Tag Archives: Williston Academy

Thomas H. Buffinton ’40

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.

Rolf H. Bortner ’66

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.

Justin Howland ’51

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.

Alexander Dawson Henderson III ’44

Alexander Dawson Henderson III, age 96, passed away peacefully in his home in Carmel Valley on May 12, 2020.
He was born in New York City on March 26, 1924. After graduating from Williston Academy in Easthampton, Massachusetts, he joined the U.S. Army in 1943. After the war, using the G.I. Bill, he went to college and graduated from San Jose State University in 1950. Soon after college, he moved to Pompano Beach, Florida, and created the Gold Coast Finance Company to provide credit to middle-income consumers. He purchased farmland in Fresno, Madera, and Bakersfield, CA. He grew almonds, apples, and kiwifruit. He was the owner of racehorses, including “Kiwi Mint” that in 1992, won the Rockingham Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Rockingham Park. In 1997, he and his wife Madonna moved to Carmel Valley, CA.
Mr. Henderson was an active member of his community, participating in bridge, tennis, and golf. In 2008, he earned enough Masterpoints to win the title of “Life Master” from the American Contract Bridge League.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Madonna (Donna) Marie Schaffner, and his five children, Dawson (Sharon), Greg (Louise), David (Lindsey), Scott (Sandra), and daughter, Holly (Bijan) from a previous marriage to Patricia Ford Crass; and his brother A. Douglas Henderson. He is also survived by ten grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, all living in the California bay area.
He will be greatly missed by his family and friends. A family memorial will be held at a future date. Special thanks to Visionary Health Care Services and VNA Hospice that took such good care of him. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the VNA Hospice (www.ccvna.com) or the SPCA for Monterey (www.spcamc.org).

Robert W. Graham ’56

Jackson, Wyoming resident Robert “Bob” Graham died peacefully March 19, 2020 at his home with his wife, Karen, and their dog, Luna, by his side. He was 84.

Bob’s love for Jackson was limitless, and his legacy of service and generosity will forever be imprinted on this community. Bob started his career in Jackson in 1970 working at the Crystal Springs Hotel and later transitioned into real estate by starting a property management company in 1972 called Underground, Inc., which later became Real Estate of Jackson Hole. After the sale of Real Estate of Jackson Hole, Bob went on to be one of the founders of Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates in 2009. He represented some of the most iconic and record-breaking transactions in the region and was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Teton Board of Realtors in 2005. He was an accomplished businessman, effective community leader, philanthropist and friend.

He is survived by his wife, Karen; children Monica, Tait, Duncan and Andrew; and grandchildren Robby, Olivia, Tatum, Finnegan, Greta, Greyson and Thea.

There will be a celebration of Bob’s remarkable life this summer; details will follow.

David W. Chase ’56

David W. Chase of Scottsdale, AZ, formerly of Cotuit, MA and Wellesley, MA, died peacefully in Scottsdale, AZ on April 30, 2020 after a brief illness.

Dave was a graduate of Williston Academy and Trinity College. Dave had a successful career at Honeywell Industries, Keane Associates and Digital Corporation. He loved his home by the ocean and enjoyed sailing and collecting antiques. He was a past member of the Hyannis Yacht Club. Dave was very active in the “Church of Pies of Cape Cod” with the Mashpee Congregational Church and the Barnstable Newcomers.

Dave leaves behind his wife, Joan and daughters Cathy and husband, John Kozak of Phoenix, AZ and Chris and husband Dave West of Ponce Inlet, FL, grandchildren Chelsea, Chase and Zachary, his brother Dick Chase and wife Marty of Ipswich, MA and nephews and nieces, Brian, Nancy, Paul and Karen and brother-in-law Dana Walston and wife Andrea of Weymouth, MA and nephew and nieces, Katie, John and Beth. A service will be held in Cotuit, MA later this year.

Theodore B. Wiehe, Jr. ’60

On Saturday, April 11, 2020, Theodore Baird Wiehe, Jr., husband, father of two children, teacher and coach, passed away peacefully, at Judson Park in Cleveland, Ohio, at the age of 78. Baird was born on June 24, 1941, in Baltimore, Maryland to the parents of Mary House and Theodore Baird Wiehe. He was a graduate of Williston Academy. He received his undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University and earned his Master’s in Teaching from Brown University in 1964. Baird taught for 32 years at Shaker Heights High School. On August 21, 1965, he married Sarah Bell Noble. They raised two sons, Peter and Oliver. Baird had a passion for and loved teaching, coaching soccer, watching baseball and running. Baird believed it was his duty to make the world a better place. He chose a life of service and one of educating our country’s greatest resource, our children. Known for creating innovative classes like “Country Capitalism” and “Death, Dying and Old Age,” he loved the challenge of teaching analytical thinking. He started and built the first-ever Men’s and Women’s soccer teams at Shaker Heights High School and was selected to be a member of the Ohio State Soccer Hall of Fame. For many years Baird rode his red bicycle (a gift from one of his soccer teams) to work. An avid runner, he could be seen into his 70s running the streets of Shaker. Known for having a great sense of humor and being an excellent conversationalist, Baird had a way of making those he met feel welcome and included. He is survived by his wife Sarah of 54 years, his two children, Peter ’86 and Oliver ’88, his sister Betty, brother Phil ’67, and several cousins, nieces, and a nephew. A service in his memory will be held this summer. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his honor to the Judson Foundation, 2181 Ambleside Drive, Cleveland, OH 44106.

Alan Hagstrom ’58

Alan “Chip” Hagstrom, 81, beloved husband of Grace C. (Callahan) Hagstrom, of Rockport, MA, passed away on Sunday morning, April 5, 2020.

Born in Gloucester on July 16, 1938, he was son of the late Edward and Ruth (Currier) Hagstrom. Chip was a graduate of Gloucester High School where he was a standout baseball and basketball player. He attended Williston Academy in Easthampton and played on the school’s soccer and tennis team. He went on to graduate from Boston University with his Bachelor’s degree in business administration. He was also a four year member of the BU crew team. After college, Chip had served in the U.S. National Guard.

Chip worked in the family business with his father Edward and his uncle George in the Hagstrom Construction Co. which he ran for many years and became well known on Cape Ann for his meticulous work. He later built and operated the Captain’s Lodge on Eastern Avenue where he also ran a coffee and sandwich shop, frequented not only by his lodgers but many family friends. In later years, Chip ran the buses for the Rockport school system.

Throughout his life, Chip remained very active in the community having served on the Board of Directors of Bank Gloucester for 39 years, longtime volunteer at Day by Day Adult Care, devout member of the Trinity Congregational Church and advocate for the YMCA. He was a member of the Economic Development Commission and was instrumental in the construction of the Blackburn Industrial Park. Chip was also an avid golfer and former member of the Bass Rocks Golf Club and Rockport Golf Club.

In addition to his wife Grace, he is survived by his son Alan Kyle Hagstrom and wife Anne and their children Alan Tyler, Gil, Caroline and Jon Gunnar all of Florida; his daughter Alison McNamara and husband Dennis and their children Alison Kate, Clare, Margaret and Connor all of Raleigh, N.C. He was predeceased by his sister Marcie Moore.

A memorial service will be held in the Trinity Congregational Church at a later date. Contributions may be made in Chip’s memory to a charity of one’s choice. Arrangements are by the Greely Funeral Home, 212 Washington Street, Gloucester, MA.

Ralph L. Sautter ’51


Ralph L. Sautter, of Lexington, Massachusetts and Biddeford Pool, Maine, passed away on March 28, 2020 at home.

Ralph Leonard Sautter was born and raised in Nichols, Connecticut, the son of the late Harry A. Sautter and Marine Leonard Sautter. He was the beloved husband of Carol Cacciamani, the cherished father of Janet Wendle, the loving and proud grandfather of Caroline, Tanner and Harlan Wendle, who made his eyes sparkle, and the uncle of his devoted niece and nephew, Laura and Frank Ganat.

Ralph attended Williston Academy, Easthampton, MA and Dartmouth College from which he graduated in 1955. Following graduation, Ralph served as a Captain in the U.S Marine Corps. After leaving the military, Ralph joined State Street Bank, spending his entire 40 year career with the company in corporate banking. He retired in 1999 as a Senior Vice President.

He was active in various boards and committees over the years, including as trustee and treasurer of MA Multiple Sclerosis Society, trustee and treasurer of Hale Reservation, trustee of First Parish Church and member of the board of overseers of Williston Academy. Formerly of Westwood, he served as chairman of the finance committee and a member of the school committee.

Ralph remained active with, and close to, his Dartmouth classmates, serving as class treasurer for forty years up until the time of his death.

He was well loved and he loved well.

A Celebration of his Life will be held at a later date.

Memorial donations may be made in Ralph’s honor to the Class of 1955 Wright Scholarship Fund, Dartmouth College, 6066 Development Office, Hanover, NH 03755.