Sanford, Florida – November 17, 2017 – It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Wharton-Smith co-founder Bill Wharton on Sunday, Nov. 12, at the age of 95. He is survived by his wife Lina and six children.
Bill and co-founder George Smith met in Ohio in 1966. They worked together at Bay Construction and in 1975 they were part of a team working to grow the Florida office. Nearly 10 years later when Bay announced they were closing the company, Bill and George mortgaged their homes and took the risk of a lifetime. They made an offer to take over the firm’s unfinished Florida work. Their leap of faith has grown into one of Central Florida’s largest general contractor and construction management firms. Even now, the Wharton-Smith leadership team strives to maintain the culture fashioned by its founders – hard work, integrity, giving back to the community, and every once in a while taking a leap of faith.
Even though Bill retired in 1992, he remained a member of the Board of Directors until his death. Many of us have memories of him at our annual Holiday Party and other company events. He joined us for the 30 Year Anniversary Luncheon and State of the Business in June 2014. During the Luncheon, Bill thanked “all of those employees, past and present, for helping create a strong Wharton-Smith.”
Bill was an Army veteran who served his country in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. He also served his community by helping those in need – whether it be a struggling family or a non-profit organization.
A memorial celebration of Bill Wharton’s life will be held on Saturday, December 9, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. in the Longwood Room at the Village on the Green, 500 Village Place, Longwood, FL. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Bill’s memory to the Brede-Wilkins Scholarship Fund. Donation to the fund should be sent to Brede-Wilkins, c/o Drinker Biddle and Reath, LLP, 1177 Avenue of the Americas, 41st Floor, New York, NY 10036-2714.