AMHERST, Mass. - Thomas Bliss Stillman Quarles Sr. passed away peacefully on June 1, 2013, five days after his 90th birthday at the Center for Extended Care in Amherst, where he had been for a short time.
The Guest Book is expired.
Born in Plainfield, N.J., in 1923 to Anita M. Stillman and Emmet A. Quarles, he was predeceased by two older brothers, Francis Field and James Addison; and a younger sister, Mary Ann, who died on March 15 this year.
He attended Evergreen Elementary School (whose alma mater song he rendered flawlessly) and graduated from Plainfield High School in 1941, followed by a post-graduate year at Phillips Academy Andover in 1942. He was a member of the unique Class of 1945W at Yale, an accelerated program interrupted by World War II. He volunteered in 1944 for service in the Naval Reserve V-5 flight training program and was discharged in 1945. He returned to Yale and completed his B.S. in industrial administration in 1947.
After graduation he joined Corn Products Refining Company as an industrial salesman and left after five years to enter Harvard Business School, earning an M.B.A. in 1954. In 1952 he married Carolyn Saunders, a Brattleboro, Vt., native whose older brother Bill was his classmate at Andover and Yale. They moved to his hometown of Plainfield, N.J., where he became district sales manager of Union Steel, producer of stainless steel pipe and tubing. One son, Kenneth, was born there in 1955.
The family moved to Needham in 1957, and added two more sons, Thomas Jr. in 1958 and Robert in 1962. In 1963, he changed careers and joined the Cambridge Trust Company in Cambridge. After graduating in 1964 from the National Trust School at Northwestern, and in 1966 from the Stonier Graduate School at Rutgers University, he became a trust officer in 1965. In 1970, he joined the First National Bank of Amherst, where he became a vice president and head of the Trust Department. In 1980, he joined the Amoskeag Bank in Manchester, N.H., as an investment officer. In 1988, he retired from Amoskeag, worked for Bank East in Manchester, and in 1992 joined Harbor Advisory Corporation in Portsmouth, N.H., as an investment counselor until 2004.
His community involvement was always wide-ranging: Plainfield YMCA Gymnastic and Boys Work Club; chairman of the Needham Conservation Commission and Town Meeting member; fund chairman, Cambridge Junior Achievement; treasurer, First Parish Unitarian, Needham; class agent for HBS and Andover; founding member in 1971 of the Kestrel Trust in Amherst (a private land trust); director of Hampshire Community United Way; Friends of Amherst College Music; Manchester Queen City and Amherst Rotary Clubs (Paul Harris Fellow).
Sports and fitness were an integral part of his life, and included squash, tennis, hiking (life member of the Appalachian Mountain Club), cycling, canoeing, sailing, skiing, and camping. He loved spending time at Carolyn's family summer home on Lake Spofford, N.H., and was seldom seen without a daily New York Times.
Music was the main thread of his long life: Beginning as a treble in an Episcopal Boys Choir in Plainfield, N.J., he participated in both vocal and instrumental activities in high school. At Yale he was president of the Glee Club in 1947, and a member of the 1947 Whiffenpoofs (a capella ensemble). In 1993 he was an original member of Whiff alumni called the SLOTS (Seems Like Old Times) which was active at Yale reunions until 2012. He sang in many choral groups and church choirs: Newton Highland Glee Club; Saengerfest Society of Boston; Manchester Choral Society and the Yankee Male Chorus.
His knowledge and love of opera was extensive. One of his special loves was Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, when as a teenager he took leading roles in professionally-directed performances during his many summers at Pocono Lake Preserve, Pa. He was a founding member of the Valley Light Opera in Amherst in 1975.
He leaves his wife of 60 years, Carolyn; sons, Kenneth (Patti), Golden, Colo., Thomas Jr. (Karen), Brookline, N.H., Robert (Linda), Sarasota, Fla.; also three grandchildren, Marissa (Brian) Dilka, Pueblo, Colo., Clayton Quarles, Salt Lake City, and Eleanor Quarles, Brookline, N.H.; and one great-grandson, Jackson Dilka.
services: A memorial service will be held at South Congregational Church in South Amherst, at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 29. Contributions in his memory would be appreciated to the Endowment Fund at South Congregational Church, 1066 South East St., Amherst, 01002. Interment will be in Meeting House Hill Cemetery in Brattleboro, Vt. More information and memorial register are at douglassfuneral.com.
Published in Union Leader on June 24, 2013