George Todd, 86, of Middlebury and New Haven


NEW HAVEN — George Todd, of Middlebury and then New Haven, Vt., lived a rich and interesting life, full of friendship, music, art, and motion.

He made his living at something that he was, by all accounts, very good at — teaching — in a field he loved: music. The arts were central to his thoughts. He released several albums of his own electronic compositions, and after retirement went into painting. He enjoyed poetry read aloud. He designed and built two beautiful houses. He assisted in the founding of Middlebury’s Town Hall Theatre.

He raised three independent-minded, productive children by constantly supporting their three very different temperaments and sets of interests. All three went into teaching.

He read. A lot. Fiction, science, history, The New Yorker, physics, arts, psychology, sociology, poetry. He wrote excellent letters, full of voice, poignancy, and humor.

A man of movement as well as of the mind, George Todd was a good athlete: running cross-country as a student at Amherst College (class of ’57), and as an adult playing squash, tennis, and golf, as well as being an imposing player of all manner of table games: cards (poker, spades, hearts, up-and-down-the-river, cribbage), Scrabble, Upwords, backgammon. He traveled all over the world — with his favorite travel companions: his three adult children, and the wives of each of his two thirty-year marriages, Joan Todd and Megan Battey — lived as a young man in Germany and Holland, and spoke fluent German.

Above all, he found and cultivated friendships. There was nothing he enjoyed more than dinner and entertaining conversation with friends, and he had many. People liked to be with him, because he was engaging, funny, intellectual, charming, quick with a quip. He had good comic timing and liked telling and hearing jokes. In his last days, his bedside was a constant destination for people coming to say, “Thanks, George: for everything, really.” They are remarkable people, because George Todd knew how to find, recognize, and keep around him remarkable people. Among many, some still with us, and some already gone: Tom Soper, Harry Clark, Catharine Noel, Arthur Brooks, Dale and Lucinda Cockrell, Peter Hamlin, John Freidin, Peg Martin, Crawford Blagden, Sue Sparks, Russ Leng, Carol Calhoun, John Cage, Charles Hamm, Billy Collins; his old camping and annual fishing trip buddies Sandy Martin, Bruce Peterson, Pete Peters, and David Folger; and most especially, Kim Sparks.

George “GeeBee” Todd recognized, and commented frequently on, how fortunate he was. Those who knew him knew how fortunate they were as well. He is survived by two sons (Grey and Scott), a daughter (Kate), and two grandsons (Clayton and Jeremy). He is remembered by dozens of friends, and hundreds of students.

A memorial service will be held at his home in October.◊

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