Gen William W. Bessell, former dean of the U.S. Military Academy, died Jan. 15 in the West Point Hospital. He was 75.
Gen. Bessell, a 1920 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers and received a civil engineering degree from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. He graduated first in his class.
During World War II, he was Army director of the Joint War plans Committee of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In 1946, he returned to Puerto Rico, where he was born, to assume command of the Antilles Department. He was appointed dean of the U.S Military Academy in 1959 after serving as head of the department of Mathematics for 12 years.
While head of the mathematics department, Gen. Bessell introduced many new techniques in instructing mathematics that are still being used at the academy today. He is credited with developing techniques for teaching gifted students and introducing courses in probability and statistics for all cadets at the academy.
Gen. Bessell was a member of the honorary engineering society, Sigma Xi, the Society of American Military Engineers, the Mathematical Association of America, the American Statistical Association and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
After his retirement from the Army in 1965, Gen. Bessell and his second wife moved to Cornwall, N.Y. His first wife died in 1956.
In addition to his wife, Lillian, Gen. Bessell is survived by a daughter, Constance Bessell Davidson of Amarillo, Tex., and two stepdaughters, Mrs. Stanford Touchston, of Fayetteville, N.C. and Ann Touchston Combs of Annandale.