wrote, “The soil is the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.” Quiet and thoughtful, Bill also made a difference in the world through his research in biochemistry and his teaching, retiring from University of Connecticut as professor emeritus a few years before his death. When he died, he was serving as clerk of Hartford (Conn.) Meeting.

Bill is survived by his wife, Mary Lee Morrison; two children, Gretchen Morrison Upholt and Boyce Morrison Upholt; and a brother, Robert Upholt (Colleen).

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