W(arren). William “Bill” Ament ’60: A Human-Sized Adventure and the Cold Dorm

Although my pledge class was nearly 60 years ago, I remember very well that being a member of Delta Chi in the late 1950s was an enjoyable experience. It made attending the seemingly vast and impenetrable U of M into a human-sized adventure. I remember, perhaps more fondly now than when they were actually ongoing, the debates over issues ranging from meals and house maintenance to whether accepting a skin bet (those were not proud years for the football team) was worth doing. I lived in the house for a year, didn’t really have a roommate but shared a study room, unless we count all the inhabitants of the cold dorm. I think that the building of the new house is wonderful, but sorry there is no cold dorm.

I grew up on the east side of Detroit and attended Cass Tech High School. I moved to Washington D.C., in 1963 and then to Arlington, Va. after I was married in 1966. In 1971, we moved to Reston, Va., where the children grew up.  Reston was much further from Washington than we originally wanted to be, but the lure of a new and fully planned community was strong. Now, Reston is a mature place of over 60,000 residents. Much, but not all, of Reston’s original developer’s (Robert E. Simon’s) vision of a place a person could live, play, and work has been realized. Beginning two years ago, I moved to Bon Air Va. to be with my partner, Alexina.

My undergraduate degree was in economics, in the old building, long before it burned down in 1981.In 1970, I received a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School. I am a member of the Virginia and District of Columbia Bars.

In 1963, I began work for the Employment Standards Administration in the U.S. Department of Labor with various titles. Early in 1971, I worked with a large committee setting up the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This was one of the most interesting, although often frustrating, assignments I had while working for the government. In 1977, I left the government and went with a consulting firm that eventually became ORC Worldwide. I was an attorney and senior consultant with them full time until 2004 when I slowly reduced my involvement. I almost fully retired in 2010. Our part of the firm’s practice addressed OSHA issues for the safety and health managers of large companies keeping them aware of the legislative, regulatory and legal issues concerning OSHA. This was a working environment with wonderful clients and wonderful colleagues. I was fortunate.

One of the happiest results being a Delta Chi was meeting my wife, Hale, the sister of Brother Rich Almy ’60. I didn’t meet Hale through Rich but met her when she was on a date with Brother Bill Simmonds ’61. We were married over 44 years when she died far too soon in 2011. We have two daughters: Carolyn, who is a designer and architect in Manhattan, and Margaret, who is a lawyer in Washington DC.  Both graduated from the University of Virginia.

I have played a lot of golf, still play golf, but not as much. Living in Richmond has raised my interest in history, particularly the Civil War. I enjoy travel and local politics. My partner, Alexina, also enjoys travel and local politics and her 15-month-old granddaughter, Eve.  

Among my interests in Reston was the volunteer-managed nonprofit Reston Commuter Bus system. I was significantly involved in its operation for about five years. Also, I have worked with Rotary both in Reston and Richmond. In Reston, I was the president and later the treasurer. While president, I worked with other Rotarians and visited very poor sections of Jamaica concerning water and sewage projects in schools and the YMCA in Spanishtown. I am still finding my way in Richmond, but history of the Civil War is everywhere.  

I have lived a very healthy life. The only illness I have had that is worth mentioning is a knee replacement earlier this year. When you get to my age, you become something like an old Dodge, where the parts are replaced one by one.

I do stay in touch with several brothers, among them are, of course, Rich Almy, Barry Wood ’61 and now, Keith Hellems ’62 through his work on raising funds for the new house. My only advice to younger Delta Chi members is to stay in touch with as many members as you can. That I haven’t tried harder is a fault of mine. You will not regret making the effort.

Those wishing to contact Brother Ament may do so via his email at [email protected] or by telephone at 804-439-9007.