Donald J. Torres, 80 passed away Friday, July 21, 2017 in the home he loved on the Weweantic River, with his wife at his side, Ora Mae Torres.
Born in New Bedford, the son of the late Sofia and Jacinto Torres, he was the first in his family to attain a college education.
He graduated from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst with a Bachelor’s Degree. He continued his education and graduated with a Master’s Degree in Education from Bridgewater State College and then went on to Carnegie Mellon to receive a Masters of Arts in History.
Mr. Torres became an educator in New Bedford and Freetown school system where he taught at both the Middle and High School level. Mr. Torres then went on to become the State Director of Title III which dealt with innovative programming in the school systems.
Ever passionate about education, Mr. Torres was not only a student and teacher, but also an advocate. Mr. Torres became an activist for education at a national level where he was appointed the Federal Liaison at the Council of Chief State School Offices. He campaigned tirelessly on behalf of gender equality in schools and was an integral part of the passing of Title IX, a portion of the United States Education Amendments in 1972. The Amendment mandated schools receiving federally funded programs could not discriminate or exclude a person based on their sex. Title IX is best known for ensuring equality in sports, but also applies to any federally funded activities in school. The passage of that legislation is Mr. Torres proudest achievement.
Upon his return to Massachusetts, Mr. Torres directed his energies as a Program Director of various grant projects throughout the Commonwealth. Mr. Torres was also very active on several local committees in Marion, including the Sewer Expansion Committee. He was most gratified with his work as Chairman of The Mattapoisett River Valley Water District Commission where he served as Chairman and dedicated many years of service to both the MRV Planning Committee and the MRV Water District Commission.
Mr. Torres is survived by his wife, Ora Mae Torres, daughter, Donna M. Torres, brother-in-laws, Henry and Mark DeJesus, nieces Joan DeJesus, Sarah DeJesus, Karen Medeiros, and great nieces, Olivia and Ruby Medeiros and several cousins in the local community. He is also survived by his best friend of 50 years, Charles “Chuck” Hostetler of Pennsylvania.
“Don” will be missed for his acerbic wit and dramatic personality. If one were to ever meet Don, they would never forget him, thus was the impression he would make.
A Celebration of Life reception will be held on September 30, 2017 from 2-4 pm at his home, 21 Dexter Rd. in Marion. We welcome your presence in remembering Don.