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William Boom ’39

William Boom ’39, an Air Force veteran and stellar athlete who loved animals, died peacefully Aug. 19, 2016. He was 100.

Bill lived in Vero Beach, Fla., and Greenwich, Conn. He died eight days after celebrating his birthday. After graduating from Swarthmore, Bill obtained a commission in the Army Air Corps and became a multiengine-rated pilot. He saw action in the Pacific and European theaters of war, culminating with his appointment as the air attache to the American Embassy in The Hague, Netherlands, in May 1945. Bill is best remembered for receiving permission in 1959 to land a Piasecki H-21 helicopter in the Vatican’s San Damaso Courtyard and have it blessed by Pope John XXIII. Bill had many hobbies and interests. He and wife Helen traveled throughout Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Bill continued skiing until he was 76, ice-skating until he was 82, sailing until he was 90, and riding a bicycle until he was 96.


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