Thomas H. Buffinton, age 99, of Plymouth, MA, formerly of Marion, died peacefully on Saturday, May 16. 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.
Arrangements have been made by the Waring-Sullivan Home at Fairlawn, Fairhaven, MA.