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Marpe Mourns Death Of Former Westport First Selectman Doug Wood, 85

Current Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe
Current Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTPORT, Conn. – The town of Westport was saddened by the news of the death of former First Selectman Douglas Wood.

He died Friday, Jan. 8, in Port Charlotte, Fla., after a long illness at the age of 85.

He was born April 17, 1930, in Roslindale, Mass. His family moved to Needham, Mass., and he graduated from Needham High School in 1947.

In 1951, he received a bachelor’s degree from Boston University. He then became a first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. After his service, he joined Alcoa and 10 years later went to IBM, where he worked for 25 years. His family moved to Westport in 1970.

Wood was elected to the Representative Town Meeting, where he served on the RTM Planning and Zoning Committee and then as moderator of the RTM. In 1989, he was elected first selectman and served in that top post until 1993. During his tenure, Wood aimed for and completed 30 projects for the town, from a recycling facility to computerizing town hall. Politics was a hobby and adventure to him.

“Doug set a management and leadership standard for the Office of First Selectman that has guided the activities of his successors, including me,” said current Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe.

“I understand from those who knew him well that Doug was a poised, calm and accomplished businessman who placed the needs and concerns of Westport at the forefront of his administration’s agenda. In the end, generations of Westporters now and in the future will benefit from his insight and leadership. On behalf of the Town of Westport, I want to express my sincere condolences to his wife, Helen, and his entire family,” Marpe said.

Wood's other interests included the Unitarian Church. He was the religious education chairman and the chairman of the board of trustees from 1976-77. From 1980-84, he was vice chairman of Bridgeport's YMCA division of camping. He was a faithful Red Sox fan.

A private family-oriented service will be held in the spring.

He is survived by his wife, Helen, daughter Suzanne, son Donald and three grandchildren.

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