William Waitman Gullett, born on October 11, 1922 and died September 24, 2015, William served as the first county executive of Prince George’s County, Maryland from 1971 to 1974.
He had previously served three terms as the Mayor of College Park from 1963 to 1969, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of Maryland, 1967–1968 and a Presidential Elector for Maryland in 1972.
William was born in Springfield, Illinois to parents, Noah and Clara Virgin (Willett) William . He served in the US Army Air Corps in World War II as a B-17 pilot based in England.
William married Helen Jaunita Hammons in Springfield on March 20, 1943.
He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 1948 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, after which he settled in Prince George’s County with an interest in metallurgy; William held 21 US patents in the area.
The couple’s first son, William, Jr., was born in St. Louis, Missouri, followed by Christopher and twin daughters, Michele and Nicole, in Washington, D.C.
Gullet managed metallurgical projects at Diamond Shamrock and was president of Chicago Development Corp., a metallurgical research firm in Riverdale, Maryland.
An interest in zoning issues that affected his home in College Park, Maryland influenced William’s entry into community affairs.
He was elected to the city council in 1961, and became mayor two years later, serving for three terms until 1969.
William was elected as County Executive in a 1971 special election to choose the county’s first executive under a new home rule charter, defeating one Republican and five Democratic candidates.
Although initially supported by a broad coalition of Republicans and a pro-charter, anti-development group led by local activist Julian C. Holmes, he lost support because of perceived poor performance and constant conflict with the Democratic-controlled County Council.
He lost his bid for reelection in 1974 when the Prince George’s County Democratic Party swept Republicans from power, defeating every Republican running for state or local office.
On leaving office, William was asked to serve in a USAID mission and did so, working as the Assistant Director for Management in Haiti from 1982 to 1985.
Gullett’s son, William, was shot and killed on February 16, 1969, while on duty as a young Prince George’s County police officer.
After his political service ended, William worked for federal agencies and for the Dynalectron engineering firm.
He served as director of licenses and permits in the administration of the second Republican Prince George’s County Executive, Lawrence Hogan, in 1979.
William’s first marriage ended in divorce in 1987, after which he married Doris Wilson, who had been his administrative assistant while he was county executive.
After his second wife died in 1991, William married Barbara Yurica, who died in April 2015 after 20 years of marriage.
William had homes in Vero Beach, Florida and Hope, New York.
William W. Gullett died at the age of 92 on September 24, 2015, at a hospital in Gloversville, New York upon cardiorespiratory arrest.