October 20, 1947 - August 31, 2013
Resided in Woodbridge, VA
Tom Tufts was born on October 20, 1947 in Brockton, Massachusetts. His father died when he was five years old leaving his mother, Arlene Taft, to raise him along with his older brother, Bob Tufts (Easton, MA) and older sister, Beverly Masaitis (Greenfield, MA). In his childhood and teenage years his great joys were baseball and football and he proudly played both for Oliver Ames High School in North Easton, Massachusetts.
Tom attended the University of Massachusetts in Amherst from 1965-1970. Coach Dick Garber directed him to the sport of lacrosse which became a life-long vocation. Coach Garber's legacy continued to influence and inspire Tom throughout his lifetime. Tom was proud to be one of "Garber's Gorillas" and a tri-captain of the 1969 UMass lacrosse team which recorded the only undefeated season in UMass history. He was named an All-American Defenseman and his lacrosse experience at UMass fueled a lifelong passion for the sport.
It was at UMass where Tom met his future bride and wife of 43 years, Susan James Tufts. Upon graduation, he began a 23-year career in the Army. This career took him and his family to Georgia, West Point, Indiana, Korea, Maryland, Virginia, and Hawaii.
Tom retired from the military as a Lt. Colonel in 1991 and moved onto his second career as a high school Guidance Counselor and Lacrosse Coach at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, Virginia. This career allowed him to engage his greatest ability which was to counsel and mentor young men and women to reach their highest potentials in life. Many of the relationships he established with students extended well beyond their high school years. He loved every minute of his counseling career and felt honored to help many young adults navigate their way through high school and onto life after graduation.
Under Tom's direction, Robinson became a dominant force in Virginia lacrosse. He was named Northern Region Coach of the Year in 1991 and 1992 and the Washington Post All-Met Coach of the Year in 1994. With typical modesty, Tom deferred all Region Coach of the Year nominations in subsequent years to other coaches. During his 14 years as head coach at Robinson, Tom amassed an impressive win-loss record of 185-36-1 (.837) to include the Virginia State Championship 7 times. He coached 16 players to high school All-America honors. His squads yielded dozens of players who went on to play for top NCAA lacrosse programs. From Tom's 1994 team alone, eight players were subsequently selected as college team captains. At the end of the 2004 season, Tom retired as Robinson's head coach. He was extremely proud of the young men his players became and cherished the relationships he had with all of them.
Other lacrosse accolades included induction into the US Lacrosse Potomac Chapter Hall of Fame in 2005 and inclusion as an inductee in the inaugural Robinson Secondary School Hall of Fame class in 2013.
As Tom finished his second career at Robinson, he was able to truly move into retirement. For him this meant quality time with his family and summers on the 80-acre James Farm in mid-Maine. Each April, he carefully planted hundreds of vegetable seeds in starter cups in Virginia. At the beginning of May, he'd load these into his pick-up truck and migrate north to plant the now-seedlings on the farm. He'd spend his summer and early fall months driving the tractor, tending the gardens, picking blue berries and hoping to catch a perch in Lake Hebron.
Tom would want to be most remembered for his dedication to and the pride he had in his family as well as his ability to make meaningful and lasting connections with others.
Visitation will be held at Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home on September 12th from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm and from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Service will be held at Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home on September 13th at 1:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, the Fisher House Foundation, the American Heart Association or the American Cancer Society.
Wounded Warrior Project
PO BOX 758517
Topeka, KS 66675
111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420
Rockville, MD 20850
American Heart Association
7272 Greenville Ave.
Dallas, TX 75231
American Cancer Society
971 E. St. NW, Ste 500
Washington, D.C. 20004
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