William Pilling, 91, an executive

William S. Pilling II
William S. Pilling II
Posted: August 02, 2014

William S. Pilling II, 91, of Penn Valley, a pharmaceutical company executive, died Tuesday, July 29, at Wellington Terrace in West Chester.

Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Pilling graduated from Chestnut Hill Academy in 1941. Two years later, he joined the Army and served in France and Germany during World War II as a non-commissioned infantry sergeant in charge of a mortar squad. He received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster.

After the war, he earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Harvard College and a master's of business administration with distinction from Harvard University.

In 1943, Mr. Pilling married Helen d'Auria Holt. They were together for 58 years, living in Villanova and Penn Valley. After Mr. Pilling retired in 1986, they moved to Stevensville, Mont., but returned to the Philadelphia area in 2000.

Mr. Pilling's career spanned 38 years, almost entirely with Smith, Kline & French Laboratories in Philadelphia. He rose to the post of vice president of marketing administration.

His friend Roger A. Ross of Strafford said Mr. Pilling was the first person to welcome him when Ross joined Smith Kline in 1964.

"He was a role model and mentor for many of us who began careers with 'The Fine Old House' in the 1960s. He built and fostered friendships that lasted his entire life," Ross wrote in an online guest book.

Until recently, Mr. Pilling was a regular at a second-Monday-of-every-month luncheon of old Smith, Kline & Frenchers "who get together to maintain those bonds that he taught us are such an important part of life," Ross wrote.

"We have lost a great friend, a fine, moral man, and a great fisherman," Ross said.

Mr. Pilling was a member of the Merion Cricket Club and the Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club, where he served as commodore in 1966. He enjoyed fly-fishing, sailing, skiing, golf, gardening, tennis, running, art, history, music, and bridge. He served on several boards, including that of the YMCA of Philadelphia. For two years, he coordinated the Philadelphia Half Marathon.

"That was when he got into running. He was very determined, and pursued everything with great enthusiasm," said his son William S. III.

Mr. Pilling's wife died in 2001. Surviving, besides his son, are another son, Michael Holt; a daughter, Ellen Pilling Stewart; a sister; six grandchildren; and a great-grandchild. Another daughter, Martha Pilling Wolk, also died earlier.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 8, at Holy Innocents Episcopal Church, Marine Street between Atlantic and Beach Avenues, Beach Haven, N.J. Burial is private.

Donations may be made to Mordecai Land Trust, Box 1414, Beach Haven, N.J. 08008.


bcook@phillynews.com

610-313-8102

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