Wilder K. Abbott


1937 – 2016

SCARBOROUGH — Wilder Kimball Abbott, “Kim,” died Wednesday, Sept. 14, at the age of 78.

Son of Warren and Lucille Abbott, he grew up on the 200-­year-old family dairy farm in Rumford. Kim balanced hard work on the farm and in 4-­H with high academic achievement. He graduated from Stephens Memorial High School and Amherst College.

After a summer with the Experiment in International Living in Bordeaux, France, he returned to marry Alice van Woert Marsh on Sept. 12, 1959, in Westport, Conn.

Intrigued by Africa, Kim went on to earn the first master’s degree in African affairs at Columbia University. He was awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship to Sierra Leone in 1961.

Kim then joined First National City Bank of New York, because it offered the opportunity to return to Africa. After initial training in Beirut and Puerto Rico, Kim and his family moved to Monrovia, Liberia, in 1964. Kim opened the bank’s office in Kinshasa, Congo/Zaire in 1970. During his 30 years as an international banker, Kim also served in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in New York doing risk asset review for the bank’s international operations, and for 12 years in London as a member of the bank’s Credit Policy Committee.


He was a dedicated pioneer bike commuter in both New York and London. He capped his career by spending three years with the Bank of Bermuda, and was invited to join the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Kim was known for his judgment of character and found it especially meaningful to encourage men and women with creative new ideas.

He enjoyed the lasting friendship of many of those he mentored throughout his career, deeply appreciated their recent visits. His work took him to well over 80 countries, and he added adventures from Timbuktu to Antarctica. He and Alice maintained bonds with a wide circle of friends, but always treasured time at home in Maine and Colorado.

He leaves his wife, Alice; daughter, Lucy; son, George and his wife, Penny. He cherished his granddaughters, Lydia and Victoria, who brought such joy to his life.

His family appreciates the creative and diligent care from his companions.