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William J. Schrenk Jr.

FALLS VILLAGE — William J. Schrenk Jr., a former resident of Falls Village, died Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, at his home in Washington, D.C. He was 97.

Bill, as he was known, and his wife, Kay, owned a farm on Cobble Road for over 50 years.

Bill was born in Sandusky, Ohio, on Oct. 23, 1923, the son of Amanda (Biebricher) and William Schrenk. 

He earned a BS from the Case School of Applied Engineering (now known as Case Western University ) in 1943 and joined the Navy as an ensign, Lieutenant J.G. He served in the Philippines and at the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. 

Following the war, Bill earned a J.D. from Michigan Law School, where he served as editor of the Law Review and graduated first in his class. 

He was hired for a clerkship with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Frank Murphy, but on his first day of work, Justice Murphy died. 

Bill was then recruited to work as a lawyer on the staff of the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, administering the Marshall Plan and drafting the treaty between the U.S. and its allies and the Federal Republic of Germany, then under its Chancellor Konrad Adenauer.

Returning to the States, Bill joined the law firm of Cravath, Swaine and Moore in New York City. In 1961 he was offered a partnership, and was the first in the history of Cravath to respond to the offer with, “I need to discuss it with my wife before I say yes.” She agreed, and Bill stayed with Cravath until his retirement in 1987. During that time he served as the resident partner in Paris and in London.

Bill was married in 1961 to Katherine Logan (“Kay”) of Savannah, Ga. They had two children: Will, married to Martha, with children William (“Teddy”), Pamela and Emily; and Marguerite (“Meta”), married to Michael Carr, with children Logan and Seamus.

Although Bill and Kay established their home in New York City, they bought an abandoned dairy farm on Cobble Road in 1965, where the family spent weekends, vacations and eventually lived full-time. The eden they created there was the great love of their lives; they poured heart and soul into making it a beautiful tapestry of gardens, fields, animals, forest and vibrant wetlands. They adored the community as well, and had many friends throughout the Northwest Corner. The Schrenks placed much of their Cobble Road property under conservation easement, but the farm itself, known as “Beavertides Farm,” is now run by family members Dan Carr and Marleen Van Gulick.

Condolences may be sent to Meta and Will at 1718 15th St., NW, Washington, DC 20009. Donations may be made to the Connecticut chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

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