Remembering Doug Wood

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).

Doug Wood

Doug Wood

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.”)

5 responses to “Remembering Doug Wood

  1. don l bergmann

    Doug was both our neighbor and First Selectman. He was a person of integrity, competence and warmth. He will be remembered well.
    Don Bergmann

  2. It was my pleasure to have served as Town Counsel during the Wood Administration. Doug was a great First Selectman who brought decency, competence, and leadership to our community. I am greatly saddened to learn of his passing. Ken Bernhard

  3. As access coordinator for Channel 27 Cablevision I worked with Bill Seiden, Marty Hauhuth, and lastly Doug Wood. Hard to believe we have gotten that Old. Onward and upward Doug Wood!

    Warm regards to you from Jerusalem, Bonnie Brooks

  4. Sally Campbell Palmer

    Hi Bonnie., hi to Harvey, too! Tell him Susie is being rediscovered. All the best!

  5. Doug Wood was my mentor when I was first elected to the RTM. He was a true gentleman in every way. He took seriously the issues that Westport faced and, refreshingly, as an RTM member, was far more interested in solving problems and grappling with projects, than in hearing himself speak.

    There are a few people in everyone’s life who stand out, make a positive impact and create a life-long impression. Doug was one of those for me.