Thomas Charles Sturtevant
{ "" }
Share Thomas's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
WINTHROP -- Thomas Charles Sturtevant passed away unexpectedly Saturday evening, Jan. 7, 2012, at his home.

Tom, a longtime resident of Winthrop, successfully touched many lives in multiple roles -- educator, peace and community activist, volunteer, husband, father, grandfather, friend and neighbor -- throughout his 83 years. Tom was born June 22, 1928, in Waltham, Mass., the son of Henry and Jennie Sturtevant, and the third of five children. He was raised in Concord, Mass., and attended Concord public schools, graduating from Concord High in 1946. He served for four years in the Navy during the Korean War as a "twidget" (avionics and radio repairman) and second-class petty officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS Essex. It was during his Navy service when the seeds of his peace activism were sown. While watching shipmates arm bomber planes on the carrier flight deck, Tom began to question the legitimacy of war as a means to settle conflict.

After the war, Tom attended Clark University in Worcester, Mass., on the G.I. bill and graduated with a degree in English. Two years later, he earned a masters in education from Columbia University Teachers College in New York. He taught at Branford (Conn.) High School for three years before moving to Maine, his father's home state, for a teaching position at Augusta's Cony High School in 1960.

In 1961, he purchased a dilapidated farmhouse and 100 acres of land at the foot of Mount Pisgah in Winthrop. He planted vegetable gardens and worked on the house during the summer break. He met his wife, Mary S. Coffin, while bringing well water samples from his new home to be tested at the Department of Health in Augusta, where Mary worked as a chemist. They fell in love and married on Aug. 25, 1962. Two children -- Benjamin and Susannah -- arrived two years apart in 1965 and 1967.

Tom taught English at Cony for 24 years. Besides teaching, Tom served as an adviser for the student newspaper, Ramses, and worked with the American Field Service international cultural student program. He retired from teaching in 1983. He worked for several years as a proofreader at Geiger Bros. in Lewiston before finally retiring from the workplace in 1993.

Upon his retirement, Tom immersed himself in many community and grassroots projects, particularly those focused on the promotion of peace and pointing out the wastefulness and travesties of war. He was an active Quaker, attending the Winthrop Center Friends Church. He was a leader of the Winthrop Area People for Peace, and was a regular attendee and speaker at peace breakfasts in town. In 1985, he became a charter member of Veterans for Peace. The organization was founded in Auburn, with just 20 members, and has grown into a national organization with hundreds of chapters and thousands of members. He was a volunteer with the Winthrop Food Bank and deliverer of Meals on Wheels to the elderly. Tom was an avid organic vegetable grower, who helped establish the Winthrop Community Gardens and recently worked on a garden project for the Winthrop Grade School.

To Tom, success was as it was defined by the following passage:

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."

Tom's hobbies were many. Aside from gardening, he was a swimmer, hockey player, stone wall builder, nature lover, maple syrup producer and mountain climber. He took pride in his ability to move huge boulders and rocks with ease to create beautiful gardens and flower beds. He loved to swim in Wilson Pond and Maranacook Lake in Winthrop. A swim, he said, was a reward for a hard day's work. Few things made Tom happier than to lace up a pair of skates, grab stick and puck, and play a game of pond hockey on the shores of Maranacook or any other frozen body of water in the area. He loved hockey and was an avid fan of the Boston Bruins and of New England college hockey.

Tom was predeceased by two brothers, Donald Sturtevant and L. Bowman Sturtevant. Tom is survived by his wife, Mary Stewart Coffin, of Winthrop; his older brother, Bradford, of Newburyport, Mass., and younger sister, Nancy, of Natick, Mass. He is also survived by his son, Benjamin, and his wife, Erin Lloyd, and their daughter, Clare, of Hallowell; and daughter Susannah Sanfilippo and her husband, Francesco Sanfilippo, of Portland.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a fund in his name that will be designated to help with the expansion of the Charles M. Bailey Library in Winthrop or to Veterans for Peace (

There will be no visiting hours. A service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Winthrop Middle School Gymnasium. Burial will be later in the spring at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Mass.

Arrangements are in the care of Roberts Funeral Home, 62 Bowdoin St., Winthrop, where memories, condolences, photos and videos may be shared with the family on the obituary page of the website at

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Kennebec Journal on Jan. 10, 2012.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
45 entries
January 4, 2020
Tom was a true American patriot who lived what he preached; truly a rare and courageous person. The entire world was diminished when he left us.
Jerry Genesio
January 30, 2012
My deepest condolences. Tom was an inspiration to those of us who believe that war is not the answer. His death is a loss, however his spirit will remain.
Philippe Bourassa
January 23, 2012
Dear Sturtevant family, when you have a man like Tom, so engaged with life and community up to the last minute, it is a shock to say goodbye so quickly. We send our condolences and thank you for sharing him with all of us all these years. We first met Tom and Mary in the 1970s, vigiling against bombing in central America...and Tom never gave up. His presence and voice were always so principled, and what a gift to us that somehow, besides being so serious about bringing peace, he had that sparkle in his eye that reminded us to enjoy this precious life we have. We are so glad he got to enjoy a son-in-law, and daughter-in-law, and then a granddaughter! We will continue to hear Tom's voice, see his smile, and be inspired to do good work while we have the chance. Thank you Tom.
Cathie Murray & Mike Waters
January 19, 2012
So sorry for you loss. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.
Karen Brooks-Grasso
January 17, 2012
Mrs. Sturtevant, Susie and Ben: my heartfelt condolences on the passing of Mr. Sturtevant, your dad. My thoughts are with you all.
Becky Burk
January 17, 2012
I am very sad to hear of Tom's passing. I felt so happy and inspired when I spoke with him recently at the rally in support of Occupy Maine. Warm and gentle as always, Tom's countenence that day was so strong, vibrant... he seemed ageless! I feel honored that for a while I helped hold his Veterans for Peace banner. In his honor, may we all find a way to "hold the PEACE banner."

Mary, I am so sorry for your loss and for that of your family. May God's presence be felt even now, and God's peace remain with you all.
Jane Burke
January 16, 2012
How much better the world would be if more of us were like Tom Sturtevant. He had such conviction and such kindness. I am glad that I knew him through working for peace. Peace be with you, Tom and family.
Helen Paganucci
January 15, 2012
To Mary and family, our deepest and most heartfelt condolences. As founders of Veterans for Peace, we have always been grateful to those who dared to step from the crowd to join the veterans' struggle for peace; Tom was one of the very first to do so. By his example alone, he has left the world a much better place than it was when he found it. His smile reflected a heart full of peace and contentment. He gave us hope for the future, and we will miss him.
Jerry and Judy Genesio
January 14, 2012
Please accept our deepest sympathies at the loss of your husband and dad. You are in our thought and prayers.
Mario, Michele and Nadia
Balistreri Family
January 13, 2012
Tom found me an uncommitted pacifist, yet planted the seeds that endure today. An inspiration to be missed.

Ken Cote
Kenneth Cote
January 13, 2012
Condolences to the Sturtevant family. One of Winthrop's and the state's and the nation's finest has taken his ideas and energies elsewhere and we are all at a loss for it. But his deeds and demeanor will always be with us.
Donald Beattie
January 13, 2012
To Mary and all of Tom's family, My deepest condolences on Tom's passing. I was fortunate to have him as a teacher at Cony High School in the 70's during one of the most progressive and enriching periods in education. He challenged assumptions and encouraged us all to think critically and keep our eye on the common good. He was a warm and gentle soul that touched many of my classmates in school and in the community. John S. Jones Falmouth, Me Class of 1978
January 13, 2012
Dear Mary, Ben and Susannah:

Ken , Mary & Brad want to expresss our sorrow and surprise when we learn ed of Tom's death. You will miss his good company.
And Tom will be missed in Winthrop, he was a one of our most active and civic minded citizens. The Strattons of Winthrop
January 13, 2012
Tom Sturtevant was a very familiar name in my house and at Aunt Hully's.

Mother and I send our deepest sympathies to you all.
Fran and Rob Reinstein
January 13, 2012
I was very sorry to learn of Mr. Sturtevant's passing. Although he was my favorite English teacher, he taught me more about life. Those are lessons I haven't forgotten.
george prescott
January 12, 2012
Mt. Sturtevant was my freshman English teacher in 1961. I can still remember him guiding our class as we read Les Miserables and Kidnapped (but not at the same time). He was the best teacher I had during my four years at Cony. I can still recall my mother describing how excited Mt. Sturtevant was when talking about his students on parents night. "He walked on the desk stops," she said. That vision of tall, lanky Mr. Sturtevant leaping from desk to desk has stayed me with me always. He was very enthusiastic about what he was doing, and his enthusiasm was contagious. A truly inspiring man.
Paul Betit
January 12, 2012
Please accept my deepest sympathies.

I will remember Tom as a caring and talented teacher, but most as a truly GOOD MAN.
Steve Russell
January 11, 2012
Dear Sturtevant Family,
Thank you for sharing such a detailed and poignant reflection about your husband and Dad's life. He will be surely missed,. What a wonderful role model for all ! You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Ann, Anthony, Anthony, Alex and Arianna
Ann Sanfilippo
January 11, 2012
To Mary, Ben, and Susannah. Tom remains in my thoughts as he has done for so long as a steady, intelligent voice of reason in a world of cacophony. Though it has been many years since I have heard that voice, it stayed in the back of my mind all these years. To know it is quiet is a sad thing, but to me it will never truly be silent.
Tim Plumer, Jr.
January 11, 2012
Dear Mary and family, I came to know Tom as a member of NH Veterans for Peace. He truly was a man of peace, one who inspired so many through his words and his actions. Tom will be remembered by all whose lives he touched, including mine. "I ask myself, is it just a wild flight of imagination to conceive of a world without war . . . but someone must try . . . . --Julia Grace Wales. That someone was Tom.

My wife and I offer our sincerest condolences. Tom Sturtevant Presente'!
Will & Wendy Thomas
January 11, 2012
I am so sad that I'll not have the chance to spend time with Uncle Tom again.
Ken Moore
January 11, 2012
Ben, I am so sorry about your Dad. Having just lost my mother in the spring, I have your entire family in my thoughts and prayers.

Janet at JSS
Janet Dawes
January 11, 2012
I am sorry for to hear of your family's loss Ben. My prayers are with you.
January 10, 2012
Mr Sturtevant was my english teacher at Cony in 1980. He was a very nice teacher and always had time for his students. I enjoyed seeing him around Winthrop and looked forward to seeing him at the voting poles. My thoughts and prayers are with his family .
Dian True-Bourgoin
January 10, 2012
Condolences to Ben, Erin and the Sturtevant family. Your dad was certainly the most inspiring teacher I had in high school. He taught English and literature with a passion that rubbed off on his students. I'm sure I wouldn't have taken up a career as a writer if not for Tom Sturtevant's guidance and encouragement. Also played a few pond hockey games with him. A great guy with a fine sense of humor.
Gary Hawkins
January 10, 2012
Tom Sturtevant was an easy man to love, and he will be impossible to replace. We will miss Tom and his gentle smile, but our lives are richer for having him as a friend.
Dexter & Gretchen Kamilewicz
January 10, 2012
We are so saddened to her of Tom's passing. I have great memories spending time with Ben at Tom and Mary's home on Mt. Pisgah. I never had him as a teacher but he taught me so much. Angie and I are thinking of you and offer our sincere condolences.
Roger Audette
January 10, 2012
We mourn with you and your family. The good news is life is about the struggle and the rewards of a hard days work. Mr. Sturtevant embraced both of these qualities and our world is a better place because of it. May the love of those around you help you through the days ahead.
Mark & Donna Downing
January 10, 2012
Mr. Sturtevant, as I always called him, was my English teacher at Cony in 1971. I must say he was my most memorable teacher for his caring and patient ways with the students. We had kind of a "wild" class (it was the 70's) and he tolerated it with the patience of a saint. I admired him for that and for his great sense of humor which I have reminisced over the last 40 years. With that being said he will live on in our memories!!
Alice Grondin Chicoine
January 10, 2012
Iam so sorry to hear of this. My thoughts are with Ben and Susannah and the rest of the family. I would love to come and skate on the pond on Wednesday in memory of Tom. Katie Nichols
Katie Nichols
January 10, 2012
January 10, 2012
Mr. Sturtevant was a kind man. He always had a twinkle in his eye and a little smile on his face. He always made time to help any student with any question. He never seemed to be in a rush. Mr. Sturtevant was just a gentle person.
jan murphy
January 10, 2012
Dear Aunt Mary and cousins, I'm at a loss to find the right words. I know your grief too well, with mom's passing. We will miss Uncle Tom, his quiet reassurance, his distinctive laugh, and his steadfast convictions. God bless all of you, love sent from all of us in Newburyport. -Braddie
Brad Sturtevant
January 10, 2012
Thank you for sharing Tom with the world. He will continue to inspire us as we seek to build the world he knew is possible. I will especially miss him on Tax Day, April 15 and invite his many friends and mentees to join us at the Federal Building as we distribute flyers asking "Do you know where your tax dollars are going?" as he did for so many years.
Peace to you,
Leslie Manning
Religious Society of Friends
Leslie Manning
January 10, 2012
Tom lived up to the word Friend I am glad to have known him. even if we did not agree on everything he was always civil. He will be missed

Mike and Peggy Goodenough
January 10, 2012
I had Mr. Sturtevant for English at Cony (Class of '80). He had a way of quietly helping you to see things from another point of view. I was lucky to have him as a teacher. My condolences to the family.
Vicki Ainslie Mihalik
January 10, 2012
Terry and I want to extend out deepest sympathy to Mary and family during this time of loss. God bless you all.
Lorraine McCabe
January 10, 2012
My Dear Mary--I am wholly shocked ad sorry tp hear of Tom's passing. Please accept my deepest condolences. Should you need me you know where to find me---AND--please continue to help yourself to my hydrangeas. Stanley Painter Nash1942 and Cony 1955.
Stanley Painter
January 10, 2012
I will miss Tom so very much. His regular visits, always bringing his conviction and his love of his fellow man along with him, never failed to lift my heart. I admired him greatly.
Eric Robbins
January 10, 2012
Very saddened to hear this news. Tom was my close friend for over 40 years. When I was last in Maine in July 2010, Tom, my son, and I had lunch together at the Senator Motel. My thoughts and prayers are with you Mary.
Marc Wathen
January 10, 2012
Tom set an example for many people. I did not know him personally, but am aware of the good work he did with his community activism. He will be missed, the world needs people like him.
January 10, 2012
The world of your friends and family will miss you dearly good sole, carry on where ever you may be now. I did not know you but know many of your beloved friends so I here by wish you well Sailor, RIP, Desia Ritson in Puerto Rico
Desia Ritson
January 10, 2012
Dear Mary and family, I am saddened by the loss of such a great man, and a wonderful human being with a goal towards peace and a beautiful smile. A peaceful man himself, who graced the streets of Winthrop either on foot on on his bike in warm weather and cold. Tom always had time to chat and always truly cared about what you had to say. An icon in the hearts of many and whose teachings will long be remembered, Tom will be dearly missed as I pass through town or by the library where he stood with others, holding his sign up and I honked for peace. May the wonderful times you all shared comfort you always. Love and God Bless
Betsy Palleschi Rowe
January 10, 2012
We were so sorry to learn about Tom's death, and our condolences go out to the family. Tom was such an integral part of Winthrop that it almost seems impossible to envision the town without him. He shall be missed very, very much.
Laurie & Clif Graves Graves
January 10, 2012
My condolences to the Sturtevant family, I was a 1971 Cony alumni and remember him well. He taught me to love Literature and some wonderful life's lessons. He has made his life count and helped numerous others. This Cony graduate appreciates all he did. Bless you all in your time of sorrow.
Linda Veilleux
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences