Nelsen Williamsburg


William Kurt Holstein

November 19, 1936October 22, 2019

Professor William K. Holstein PhD, 82, passed away peacefully at home in Williamsburg, VA surrounded by his loving family on October 22, 2019. His life was dedicated to his family and friends, his students and the welfare of others in his community. To these and other passions, he gladly gave his time and resources.

He was a distinguished professor and the D. Hollins Ryan Chair of Business Administration at the Mason School of Business, College of William & Mary. He retired in 2007 but continued to teach at the school part-time for another five years.

Bill was born on November 19, 1936 and raised by his loving parents, Kurt and Doris Holstein in Middletown, New York.

Upon graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1958 with a degree in Chemical Engineering, he joined the Shell Oil Company as a drilling engineer. While at Shell he earned a Masters Degree in Industrial Management and later a PhD. in Economics from Purdue University. During this time, he also wrote the first of many books on production management & control.

In 1964, he joined the faculty at the Harvard Business School. While at Harvard, he focused on MBA courses in Production Management. His article Production Planning and Control Integrated was published in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) and was among the top-selling HBR reprints for the next decade. That article, and one in Business Week, led to a number of consulting assignments with several U.S. manufacturing companies and at Aramco in Saudi Arabia.

In 1972, he accepted the deanship of the School of Business at the University at Albany, New York. He was the dean, a distinguished service professor for eight years and the founder and executive director of the Institute for the Study of Information Science and the founding director of the Ph.D. program in Information Science.

During his 27 years at the University at Albany, he spent four years abroad as a visiting professor in the MBA and executive development programs at IMEDE, a business school in Lausanne, Switzerland. He also spent two-years as the founding director of the Center for Private Enterprise Development in Budapest, Hungary.

Bill led executive development programs in Singapore, Taiwan, China, England, and Central America. He taught an executive MBA program at the Universidad del Salvador in Buenos Aires, Argentina every summer for the past twenty years. He was a trustee of Upsala College and a member of the AACSB accreditation committee and served on the committee for Computer-Aided Manufacturing for the National Academy of Sciences.

He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and uncle. As a beloved teacher and mentor to students around the globe and a dedicated member of many community service organizations and philanthropic causes, Bill was admired and respected by everyone who knew him. He was also an accomplished pianist and organist and his love of classical music was a true passion, providing joy at many family gatherings and celebrations.

Bill was actively involved in community service his entire life. His service included the board of directors of the Albany Symphony Orchestra, the Seagle Music Colony and the Parsons Child and Family Center, where he also served as president. Additionally, he was Chairman of the Governor's Land Foundation's Heritage Committee and Co-President of the Friends of Greenspring, the 17th century site which is part of the Colonial National Historical Park.

He is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Audrey, their three children Kurt E. Holstein (Jennie), William K. Holstein Jr. (Michelle) and Catherine H. Lintner (Thomas) and six beautiful granddaughters Lauren and Kelsey Holstein, Sarah and Jacqueline Holstein, and Audrey and Melanie Lintner. He will also be missed by many nieces, nephews and other family members.

Memorial services will be held Monday, October 28th at 11:30am at Nelsen Funeral Home, 3785 Strawberry Plains Road, Williamsburg, Virginia 23188, with a reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: The Parsons Child & Family Center by mail at 60 Academy Road, Albany, NY 12208 or online at:


  • Service

    Monday, October 28, 2019


William Kurt Holstein

have a memory or condolence to add?

Ray Allen

July 7, 2020

Dear Audrey
It is with much sadness that I send my belated sincere condolences upon hearing of the passing of William. I offer my thoughts with equal measure of Remembrance, Gratitude and Love. I first met William in 1982 in ARAMCO where he assessed the design of a management information program I was managing. From that moment he had a profound impact upon the way I viewed life and to this day the way I still conduct my personal, business and community life. Every day is a new day. To that end I will be eternally grateful. It is with fondest memories and life everlasting that I again extend my deepest sympathies to you, your girls and your family.
Sincerely yours

Frederique Nicoli

December 18, 2019

To Bill's family,
I'm French and went to SUNY to study my MBA. Bill was the first teacher to take me as assistant teacher (for his logistics class) to enable me to pay part of my second year's tuition, back in 1998-1999. I keep a lasting memory of Bill being extremely smart and generous, and wanted you to know that even in France, he will be remembered. He was truly taking care of his students and I really appreciate this.
I considered him as a father figure and I'm really sadden by his passing away. Lots of love to his family.
Best regards,
Mrs Frédérique NICOLI

Néstor Sanguineti

November 22, 2019

He was the best part of my student's life. Dear Bill God Bless you.

Stephan Fertig

November 20, 2019

My deepest sympathies to the family, relatives and beloved of Bill Holstein. As a former student I feel honored and blessed to have met him. His lectures not only provided immense knowledge but his teaching always created a sense of personal relationship that shifted knowledge transfer beyond the classroom - my sincere condolences.

Dr. Hans N. Mertens

November 15, 2019

Dr. Hans N. Mertens, Architekt BDA

Dear Audrey, dear Holstein family,

with a deep impact I got the information about Prof. Bill Holsteins passing away from Dr. Albert Stähli.

Last time we met in former GSBA in Horgen 2017. Bill was my thesis-advisor within the late 90´ies. Also in the last 15 years we had helpful discussions about other interesting projects of my office, also about site planning of manufacturing industries and the development of a Lunar Base! All the years he was an ever open minded person with a nice sense of humor.

We will miss him very much.

Kind regards

Hans N. Mertens

Claudio Vallebona

November 10, 2019

Roland Blaettler

November 1, 2019

Dear Audrey, dear family

We all, who went through the Zurich campus, keep great memories of "Professor Bill". All our thesis would not be as perfect without him. My thoughts are with him and the entire family.


Paula Rubinstein

October 30, 2019

Thinking of you all during this difficult time. Uncle Bill was an amazing person loved by all who knew him. May you find comfort in knowing that his memory will live in the hearts of the ones he loved the ones who loved him.

Paula Rubinstein

Jorn Braun

October 30, 2019

It is with deep regret that I send all of you my condolences on the sad loss. I extend my deepest sympathy to you and the entire family.

Bill was a wonderful character and helped me, like he did for so many others, navigating towards a successful MBA graduation.
Among my many positive memories our lovely pre-christmas afternoon on Campus in Zurich with Glühwein and family stories dating back to the early years in German family history stick put most.

I will keep Bill in my memory.

Gerold Prof. Frick

October 29, 2019

It is with deep regret that I send all of you my condolences on the loss of Bill. I extend my deepest sympathy to you and your family.

Bill was a wonderful character and colleague for me during our common time at the GSBA Zurich. I do have many positive memories and I will keep him in my memory.


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