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William Ogden Hubbard

Died: November 13, 2013

William Ogden Hubbard was born in New York City, son of Allen Skinner Hubbard, Jr, ’37 and Ann Wheeler Hubbard. He prepared at Millbrook School, Millbrook, NY. He was a history major, and a member of Calhoun. At Yale he participate in the Freshman Glee Club, Apollo Glee Club, the Yale Glee Club, Yale Gilbert and Sullivan Society, and Dwight Hall. He died of leukemia in 1969.

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Toby Hubbard remembers his brother:

My brother Bill graduated two years behind me at Yale. He was a member of Calhoun who made the Dean’s List more often than I did. He was a member of the Elizabethan Club and sang in the Yale Glee Club. He was not much of an athlete, but I remember with gratitude his willingness to jump in at the last minute as a first time-ever rugby player when we ended up a man short during a brief two-game June exclusion to Montreal. He attended graduate school at Johns Hopkins in Industrial Revolution history and was on the brink of departing for Manchester, England to do research for his Ph.D. when he suddenly died of leukemia in October, 1969.

Stephen Friedlander remembers:

Bill was one of my sophomore roommates, and we continued to be close friends after college. He was a very private person, yet there was no distance between us.

He came from American aristocracy; his full name was William Ogden Hubbard, V. He was the ninth generation in his family to attend Yale. His parents and he exemplified the WASP elite believed to run the country. Knowing them intimately was a significant element in the Yale education of this Jewish boy from a small town in South Georgia.

Bill had high style in dress, speech and other forms of expression. Many times when I did something out of the ordinary, he would say, in a slightly mocking tone, “You’re a scholar and a gentleman.” And “moderation in all things,” (quoting Aristotle), and add impishly, “Yea, even moderation itself” when he felt exuberant. As evidence of the latter, he once decided to buy “a new tie every day,” and I would often accompany him to the Co-op to make his selection. I believe he kept this going for three months. Another time, we went to Brooks Brothers in New York for him to buy some underwear, and he spent nearly a hundred dollars — a fortune then — and charged the full amount to his father, who hit the roof when he got the bill (pun intended). Occasionally Bill would take me to Zeta Psi for a Scotch, or I him to the Elizabethan Club for high tea. These were ways to celebrate the good life we had. At night, with the lights out, our conversations were unlimited; we covered everything from weighty political issues of the day, our own educational and social ambitions, and why gay men had such strong aesthetic interests and refined taste.

In those days of men-only education, I once had a date on a football weekend with a beautiful woman from Sarah Lawrence from a very wealthy family who didn’t seem to have a brain in her head. When I suggested we listen to classical music and asked what she would like, she said something to the effect of, “Anybody but Brahms.” Bill spit out his drink and gasped, “What?! You don’t like Brahms?” as if he had just heard something as preposterous as a declared intent not to be bound by the law of gravity.

I last saw him five days before his death. He intended to leave for England in three days to do research for the dissertation he was writing for a Ph.D. in British history at Johns Hopkins. There was not the slightest hint of anything wrong, yet his father called me exactly a week later to say Bill had died of fulminating leukemia two days before. His death was a great shock, and I still think about him frequently. Even after half a century, Bill stands tall in my memory.