Thomas H. Buffinton, age 99, of Plymouth, MA, formerly of Marion, died peacefully on Saturday, May 16, 2020. He was the husband of the late Sally (Waring) Buffinton for 69 years. Born November 8, 1920 in Williamstown, MA to the late Professor Arthur H. Buffinton and Mary (Edwards) Buffinton. As a young student at Williamstown High School he was a class officer, Student Council member and Captain of the football team. He graduated from Williams College in the Class of 1944 and earned his Master’s degree from Trinity College in 1955. He served in the Pacific in the Navy, as a Lt (jg) Combat Information Officer. His destroyer, the USS Sutherland, was the first US war ship to enter Tokyo Bay at the conclusion of World War II. Proud to be an educator, his first assignment was at Suffield Academy in CT. In 1952 he moved to Marion and taught at Tabor Academy where he spent the remainder of his career as a History Teacher, Coach, Athletic Director, Dean of the Tabor Summer Camp and Chairman of the History Department. He received the Trustee’s Award for Distinguished Service and was inducted into the first class of the Tabor Athletic Hall of Fame. He also received a Fellow at the John Hay Summer Institute at Williams College; served as the Assistant Director of the John Hay Summer Institute at the University of Oregon; served as President of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC); was awarded the Rudolf Weyerhaeuser Driscoll Chair for History at Tabor and received the NEPSAC Distinguished Service Award. What was most important to him throughout his career, was his time teaching. He taught English, Math, European, Medieval & Ancient History and finally, his true passion, American History. He didn’t teach dates and places, he taught what, when, how and why. In the context of an historical event, he taught what happened, how it occurred and why it impacted life and history. Additionally, he taught his students how to write and to think critically. During retirement, his days continued to be full and he was happiest when spending time with his beloved family, sailing on Buzzards Bay, consuming history books, gardening and cheering for his favorite sports teams. He is survived by his son Thomas H. Buffinton, III and his wife Wendy of Plymouth, MA and his daughter Holly Buffinton Bove and her husband Vic of Essex, MA. Additionally, he leaves 5 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren and 3 great-great grandchildren, along with several nieces and nephews. Due to current restrictions, a private service will be held and a celebration to honor his memory will be planned at a later date. To acknowledge the incredible care he received, the family has asked that contributions be made in his memory to Cranberry Hospice, 36 Cordage Park Circle, Suite 326, Plymouth, MA 02360.
Becky Sparks passed away on May 19, 2020 in Falmouth, Maine. She was born in Kyoto, Japan, December 29, 1921 to parents Eva and Homer Grafton, who were teachers with the YMCA. Her formative years were spent at her parents’ boys’ camp in Ontario in the summers, and a series of schools in the Midwest in the winters. She graduated from Bennington College where she majored in music, then attended Julliard School of Music after the war ended, where she met her first husband, Ken Ward. They moved to Chardon, Ohio where daughter Carol and son Craig were born.
In 1954 they moved to Colorado, settling in Aspen in 1955, where she taught piano. In 1968 after a divorce Becky moved to New England, taught physical education and music at Northfield Mount Hermon schools, and then got an M.A. in early childhood education. She married John Sparks in 1972 and they spent 10 happy years together on a gentleman’s farm in Virginia and then moved to Stuart, Florida.
After Jack’s death in 1987, Becky moved to Snowmass Village to be near her son, Craig, and rekindled friendships with many Aspenites. She attended Aspen Music Festival concerts, Anderson Ranch art and photography classes, worked for Snow Cubs, volunteered for cross country ski races, was a member of PEO (an educational organization), played tennis at the Snowmass Club, downhill and cross country skied. Her artwork flourished during these years. She moved to Whitcomb Terrace in 2008 and made many friends with residents and staff. Often she would take seniors to the Maroon Bells to paint the landscapes. She snowshoed around Whitcomb Terrace into her mid-90’s.
Becky leaves behind her children, Craig Ward and Carol Ward, stepdaughters Tania Clark and Lana Leonard, their spouses, seven grandsons, and 9 great-grandchildren. Her life will be celebrated at a family gathering in Aspen/Snowmass later this summer.
Robert M. Westover of Cutchogue, New York, formerly of Shelter Island, died Sept. 23, 2019. He was 73. Robert is survived by his life partner of 39 years, Tom Speeches; and his brother, Richard ’70, and his wife, Tamara, of Skaneateles, N.Y.
The family has chosen to remember Robert’s life privately at this time.
Rolf Hedin Bortner, 72, died Sunday evening, June 14, 2020, at his son’s home in Waymart, Pennsylvania. He was the husband of the late Catherine Ward Bortner who passed away January 25, 2012.
Born in Huntington, Long Island, he was the son of the late Robert and Siv Hedin Bortner. He was a graduate of Williston Academy where he excelled in sports, especially soccer and lacrosse. He also attended Wesleyan University. He was a proud Navy Veteran who served in the Vietnam Conflict. He was employed as a grip for the labor union Local #52 IATSE for over forty years.
Rolf enjoyed riding motorcycles and was an avid target shooter and gun collector.
Surviving are a son, Robert Bortner and his partner Brianna McAllister, and her daughter Hazel Blocker, of Waymart; a grandson, Rolf Bortner, of Waymart; a niece, Brook Bortner, of Ca.; and several other nieces and nephews on his wife’s side.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Bret Bortner ’64.
A private funeral service will be held at the convenience of the family.
Kenneth (Ken) Packard, 55, formerly of Westhampton, MA, went to be with the Lord on May 23, 2020, after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. Ken is admired for his determination and strength, compassion and grace, and was a loving, caring father and friend who is dearly missed.
Born in Holden, Massachusetts on February 28, 1965, he was the son of Charles and Gail (Vickery) Packard. Ken was the husband of Amanda (Morgan) Packard sharing 30 years of marriage, and is survived by a daughter, Sophie. He leaves a sister, Jennifer ’89 of Beverly, a brother, Jonathan ’93 and his wife Jennifer (Pelli ’93) Packard MD of Bedford, NH, a brother-in-law, Simon Morgan and his wife Lisa (Bouthillette) of San Antonio, TX, and a sister-in-law Belinda (Morgan) Hayden and her husband Brian of Wells, ME. He leaves four nephews: Tobias and Samuel Packard, Brian and Bailey Hayden and three nieces: Hayley and Tara Morgan, and Sara Hayden, a mother-in-law Wendy Morgan, and many cherished family members, friends, and colleagues.
Ken graduated from the Williston Northampton School, Holyoke Community College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering/aerospace. He worked as a project manager in the Physical Plant at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, in Lexington, KY, Smith and Amherst Colleges; as an Associate Director in Facilities Maintenance and Operations at Dartmouth College; and most recently as the Director of Utilities at MIT in Cambridge. He was a registered Professional Engineer in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and served on many academic and professional committees.
Ken was a Deacon of Facilities at his church and enjoyed sharing the gospel with his friends and family. He loved spending summers with his entire family and friends on Branch Lake in Ellsworth, Maine, where he vacationed as a young boy. Ken swam competitively since he was seven years old through college and enjoyed boating, waterskiing, kayaking, bike riding and downhill skiing.
A Memorial Service celebrating Ken’s life will be held on Saturday, June 27th at 11:00am at Redeemer Fellowship Church, 111 Mount Auburn Street in Watertown, MA. Assisting the family is Campbell Funeral Home in Beverly, MA.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ken’s memory to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, www.lustgarten.org, or to Redeemer Fellowship Church (Benevolence), www.redeemerfellowshipchurch.org.
Justin “Bill” Howland, 86, of Emmett, ID, formerly of Redding, CA, passed away on June 4, 2020.
Bill was born on July 1, 1933, in Northampton, Massachusetts, as the third son for Willard and Dorothy. After elementary school he attended and subsequently graduated from Williston Academy in 1951. He went on to Yale University where he majored in German and graduated in 1955. While attending New York Medical College he married Cynthia (Cindy) Hayward on June 16, 1956 in Andover, Massachusetts. He graduated from New York Medical College on June 9, 1959. He then interned at Kaiser Foundation Hospital in San Francisco. After completing one year of internship and one year of residency at Kaiser he enlisted in the Army. During his 7 ½ years with the Army he was stationed near Paris, France for 3 of the years. After his release from the Army in January of 1969 he established a private medical practice in Redding, CA, specializing in Orthopedics. He retired from his medical practice in 1997. He was involved in Redding Rotary for 45 years as well as numerous years volunteering with the Mt Shasta Ski Patrol.
Bill is preceded in death by his parents and two of his three brothers, Allan and John.
Bill is survived by his wife of 64 years, Cindy; his brother, Richard ’47 (Miriam); his sons, Keith (Brenda), David (Lori), Scott (Cindy), Craig, and his daughter, Tracy (Chris): along with 13 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Memory of Bill Howland to Redding Rotary.