DE LANCEY, WILLIAM J. (2 June 1916 - 2 April 1999) led the Republic Steel Corp. during the 1970s and early 1980s, helped organize the Cleveland Development Foundation and was a director or trustee of numerous organizations and agencies in Cleveland. He was born in Chicago, IL to Louise (Hart) and John Richmond De Lancey. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1938 and earned a law degree form the university's law school in 1940. After graduating he practiced law with Cravath Swain and Moore in New York City. During WORLD WAR II, Mr. De Lancey held the rank of lieutenant junior grade while serving in the Navy as an air combat intelligence officer aboard the USS Bennington off Okinawa. In 1952 he came to Cleveland as assistant counsel for Republic Steel. He advanced up the line of legal advisors to become vice president and general counsel in 1961. He became executive vice president in 1971, president in 1973 and president and chief executive officer in 1974. In 1979 he became chairman of the board and CEO. That same year, President Carter appointed him to preside over the National Alliance of Business. De Lancey retired in 1982.
While De Lancey headed Republic Steel Corp., the company's profits sagged as a result of rising Japanese steel imports, economic recession, and Environmental Protection Agency mandates. The company, however, remained the fourth largest steel producer in the United States. He served as the chairman of the American Iron and Steel Institute toward the end of his career and played a role in trying to remedy the import problem. As a prominent industrialist, De Lancey played a key role in various aspects of the Cleveland community. He helped organize the Cleveland Development Foundation, which promoted slum clearance and urban renewal programs in the city. He helped reorganize University Hospitals of Cleveland, served on the executive committee of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association and was chairman of WVIZ - Cleveland's public television station. De Lancey served as a director and trustee for numerous corporations and non-profit agencies based in the city, including: , STANDARD OIL CO. (OHIO), SHERWIN-WILLIAMS CO., Cleveland Goodwill Industries, the CLEVELAND INSTITUTE OF MUSIC, Musical Arts Association, Cleveland Council on World Affairs, and CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY.
De Lancey and his wife of 58 years, Sally (Roe), had a daughter, Ann, and a son, Mark. He died of complications from Parkinson's disease and is interred at St. Paul's Episcopal Church Columbarium in SHAKER HEIGHTS, OH.