William Wallace Abbott, former Procter & Gamble Executive, dies at 91
William Wallace “Wally” Abbott, 91, of Moorings Park, Naples, FL passed away on May 13, 2023. He leaves his loving wife Jan Voorheis Abbott of Naples, FL; four children, Scott Abbott and his wife Heather Abbott of Hamden, CT; Marnie Kaufman and her husband Jeffrey Kaufman of Needham, MA; Aubrey (Conquergood) Henderson and her husband Peter Henderson of Needham, MA; David Abbott and his wife Juliana Abbott of Darien, CT; and eight beloved grandchildren Benjamin, Skyler, Toby and Maxwell Kaufman; Caroline and Elle Conquergood; and William and Elizabeth Abbott.
Wally was born in Dallas, TX, the son of William and Mary (Wallace) Abbott. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Davidson College and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.
After graduating from Harvard Business School, Wally began his 35-year career at the Procter & Gamble Company (P&G). Starting as a traveling Sales Associate, he was promoted through the Sales Division to ultimately becoming a P&G Senior Vice-President. He also served as head of P&G’s Foundation, and as a Senior External Relations Executive working with communities and governments globally. Wally was admired and trusted by his friends and colleagues alike, many of whom he mentored and who strove to emulate his integrity, clarity of mind, and kindness to others.
Following his career with Procter & Gamble, he served as Volunteer Senior Advisor to the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme for six years, working in many countries to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and exclusion, and build national resilience. Wally also served as Chairman of the Board of Acorn Products, Rotech Healthcare, and the Joint Council of Economic Education; Director of Horace Mann Insurance, Henkel Consumer Adhesives, Fifth-Third Bank (Naples), Millenium Bank (Colorado), Armstrong World Industries and the American Enterprise Institute; and Executive Committee Member and Director of the National Association of Manufacturers.
Wally was active throughout his life in many community and civic affairs, including Chairman of the United Way campaign in Cincinnati, President of the Dan Beard Council of the Boy Scouts, and Chairman of Just Say No International. He was a Board member of Habitat for Humanity of Collier County, The Duke University Cancer Center, and the Forum Club of Southwest Florida. He served as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board at Columbia Graduate School of Business and was an adjunct professor at Appalachian State University and Florida Gulf Coast University.
He was active in his church, serving as an Elder and deacon at Armstrong Chapel and Knox Presbyterian in Cincinnati. He also served as a Trustee of the Naples United Church of Christ and volunteered on its Mission Committee and at its Bargain Box Thrift Store.
Wally will be remembered for his kindness, curiosity, quirky humor, and love of travel and sports. He traveled extensively, often with family, and always bringing home stories and pictures to share. He was so proud of his children and grandchildren, and they brought him such joy. Wally loved teaching his grandchildren to fish and to play sports, cards and board games; whenever they visited, he would wake early and bring home fresh donuts for breakfast. As in all aspects of his life, Wally played tennis, golf and bridge with both intense competitiveness and good-natured camaraderie. Wally and Jan were married for 66 marvelous years, and he considered himself to be the most fortunate husband in the world.
A celebration of Wally’s life will be held on May 27th at 11 a.m. at the Bower Chapel in Moorings Park (Naples, FL). In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Research Foundation online at www.accrf.org (founded by his daughter Marnie Kaufman and her husband Jeff Kaufman) or send checks to ACCRF, P.O. Box 442, Needham, MA 02494. Alternatively, please consider a donation to Habitat for Humanity of Collier County, FL at www.habitatcollier.org.