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Statement on the Recent Death of Institute Trustee Bill Nitze

August 16, 2021  • Institute Staff

Longtime Aspen Institute trustee William A. Nitze died in California on July 30, 2021, saddening the many communities who valued his wisdom and unerring commitment to Institute values. His obituary is in the Aspen Times. Below is a statement from former Executive Vice President Eric L. Motley:

A strong supporter of the Aspen Institute, Bill was curious, engaging, generous, and always kind. Among his fellow Trustees, he will be remembered for always having his hand up. It would not officially be an Aspen Institute meeting without a question or comment from Bill. He always had something insightful to say and we could always count on him to remind us of who we here at the Aspen Institute are and what we represent. Bill was never shy about elaborating on the “footnotes of our founding ideals,” and by doing so, he carried in heart and mind our rich legacy and that of the Nitze family.

The nephew of our founders Elizabeth and Walter Paepcke, Bill came to Aspen at the age of nine, to visit his father’s sister Elizabeth Paepcke who had a monumental influence on his love for music and ideas. It was in those early years that he first came to know the Aspen Institute, later being inspired by his aunt to join the board in 1988.  Always present on campus for a meeting, seminar, or a quiet moment of repose sitting on a bench, or seen riding his bicycle he will be greatly missed by all.

Both Bill and his beloved wife Ann always embodied the Aspen spirit, and their homes in both Aspen and Washington were in many ways extensions of the Aspen Institute. We will always remember and treasure the remarkable life and legacy of Bill.