Albert Southwick
1920 - 2021
BORN
1920
DIED
2021
Albert B. Southwick, 100

Leicester - Albert B. Southwick of Leicester died peacefully on Friday, April 16, 2020 at his home in Leicester. He was 100 years old, and had suffered a stroke last year.

Albert is survived by his wife Betty (McGrath) Southwick; two daughters, Jana Jarvi of Rutland, MA and Martha Schwediauer Southwick of Vienna, Austria; two sons, Randall Southwick of Hubbardston, MA and Jason Southwick of Leicester. He is also survived by 5 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

He is predeceased by his first wife, Shirley (Johnson) Southwick; his parents, Nathan Southwick and Ruth (Earle) Southwick; and all of his eight siblings.

Albert Southwick was the seventh of nine children, and grew up in Leicester, Massachusetts, on the farm that had been in his family for generations. He attended Mannville School, a one-room wooden building with kerosene lamps where a single teacher taught all eight grades. He later attended Leicester High School and Clark University in Worcester (he won the Prentiss Hoyt Poetry Prize at Clark in 1938, 1939 and 1940) before spending four years in the United States Navy as a naval aviator during World War II. Back in civilian life, he met and married Shirley Marie Johnson of Holden. They were married for 51 years.

Albert and Shirley both went back to college on the GI bill and received their master's degrees, she in social work, he in U.S. history. Albert began work on his PhD at Brown University, but discontinued that pursuit when he got a chance to be a historian for the U.S. Seventh Army in Germany. He and his wife lived in Germany for two years.

After returning from Germany, Albert Southwick joined the Providence Journal as a reporter. In 1952 he was hired by the Worcester Evening Gazette as an editorial writer.

In 1953 Albert and Shirley Southwick (1920-1998) built their house on Marshall Street on land probably owned by Albert's ancestor William Earle in the 1720s. Much of the back land was made into one of the first disc golf courses in the area by their son Jason Southwick in the 1990s. He built his house on the south end.

Mr. Southwick was chief editorial writer for the Worcester Telegram and Evening Gazette from 1968 to his retirement in 1986, after which he continued writing on a free lance basis for a number of publications. He began writing free lance columns for the T&G and eventually became a regular columnist. At age 100, he continued to write weekly columns for the Worcester Telegram until very recently.

Among his special interests were books and libraries. He wrote many articles supporting various libraries. He was a long-time member of the Friends of the Worcester Public Library and president of the Friends of the Goddard Library at Clark University. When he was 92, he was appointed honorary chairman of the Leicester Public Library's seven million dollar fund drive to renovate it.

Albert Southwick was active in the 1977 effort to renovate Mechanics Hall and successfully solicited funds to buy a new grand piano for the hall.

He was a long-time member and vice president of the Worcester Historical Museum, which honored him in 2001 by giving him its first George Bancroft award.

He was an enthusiastic tennis player and skier for many years. In 1960 he and his brother Thomas founded the Moose Hill Ski Area at Moose Hill in Spencer. It was noted because of its unusual method of bringing skiers to the top of the hill -- specially modified trucks that could carry 30 or 40 skiers at a time.

Albert Southwick was a prolific producer of words. At one time when he was chief editorial writer for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette he also wrote editorial essays for the New York Times and editorials for The Saturday Evening Post.

He wrote many articles for various magazines, periodicals and newspapers including The Saturday Evening Post, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Berkshire Eagle, Worcester Magazine, Worcester Business Journal, Inside Worcester and the Telegram & Gazette. He published over twenty books, including several about Worcester County and its history. He said that his general aim was to put local history into the context of state and national history.

Mr. Southwick wrote two librettos; the first was for the opera Midas with music by Relly Raffman (1921-1988), composer and professor of music at Clark University, which was performed in Atwood Hall, Clark University, in 1966. The second libretto was for the musical The Peaceable Kingdom which was translated into German and performed in Vienna, Austria, in English at the Anglican Church in 2006 as well as in German at Vienna Konzerthaus in 2007.

He was always interested in literature and joined the Worcester Shakespeare Club, eventually becoming president. He was a long-time member of the Worcester Fire Society, and was one of the founders and president of the original Performing Arts School for music and dance. He was also awarded a key to the city of Worcester by its mayor in 2001.

In 2002, four years after the death of his first wife, Shirley, he married Betty McGrath, who survives him.

Like his sister, Ann Cutting, who died in 2016 at age 103, Albert has donated his body to the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where future doctors will learn their craft using the bodies of those who have donated them. No memorial service is planned at this time, and the family requests that no flowers be sent. Those wishing to honor Albert Southwick's life may make donations in his name to the Friends of Leicester Public Library, 1136 Main St, Rt. 9. Leicester, MA 01524 or to the Leicester Historical Society, 1 Paxton Street, Leicester, MA 01524.

To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Worcester Telegram & Gazette from Apr. 17 to Apr. 18, 2021.
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19 Entries
I am so glad to see that Albert Southwick lived a long and glorious life. May his soul rest in peace.
Anne Martinson
April 24, 2021
Our prayers to the family during your loss. Albert was a good man and an accomplished writer. We remember the many conversations between Amy and Albert on writing and all things books. So sorry for your loss. The O'Loughlin Family.
Carol O'Loughlin
April 21, 2021
My family has known the Southwick family for close to 60 years. We spent our summers on Moody Beach in Maine and those summers remain some of the best in my memory. The Southwicks were dear friends. Mr. and Mrs. Southwick were like "summer parents". I remember such happy times at Elmer Ann and Ocean Dunes, Al and Shirley together with my parents Bill and Audrey sipping cocktails as we kids played on the beach or enjoyed a bonfire. Mr. Southwick was never Al to me, always Mr. Southwick. I remember his ready smile and twinkle in his eyes. My sister and I were so pleased to host an 80th Birthday Lunch for him at The Beachmere in Ogunquit. Randy and Rosemary and Jason and Mr. Southwick together with me, my sister and her young daughters. Eventually we ended up on Ogunquit Beach where everybody played Frisbee. I sat in the shade with Mr. Southwick. He said to me, this reminds me of all of you when you were little kids at Moody. He then said, with a smile, "You can call me Al you know". I just smiled in return. He will always be Mr. Southwick in my heart. Jana, Jason and Martha, sending my sincere thoughts at this time. Randy and Rosemary, here's to making more memories. Kathleen
Kathleen Moyer
April 20, 2021
The memories of Mr. Southwick will always remain in my heart and soul. Many year ago he was one of my teachers in Leicester Middle school . He was a kind man, likeable, and loved sharing all he knew with us. As the years went on, I always watched his growth in his writings and sharing his love for our history in Leicester. May he rest in peace, God is with him always.
Mary (Knight) Seferi
April 20, 2021
Remembering all the wonderful Thanksgivings celebrated with The Southwick family, and our hikes to High Rock. Uncle Albert always inspired one to appreciate history, especially local history. We admired the fact that he kept writing right through his 100th year, he had a very productive life. Lots of love to the whole family.
Ruth Hagberg Blodgett and family
April 19, 2021
He took and gave joy from sharing Worcester's history. As a long-time member of First Unitarian Church, he spent several hours with me when I was researching a service for our 225th anniversary. He donated some of his mother's Sunday school records. Every minute with him was a history lesson. Thanks, Al.
Ellen O'Neall-Waite
April 19, 2021
We are so so sorry for your loss. Prayers being sent to you and your family. His memories will live on in all his writings. God bless.
Brenda and Stuart Ford
April 19, 2021
What a blessing it was to know this amazing man! I will always remember his many kindnesses and generosity. Just one example: As Al worked his way through years of microfilm of historical Worcester newspapers for his many columns, he would send me clippings of things he thought would be of interest to me. I loved seeing those envelopes arrive, crammed with fascinating glimpses of the past. We will miss you, Al.
Janette Greenwood
April 19, 2021
Al Southwick honored me by attending classes I presented in the W.I.S.E. program at Assumption College, and whereas I felt that I should have been listening to him, he was both humble and gracious.
Rev. Robert Carroll Walters
April 18, 2021
Steve Jones-D'Agostino
April 18, 2021
I worked with Al Southwick on the editorial board during five years of my time at the T&G. He was among the most principled people one could ever meet and held to conservative views without ever being disagreeable or dismissive of competing points of view. I am the better person for having known Al Southwick.
Roy Nilson
April 18, 2021
My condolences to Mr. Southwick's family. I knew his late Brother Tom and Tom's wife Sonia through my Mother's involvement from Christ the King Parish in Tatnuck with the Worcester County Ecumenical Council where Sonia also served from her church. My late Father was a piano technician and rebuilder with Steinerts in Worcester and no doubt tuned that new grand piano many times at Mechanics Hall that Al helped secure. What a small world it truly is! While I didn't always agree with Mr. Southwick's views and analyses of politics that he espoused in the paper, especially in later years with President Trump's courageous leadership and smarts exposing the deep-state corruption of Washington and the danger it presents to the American people and freedom itself, I nevertheless respected Mr. Southwick for his age, experiences in life and his ability to still contribute a vigorous column on a regular basis long past the median age of newspaper writers (an understatement!). Rest in Peace, Al, and thank you for your military service to our country.
Dana George Reed
April 18, 2021
Jana, I'm so sorry for your loss. Prayers and thought with you and your family. Sheila Donahue
Sheila Donahue
April 18, 2021
What a great loss for all of us! Al had a long connection with my family the Tinsley's, and my biological great uncle, John Cronin, a fellow writer for the Telegram. I very much enjoyed his columns as I always learned something new. He was sharp and had a great perspective. He will be missed.
Kate Toomey
April 18, 2021
Truly a great man, historian and writer. Enjoyed reading everything he wrote. Godspeed Al!!!
Andrew McGrath
April 18, 2021
To the Southwick family, I am so sorry to hear of Albert's passing. So many memories with him and the family over the years. May all the great memories fulfill your heart
Sue Morowski
April 18, 2021
I knew Albert since the 50's my grandparents lived next door to him and I spent many days hiking the woods and learning first hand about the natural world. He taught me how to ski at the old Hadwen and Greenhill park's ski areas. His stories of the natural world intrigues me from a very young age. He and my grandfather were good friends and neighbors. Albert lived a good forefilled life. He will REST IN PEACE. GOOD BYE MR.SOUTHWICK SCOTT OUELLETTE JUPITER, FL.
SCOTT D. OUELLETTE
April 18, 2021
So saddened to read of your Dad `s passing. He was an outstanding journalist. My deepest sympathies as you grieve your loss.
Linda Morse
April 18, 2021
You brought light to many and the world is better for having you. Rest in Peace
Ron LaPointe
April 17, 2021