Thomas Mansfield
Thomas Raymond Mansfield

1925 - 2014 PUTNEY, VT. Thomas R. Mansfield died peacefully in his home on Oct. 5. He was 89. Tom is survived by his wife, Sumiko; and his three children, Sarah, Elizabeth and Tony. An educator, farmer, vintner, and musician, Tom lived life to the fullest. He was born in Lewiston, Maine on May 16, 1925. After serving in the naval air force, Tom graduated from Bates College in Maine in 1950. In 1952, Tom became the Director of Education for the Boys Club of New York. Thereafter, he became a teacher at St. Bernard's School in New York City. From 1965 to 1978, Tom served as the first Headmaster of the Day School (now known as the Trevor Day School). Over those 13 years, Tom and the faculty built a school that challenged the norms of childhood education, that placed learning before teaching, and that became an inspiration to countless students, teachers and parents. In 1958, while still living in New York City, Tom and Sue purchased Wyngate Farm in Putney. Originally a weekend home, the Farm was soon integrated into the Day School curriculum, serving as a center for outdoor education. Every year, Day School students would spend one week in Putney with their class hiking, milking cows, sugaring, navigating the ropes course and generally experiencing life away from home. To this day, former Day School students return to the Farm, now grown up, to remember Putney and share memories of their time on the Farm. In 1979, Tom and Sue moved to Putney full time to run the outdoor education program for the Day School. Tom also farmed, made wine, skied, golfed and continued to challenge former faculty and friends from afar. Tom embraced his life in Putney like he embraced every other challenge in his life: with vigor, with gusto and with enthusiasm. Tom leaves an indelible imprint on the Day School, on the Farm and on his family. He was loved and he will be missed. The family will hold a memorial service later this year in the Putney area. The Trevor Day School has posted a tribute to Tom, including "reflections" from students, faculty and friends, on its website at
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Published by Brattleboro Reformer on Oct. 11, 2014.
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
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5 Entries
I have many fond memories of Mr. Mansfield and The Day School. I especially loved our trips to Putney, Vermont where learned to work together, sang songs, went cross country skiing, and studied beavers at the local beaver pond. We also collected maple syrup and made apple cider. I was at The Day School from 1972 to 1976 and it really felt like family. Thank you Mr. Mansfield for everything.
Peter Wood
March 28, 2018
Tom gave a great deal to so many of us at Day. The culture that Tom and the faculty nurtured with its emphasis on self-directed learning, opportunities to develop as agents and/or survive a very wide range of experiences and among a great spectrum of faculty and students -- served me and my friends well. People were then , as they are now, much more comfortable with drill-and-test regimes, and order in the service of oversight rather than development, but Tom single-mindedly took big, and costly, risks with a far more empowering ideal in mind. Day in the 70's was fantastic. I continue to benefit from Tom and Sue's role in forming the community in which we flourished.
John McGoldrick
October 12, 2014
A Great Educator and Leader He brought light, laughter and innovation to all he did .Our love to his family he will be sorely missed. Sue and Malcolm
Sue and Malcolm Knapp
October 10, 2014
i was lucky to have been hired by Tom when he began to put into action his belief that children must participate actively in their learning. Tom was a courageous and challenging leader. He created an environment of learning for children and teachers.
Louise Monjo
October 10, 2014
How sad...we loved him and thought him a revolutionary in independent thinker. We feel lucky that our kids got to learn under his guidance. Our condolences.
Brendi/Mort Drosnes
October 10, 2014
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