Donald W. Tufts, former East Greenwich elected official and an engineering professor emeritus at the University of Rhode Island, died Friday, Aug. 10. He was 79.
Tufts served on the School Committee in the 1970s and on the Town Council from 2002 to 2004. He was married to the late Barbara M. Tufts, who served also served on the Town Council. In addition, Tufts served as moderator to the EG Fire District. At the time of his death, he lived in Warwick.
"It's a great loss," said Janet Joyce, a longtime friend of both Barbara and Don's. Joyce, director of the Barbara M. Tufts Cooperative Preschool, said Donald Tufts was a "gentle soul" who was dedicated to the preschool his wife had established in 1967.
Bob Houghtaling, drug counselor for East Greenwich, said Donald Tufts was a strong supporter of the Teen Center, volunteering on Friday nights for close to 15 years.
Houghtaling and Joyce both recalled Christmas parties at the Tufts house on Carrs Pond Road, where people from all walks of life merged seamlessly.
"Don remained very engaged in current events and enjoyed discussing local and national politics," said Fire Commissioner and House Dist. 30 candidate Mark Schwager. "He wrote several op-ed pieces for the Projo in the past year or two about the social effects of the growing income inequality in the US.... Don always encouraged me to pursue public service, and offered advice and support when I ran for office.... I am saddened by his loss."
A memorial service is planned for Saturday, Aug. 25, on Cape Cod.