William Henry Proctor, a retired business professor at Morgan State and attorney, always made a profound impression.
It began with a stylish appearance that included French cuffs and embroidered initials, and continued with a confident manner that never wavered. To family, friends and colleagues, he brought balance and a way of making everyone laugh. In the classroom, he was stern and made students accountable, but also entertaining with a sarcastic side.
Dr. Proctor, a lifelong Baltimore resident who settled in Ashburton, died Tuesday of kidney failure at Seasons Hospice Inpatient Center in Randallstown. He was 75.
“It’s crazy when you get to the age that you realize your parents were right. He taught me so many little things. For me, it was the life lessons of working hard with no excuses. He was the kind of person that if you do it wrong, you start over,” said Brandi Proctor, his only child.
The only child of Nathaniel Kipling Proctor, once the head of the biology department at Morgan State, and Margaret Jones Proctor, an educator and administrative assistant, Dr. Proctor was born on Jan. 15, 1945 — sharing the same birthday as Dr. Martin Luther King — and raised on the 2400 block of Calverton Heights Ave. in Rosemont.
During his days at City College, he starred in track and was tagged “the quarter-mile man” before graduating in 1962. He continued to run at Penn State, competing in the illustrious Penn Relays during his sophomore year, before earning a bachelor’s degree in insurance and real estate in 1967. He received his Juris Doctor degree at North Carolina Central University School of Law in 1970 and then earned his MBA degree at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1973.
During the second half of 1970, Dr. Proctor also served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery and later spent 20 years in the Army Reserve.
For Dr. Proctor, Morgan State was like a second home with both his parents and other family members getting degrees there, including his daughter. Hired there as an assistant professor in 1973, he made his mark in its business department with a career that covered 41 years.
Prior to his retirement in 2014, he also taught undergraduate courses in marketing and law, became an associate professor and spent time as the director of the Morgan State School of Business MBA program.
“He touched the lives of so many students. Morgan was family to him and he was dedicated to its success,” said Dr. Fikru H. Boghossian, dean of the Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management.
Dr. Boghossian, who came to Morgan State in 1991, added Dr. Proctor brought a lighter side that was infectious in the department.
“Every time you saw him, he was so joyful and full of energy. He would always find some way to make you laugh and he enjoyed the relationships he had with me and his other colleagues.”
In addition to his work at Morgan, Dr. Proctor was a partner in a law firm in York, Pa. from 1974 through 1981 and later practiced law, mostly as a criminal attorney, in Baltimore until 1997.
In 1978, Dr. Proctor married Shelia Martin, and while the couple only stayed together until 1982, the union gave him his most prized treasure when Brandi was born in 1981. An on-air talent and member of the management team at WBFF Fox 45 News, she credits the work ethic he instilled for much of her professional success.
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Dr. Proctor was a fraternity member of Kappa Alpha Psi and remained active in the Baltimore chapter throughout his adult life. Dr. Duane Jackson, also a former professor at Morgan State and fraternity brother, cherished all the layers his brother brought to their friendship.
“There was a serious side to Bill and then a playful side to him,” he said. “If you head down the legal side, then he was dead serious when he was talking about the law and one of his cases or one of his clients. But then when you want to have a little fun and shoot the breeze – that’s the fun, sarcastic side of him.”
Dr. Proctor enjoyed vacations to the Caribbean Islands, many of the trips spent with his longtime friend Marsha Logan. The Spinners were his favorite band and he enjoyed watching the Orioles. One special day at Camden Yards took place last summer when he took in a game with his only grandson, Brycen
His son-in-law, Joel, is a survivor in addition to his daughter and grandson.