Former Trustee Mary E. Tuttle Dies

Monday, July 9, 2012 - 12:28

This article originally appeared in the July 9 issue of the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

SOUTH HADLEY - Mary Elvin Tuttle was taken from us on July 4, 2012, in her home at Loomis Village in South Hadley. She had suffered a severe stroke in December 2009.

The daughter of Irene and Louis Tuttle, Mary was born in Paterson, N.J., on Nov. 26, 1914. She attended public schools in that community, as well as Ridgewood High School in Glen Rock, her longtime home. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in the Centennial Class of 1937.

She is survived by her longtime friend, Gwendolyn Glass of South Hadley, and Gwen's nieces and their families, who "adopted" her as a special tribute in November 1991: Sandra and Stetson Tinkham of Alexandria, Va., Suzanne and Bayard Kellam of Oro Valley, Ariz., and Laurie and Randy Shaffer-Whiting of Nellysford, Va. She is also survived by her namesake niece of Houston. Her brother, William, predeceased her.

Mary had a long and distinguished career in education and social services. In 1979, she retired as assistant to the president and secretary of the board of trustees of Mount Holyoke College, having previously served as secretary of the college, 1964-73.

Prior to her move to South Hadley, she had been director of the Vocational Advisory Service for New York City, 1955-64; director of personnel, RKO Theaters Corp., 1948-55; and personnel counselor, Wright Aeronautical Corp., 1942-45.

She was always a dedicated and enthusiastic supporter of her alma mater, and in 1949, she was a founding member and first president of the Bergen-Passaic, New Jersey Mount Holyoke Club, and then an officer in the New York Mount Holyoke Club and the Mount Holyoke Club of Greater Holyoke.

In 1958, she was president of the Alumnae Association, became an alumna trustee in 1959, and in 1982 was elected president of the Class of 1937. In 1962, she was awarded the Alumnae Medal of Honor and in 1979, the Trustee Medal for Distinguished Service.

Her commitment to youth and education was evident in her service as early as 1940 on the board of directors of the Paterson, N.J., YWCA, and she served as a board member of the Holyoke YWCA in 1977.

She took special pride in her service as a member of the board of the national ABC (A Better Chance, an organization that strives to give young people of color educational opportunities) from 1965 to 1971. In 1972, she was a founding member of the board of the South Hadley ABC.

From 1961 to 1964, she served as a member of the New York City Mayor's Task Force on Youth and Work. She was a member of the National Board of Trustees of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) in 1976. In 1980, she received the CASE Eleanor Collier Award "... for extraordinary service to higher education over a long period of time by a CASE member." Since 1977, she served as a member of the board of tribunes for WGBY TV and was made a life member in 1993.

She was also active in the South Hadley community as a member of the 250th Anniversary Fund Campaign for the First Congregational Center Church and as a vestry member of All Saints Episcopal Church. She had also served on the board of directors of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ in 1989 and chaired its Task Force on Church Accessibility.

She enjoyed traveling with her Mount Holyoke friends and made a barge trip on canals in England, a riverboat trip on the Mississippi River, and a passage through the Panama Canal. She will be missed by her friends and colleagues.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, July 11, at 11 am, at All Saints Episcopal Church, 7 Woodbridge St., South Hadley. Interment will be in Laurel Grove Cemetery, 295 Totowa Road, Totowa, N.J.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in tribute to the life of Mary Tuttle to All Saints Episcopal Church Capital Funds, 7 Woodbridge St., South Hadley, MA 01075, or to the Founder's Fund, Alumnae Association, Mount Holyoke College, 50 College St., South Hadley, MA 01075.