Doug Wood was 1st selectman from 1989-93, and RTM moderator before that. However, Westporters just learned today that he died on January 8 in Punta Gorda, Florida, where he and his wife lived in retirement. Before his election as 1st selectman, Wood was an IBM executive.
He chose not to run for re-election — the 1st Westport 1st Selectman in history not to do so after 1 term. He said that if he served 4 more years he would be 67 when he stepped down — and there were many things in life he wanted to do.
Current 1st selectman Jim Marpe says:
Doug set a management and leadership standard for the office of 1st selectman that has guided the activities of his successors, including me. In the 4 years he served Westport as 1st selectman he made a lasting impact on a variety of town functions and facilities, including a no-tax increase objective; bringing state-of- the-art data processing procedures to Town Hall; restoring the tide gates at Sherwood Mill Pond, and establishing a successful composting facility at the former Nike site on North Avenue (now Bedford Middle School).
In addition, he enabled the construction of the first Little League ball field in 2 decades; obtained funding for 2 playing fields that were later built at Wakeman Farm, and initiated the Mid-Fairfield County Selective Enforcement Unit, the first government cooperative police effort with neighboring towns.
Further, under the Wood administration, the town obtained approvals and funding for engineering design work for the expansion of the Compo Marina; added 152 parking spaces for commuters at Green’s Farms and Saugatuck railroad stations; revived long dormant flood control improvement projects, and initiated an architect designed master plan for refurbishing Longshore Club Park.
Those accomplishments notwithstanding, 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.
(Hat tip: Woody Klein’s book, “Westport, Connecticut: The Story of a New England Town’s Rise to Prominence.”)