William W. Leete

William “Bill” W. Leete, former Professor of Art at the University of Rhode Island, passed away peacefully on August 25, 2022.  He was 93.

Bill was born in Portsmouth, Ohio on June 12, 1929 to Bernard E. and Lois D. Leete. He grew up primarily in Chillicothe, Ohio, along with his siblings — the late Bernard Leete and the late Barbara Stange. Although from Ohio, he and his family had deep ties to New England, and spent many summers in Old Saybrook, CT.

After graduating with a BA degree from Yale University in 1951, he served in the Marine Corps during the Korean Conflict.  On September 19, 1952, he married his college sweetheart, Doris Knight (who he had initially met at Silver Bay, Lake George, NY) while stationed at the Marine Corps base on Oahu Hawaii.  He returned to Yale to earn a BFA (1955) and MFA (1957) after his service in the Marines was completed. 

In 1957, he was hired as an art instructor at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston. He and Doris lived there for a few years, and then moved to Wakefield, RI, where they lived for the rest of their lives — for the past 50 years in a Deck House on the Saugatucket River. For 38 years, Bill worked at the University of Rhode Island, where he taught not only traditional drawing and painting but he also served as a pioneer in the subject of computer art. He was the first professor at the University to become an expert in that field, and he was enthusiastic in sharing his knowledge and expertise. He traveled throughout the US to serve on art symposiums discussing computer art and served as a judge in various art shows including those at RISD.

Bill was predeceased by his beloved wife, Doris, as well as his daughter, Robin Schodt. He is survived by his sister-in-law, Arlene Leete, his daughter, Amy MacDonald, his sons-in-law Tom MacDonald and Randy Schodt, as well as six grandchildren. He will be best remembered by his surviving family members as generous, quick witted, and a doting husband. He will always conjure up the memory of a father and grandfather who created wonderful works of art and never spoke an unkind word, who often had his face in a newspaper or book, and always kept a small notebook and pencil in his shirt pockets to make lists and doodles.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Saint Elizabeth Home Care, formerly Cathleen Naughton Associates — they provided excellent care to Bill in his later years — or to a senior care facility near you in his memory.

A memorial service is planned for November 5, 2022 at Peace Dale Congregational Church at 3 p.m. For guest book and condolences, averystortifuneralhome.com.

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