ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The owner of the iconic Biltmore Estate died Tuesday at his home in Asheville, according to WLOS. He was 89 years old.
“My father’s legacy is immeasurable for our family,” said Bill Cecil, Jr., owner William Amherst Vanderbilt 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.”
After graduating from Harvard, Cecil had a successful career in finance in New York and Washington, D.C. with Chase Manhattan Bank. In 1960, he returned to Asheville in hopes of preserving his childhood home. Biltmore is the private estate of the late George Washington Vanderbilt III, Cecil’s grandfather.
In 1963, his dedication to the cause was rewarded when Biltmore was designated a National Historic Landmark.
Cecil retired from the daily management of the company in 1995. He served as chairman of the Board of Directors of The Biltmore Company until his death.
Cecil is survived by his wife, Mary Ryan Cecil; his son, William A.V. Cecil, Jr., and daughter-in-law Virginia “Ginger” Cecil; his daughter, Diana Cecil Pickering, and son-in-law George “Chuck” Pickering; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.