Bill Veasey

(1932 - 2022) Elkton, MD

Bill Veasey was born in 1932 in Elkton, Maryland, not far from where he resides today. As a young man Bill served in the U.S. Air Force, and attended Lebanon Valley College as an aspiring music teacher. An opportunity to try his talent at auctioneering arose, however, and he was hooked on this form of what he calls “pure, living theatre.” Bill remained in the auction business until 1970. Around that time Bill began hunting with his brother-in-law, who carved wildfowl and encouraged Bill to give it a try.

Over 40 years later, Bill Veasey is one of the preeminent carvers and carver educators in the world. Bill has published 14 books on wildfowl carving—one of which was so popular it sold out in 90 days! Additionally, Bill served as Honorary Chair of the Havre de Grace Decoy and Wildlife Art Festival, the President of the Cecil County Arts Council (Maryland), and as Chair or Board Member for Ducks Unlimited at the local zone, state, and national levels. Bill’s dedication to wildfowl art and conservation has earned him nearly 100 competition ribbons, as well as accolades such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Canvasback Award, the New Castle, Delaware Ducks Unlimited’s Carver of the Year award (2008), and Ducks Unlimited’s prestigious Golden Teal Award. He was inducted into the Easton Waterfowl Festival’s Hall of Fame in 1994, and Ducks Unlimited presented a pair of Bill Veasey green-winged teal to former president George H. W. Bush, who told Bill in a letter, that the carvings grace his Kennebunkport, Maine home.

Though incredibly successful as a carver in his own right, Bill Veasey is best known to many as a dedicated teacher of wildfowl art. In addition to his books, Bill teaches through workshops and classes at festivals and events throughout the year. For several years he has led carvers of all ages through events like the Ward Museum’s Carving Out Future Decoy Makers program. His students have gone on to win hundreds of competition ribbons. Bill has also been instrumental in the creation of some 200 books authored by his students and others he inspires. When asked in an interview what he would still like to accomplish, he responded “Thousands of students [have] enriched my life. … I would like to continue” teaching.