William B. Dockser, 79, NJDC chairman

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William B. DockserPhoto  provided
William B. Dockser
Photo provided

William B. Dockser of Bethesda, who was active in Jewish Democratic circles, including serving as chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Council and the Solomon Project, died March 9. He was 79.

In a statement, NJDC called Dockser an inspiration who will be greatly missed: “There was no one who was more passionate about Jewish values and politics and no one who fought harder for tikkun olam, repairing our society and the world around us.”


Jewish Democratic activist Barbara Goldberg Goldman said Dockser was a “staunch supporter for Jewish and Democratic values” through his many years of involvement in the NJDC and Solomon Project. “His counsel and participation have been invaluable in our policy and political decision making. He will be sorely missed by the entire NJDC family. May his name and memory be for blessings.”

Born in Massachusetts, Dockser was the son of Betty and Charles Dockser. He graduated from Hebron Academy in Hebron, Maine. Dockser held a Bachelor of Laws degree from Yale University Law School, having graduated cum laude from Harvard College.

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He had been chairman of the board and founder of CRI since 1974, and was founder and chairman of CRIIMI Mae from 1989 to early 2003. He served as chairman of the board of two listed NYSE mortgage companies, and four American Stock Exchange-listed government-insured multi-family mortgage companies.

He was long active in industry, charitable and political activities, and was chairman of the Dockser Family Foundation. Along with his wife, Sonnie, they created the Dockser Research Fellowship at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. At Harvard, he founded the Dockser Scholars Fellowships for International Studies. He had been designated a John Harvard Fellow. He served as co-chair of his 50th Harvard Reunion.


Dockser was a trustee of Suburban Hospital. He served on the Facilities and Real Estate Development Committee for Johns Hopkins Medicine.

In 2007, he was appointed by Gov. Martin O’Malley as a commissioner of the Maryland Port Commission, the agency overseeing the Port of Baltimore. He was an ardent sailor, and this was an honor and a highlight in his life.

Dockser was married to Sonnie for 35 years. He had three children from his first marriage, Brad Dockser (Debbie), Evan Dockser (Kitty) and Karen Walter (Vinnie). He was stepfather to four children in his marriage to Sonnie, Lauren Cafritz (Elliot), Jill Krueger (Elan), Richard Chelec (Susan) and Diane Stern (Andrew). Dockser had 17 grandchildren.

Contributions may be made to The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 6 Herndon Ave., Annapolis, MD 21403.

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