Bowditch Ford, Inc.   
800 Kecoughtan Road, Hampton, VA
later 11076 Warwick Boulevard, Newport News, VA

1965 Anchor, p. 218      


YORKTOWN - Willits H. Bowditch, founder of Bowditch Ford Inc. and a Peninsula civic and business leader for decades, died Tuesday. He was 82.

Mr. Bowditch was a graduate of Beverly Hills High School, Beverly Hills, Calif., and General Motors Institute in Flint, Mich. He worked for the public relations office at General Motors from 1936 to 1939. He resigned his position as district sales manager of the Chevrolet division at the outbreak of World War II and joined the Navy.

He underwent training at the Naval Mine Warfare School in Yorktown in 1942 during which he met his future wife. He then served in the Pacific as an aide and flag lieutenant to Adm. George Fort and later to Adm. Jerrauld Wright. He resigned in 1946 as a lieutenant commander.

Mr. Bowditch served as president of the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce from 1958 to 1960 and as president and director of the Virginia State Chamber of Commerce from 1966 to 1968. He was chairman of the first Virginia Trade Mission to Europe in 1967 seeking foreign trade and shipping. During that time he urged the construction of a container port facility on the Peninsula to attract business.

He served on the boards of both the College of William and Mary and Mary Baldwin College. He was on the board of directors of Signet Bank, formerly Bank of Warwick, for more than 20 years. He was a former member of the Yorktown Trustees and director of the Peninsula Industrial Committee.

Mr. Bowditch was a former director of Hornsby Oil Co., past director of the National Automobile Dealers Association, past director of the Automotive Trade Association and past president and director of the James River Country Club.

Mr. Bowditch was a past president and director of the Peninsula Art Association and also was involved in the United Way, Volunteer Service Bureau and Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Mr. Bowditch is survived by his wife, Marian Hornsby Bowditch; four sons and daughter-in-laws, Willits Henry Bowditch Jr. and Merriel Bowditch of Newport News, John Watts Bowditch and Peggy Bowditch of Gloucester, David Hornsby Bowditch and Rene Bowditch of Williamsburg, and Phillip Marian Bowditch and Lee Kelly Bowditch of Newport News; two sisters, Martha Wyle Kenworthy of Amherst, Mass., and Elizabeth B. Bennett of Virginia Beach; four brothers, Robert Shaw Bowditch of Worchester, Mass., Benson A. Bowditch of Amherst, John Bowditch of Hanover, Mich., and James Bowditch of Maine; three granddaughters, Kathryn Fritz Bowditch, Elizabeth Kelly Bowditch and Ashley Tilden Bowditch; five grandsons, the late Leland Coffey Bowditch, Willits Henry Bowditch III, Sherwood Hornsby Bowditch, Philip Gray Bowditch and David Roark Bowditch.

A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Friday in Grace Episcopal Church, Yorktown by the Rev. Carleton E. Bakkum. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.

The family will receive friends at the residence in Yorktown Thursday, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Memorials donations may be made to The Watermen's Museum, P.O. Box 531, Yorktown, VA 23690

Peninsula Funeral Home is in charge.

Published in the Daily Press on 4/1419/94.

(This page was created 04/21/08.)

Animated Navy Flag courtesy of - 06/18/03

Obituary added on 04/19/08

Back to Our Old Car Dealerships

Back to Our Old Stomping Grounds

Return to NNHS Class of 1965