William M. Dest

August 20, 1929April 9, 2021

William M. Dest – husband to the late Anne Katherine, father of 9 children, soil scientist and agronomist – passed away in peace early morning on April 9 at 91 years of age. The last days of his life were spent visiting with his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and friends. Bill Dest was born in West Haven, Connecticut on August 20, 1929, one of two sons of William and Thelma Dest. It was in New Haven that he met the love of his life and future wife, Anne. The two were married in 1952. After his service in the Korean War, Bill and Anne settled down to have children – and they had one after another, eventually ending with 9. One daughter, Laura, died in infancy in 1960. They raised all their children at their home in Wethersfield, Connecticut. Bill and Anne loved the outdoors – hiking, biking, swimming, and bringing their children on camping trips to Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Despite growing up in an urban environment, Bill loved the land, specifically soils and grasses. And that is where he took his life professionally. He became the Superintendent of Golf Courses, working for many years at Wethersfield Country Club. But he continued to study and take classes while he worked and raised his children. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in plant science in the early 1970s from the University of Connecticut, and was then offered and accepted a Research Associate position there. He continued with his studies, eventually receiving a Master’s from UCONN and then a Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1980 at the age of 50. Dr. Dest served as a professor in UCONN’s College of Agriculture/Department of Plant Science for many years until his retirement in 1997. However, he never really did retire, as he continued his research right through 2020 at UCONN and the University of Massachusetts. He also started his own consulting business, working part-time conducting studies for golf courses and athletic fields. He was also able to spend more time with Anne, his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Bill always said that all his achievements in his adult life are attributable to one person: Anne, his incredible wife of 65 years and amazing mother of their children. Bill Dest is predeceased by his wife Anne Katherine and daughter Laura. He is survived by his children and their spouses: William D. Dest of Durham; Robert Dest and Rebecca Fishman of Tariffville; Paul Dest and Deborah Danforth of Kennebunk, Maine; Susan and Mark Albin of Hebron; Thomas Dest of Wethersfield; Janet Alicia Dest of Vermont; Raymond Dest of Whitefield, New Hampshire; and Lydia Alexandra Dest of Massachusetts; 11 grandchildren; 8 great grandchildren; a brother Donald and his wife Elizabeth; 4 nieces and nephews; and sister-in-law Kathryn. The family will hold calling hours for this wonderful man on Wednesday, April 14 from 4 to 6 p.m. at D’Esopo Funeral Chapel, 277 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield. The celebration of life ceremony will be held on Thursday, April 15 at 11 a.m. at the Village Cemetery in Old Wethersfield. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Masonicare Partners, 111 Founders Plaza, East Hartford, CT 06108, or you may practice random acts of kindness in his honor.


  • Calling Hours

    Wednesday, April 14, 2021

  • Celebration of Life

    Thursday, April 15, 2021


William M. Dest

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Vincent McDermott

April 11, 2021

So sorry to learn if Bill's passing. While we both graduated in 1969 from UCONN Plant Science, he being 20 years my senior, I really didn't get to know him until just before his retirement from teaching. Ever the practical scholar, I learned so much about agronomy and turf science from Bill from working with him on the dozens athletic fields that our firm designed. The landscape architecture profession in Connecticut will miss him. I will miss his good counsel and friendship.