Biltmore Co. owner William A.V. Cecil dies at 89 - FOX Carolina 21

Biltmore Co. owner William A.V. Cecil dies at 89

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William A.V. Cecil (Source: The Biltmore Company) William A.V. Cecil (Source: The Biltmore Company)
William A.V. Cecil (Source: The Biltmore Company) William A.V. Cecil (Source: The Biltmore Company)
ASHEVILLE, NC (FOX Carolina) -

The Biltmore Company confirmed Tuesday that owner William Amherst Vanderbilt Cecil passed away at age 89.

Cecil was the grandson of George Washington Vanderbilt III, who built the Biltmore mansion as a private estate in the 1890s. After graduating from Harvard and launching a finance career in New York and Washington, Cecil returned to Asheville in 1960 in hopes of preserving the historic home.

Three years later, Biltmore was confirmed as a National Historic Landmark. Cecil also received the National Trust Preservation Award in 1995 for “his unique vision and achievement in the restoration and economically viable administration of the Biltmore Estate.”

“My father’s legacy is immeasurable for our family,” said Bill Cecil, Jr., Mr. Cecil’s son and president & CEO of The Biltmore Company. “He will always be remembered for his leadership, vision and dedication to Biltmore. He had the foresight to do what everyone thought was impossible. He spent many years in devotion to the preservation of Biltmore, determined to make the estate self-supporting by developing its appeal for tourism.”

Cecil retired from the company in 1995.

He is survived by wife Mary "Mimi" Ryan Cecil, a lawyer with the Wall Street firm Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft who he married in 1957. He is also survived by son, William A.V. “Bill” Cecil, Jr., and daughter-in-law Virginia “Ginger” Cecil; his daughter, Diana “Dini” Cecil Pickering, and son-in-law George “Chuck” Pickering; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Cecil will be laid to rest after at a private funeral service and burial on Friday, Nov. 3 at All Souls Cathedral in Biltmore Village. A reception will follow from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Deerpark.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Cecil's honor may be made to the Building Preservation Fund at All Souls Cathedral on Swan Street.

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