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William A. Liffers, 91, of Davidson, North Carolina (formerly of Franklin Lakes and Wyckoff, New Jersey) passed away at his home surrounded by family on October 12, 2020.
Born in Union City, New Jersey on January 12,1929, Bill graduated from Union Hill High School. In 1954, following his Army discharge from service in the Korean Conflict, Bill earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Management and Finance from Seton Hall University.
In 1953, he married Mary Rafferty. That same year, he joined American Cyanamid Company - then headquartered at Rockefeller Center in New York City. After progressing through several sales and administrative assignments, Bill was assigned to Brazil to undertake a management survey relating to a recent acquisition which required visiting every province in the country.
Several years later he was temporarily based in Cairo and Beirut to develop new opportunities for Cyanamid’s growing pharmaceutical business on the African continent following its decolonization. During this time Bill was caught up in the Belgian Congo revolution and subsequently evacuated to Brazzaville. Following his Mid-East-Africa assignment, Bill relocated to Paris, France to undertake a survey of the French pharmaceutical market.
Subsequently, in 1961, Bill and his family were transferred to Hong Kong where he set up a regional headquarters for Cyanamid’s pharmaceutical business with operating responsibility for all of Asia, the Pacific and India and Pakistan. During this time Bill was temporarily assigned to Australia for six months as Managing Director of Cyanamid’s operations in that country and New Zealand. In 1966, the Liffers family set sail for Europe where Bill was to take up a new assignment in Zurich, Switzerland to head up Cyanamid’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. During this period Bill returned to the States to attend and graduate from Columbia University’s Executive Program for International Managers.
In 1968, the Liffers family returned to the U.S.A. and Cyanamid’s new headquarters in Wayne, New Jersey.
Following several senior executive assignments Mr. Liffers was promoted to President of Cyanamid International and elected a member of the board of directors of American Cyanamid Company. After several years in that capacity he was elected Vice Chairman of the Company and Chairman of Cyanamid International, positions he held until his retirement.
After a 40-year odyssey, visiting 161 countries, flying over 3,000,000 miles, and undertaking several overseas assignments, Bill retired in 1993.
Following retirement Bill joined the United Nations Development Program as a Senior Advisor assisting the People’s Republic of China in its efforts to reform its state-owned enterprises. He also served on several boards of directors including the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, the Washington D.C based Tax Foundation, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and St. Joseph’s Hospital. He was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Policy Association.
Bill was also a member of Arcola Country Club, High Mountain Golf Club, Shek-O Country Club (Hong Kong), the Hong Kong Club, the American Club and the Columbia University Club in New York City.
He was active as a Freemason for over 60 years having served as Past Master of Mystic Tie Lodge, in Union City and awarded his 32nd degree from The Valley of Northern New Jersey. He was a member of Shriners International.
Bill was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 64 years, Mary Rafferty Liffers. He is survived by his three children, Steven Liffers (Adele), Wendy Liffers (the late Barbara Welsh) and Linda Liffers Sabedra (Rick). He was blessed with six wonderful grandchildren: Maxwell, Caitlin, Amanda and Brendan Liffers, and Ryan and Tyler Sabedra. He was son of the late William Alfred Liffers and Gertrude Wildeman Liffers.
The family will hold a private funeral service on Monday, October 19, 2020 at 12:00 noon at Raymer-Kepner Funeral Home in Huntersville, NC.
Online condolences and memories may be shared at www.kepnerfh.com.
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