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In Memoriam: Trustee Emeritus and Legend George M. "Bud" Lethbridge Jr.

Trustee Emeritus and Legend George M. “Bud” Lethbridge Jr. passed away peacefully on May 20, 2013, surrounded by his family. Mr. Lethbridge served on the Colby-Sawyer College Board of Trustees from 1991 to 1999. Memorial services will be held on Saturday, June 8, at 11:30 a.m. at Essex Meadows in Essex, Conn., and at the Church at Point O' Woods on Fire Island in New York on August 3 at 12:30 p.m.

Born in 1925 the son of the late Gertrude Dodd and George M. Lethbridge, Sr., Bud was raised in Upper Montclair, N.J. He lived in Old Lyme, Conn., for 18 years before moving to Essex, Conn., six years ago. A gracious man with a sense of humor known for his humility, unwavering interest in others, loyalty to his friends and schools, dedication to his family and for being the last one on the dance floor, he was a tireless friend of the college.

As a trustee, Bud was active with The Campaign for Colby-Sawyer College from 1991-1995 and served with distinction on a variety of committees, including the Audit Subcommittee, Development, Enrollment Management, and Executive. He chaired the Finance Committee from 1992-1999 and the Investment Subcommittee from 1992 to 1997. He was honored with the Susan Colgate Cleveland Medal for Distinguished Service in 1999 and was an inaugural member of Colby-Sawyer's Legends Society.

“Bud Lethbridge was a remarkable gentleman, with emphasis on gentleman. He held himself to the highest of standards, and was a profound role model for all who had the pleasure of knowing him,” says Anne Winton Black '73, '75, former chair of the Board of Trustees. “Bud was generous to his core, and graciously gave of his time, talent and treasure. He shared his largess, and modeled behavior that made me aspire to do more. Bud inspired many of us to heed his life lessons: be prudent, invest wisely, love deeply, laugh often, and give of yourself without reservation. Colby-Sawyer is a much better college for having been touched by the heart and hand of Bud Lethbridge. I will always treasure the time we worked together on its behalf.”

Retired Colby-Sawyer Treasurer Doug Lyon calls Bud one of the most important trustees ever to serve the college. “He brought a solid financial background as well as a wonderful sense of humor. Bud worked constantly to improve the college's financial situation and was renowned for Lethbridge's Laws: balance the budget, grow the annual fund and manage financial aid,” says Lyon. “He continued his interest in the college after his term expired, attending functions, providing financial support and keeping in regular contact with the Treasurer's Office to make sure we had not forgotten the laws.”

On May 13, 2004, the college dedicated Lethbridge Lodge on campus in his honor. The late Peter Danforth P'83, '84, GP'02, a trustee at the time, noted then that Bud's connection to the college extended back to the term of President H. Leslie Sawyer, and that he became associated with the college through his first wife, the late Helen Thomas “Tommie” Lethbridge '48, whom Peter called the “consummate cheerleader for Colby Junior College.” When she passed away in 1986, she had been awarded the Susan Colgate Cleveland Medal for Distinguished Service and was vice chair of the Board of Trustees. In 1992, Bud established and subsequently endowed the Helen Thomas Lethbridge and George M. Lethbridge Jr. Scholarship Fund.

“Whether through philanthropy, endless hours helping formulate critical institutional strategies, or drawing upon his decades of corporate financing and budgeting experience, Bud has always been there for this place,” Peter said at the dedication. “He has left his mark of work, wealth and wisdom everywhere.”

President Thomas C. Galligan Jr. knew Bud as one of the college's great leaders, supporters and friends. “Bud knew that a school like us truly needed support and that gifts to Colby-Sawyer made a profound positive difference in a student's life immediately,” says President Galligan. “He was a gentle person and a phenomenal friend of our college. We all miss him.”

In 1980, after a career of 31 years with General Electric Company, Bud retired from his position as a financial manager. During his tenure at G.E., he held several financial positions, including Corporate Auditor, Budget Manager for Industrial Apparatus Sales Division, and Financial Manager for G.E.'s internal Advertising and Sales Promotion Agency.

“Bud's commitment to and belief in Colby-Sawyer have permanently strengthened this college, and his warm, genuine and gentle personality, along with his wonderful laugh, will always be remembered,” says Vice President for Advancement Beth Cahill.

Bud graduated from Phillips Academy in 1943 and from Princeton University in 1947, where his studies were interrupted by service in the Army Air Corps, now the Air Force. He is survived by his children, Sally Hunsdorfer (Peter Hunsdorfer) of Marion, Mass.; Thomas (Todd) Lethbridge of Sierra Madre, Calif.; and Scott Lethbridge (Catherine Aubrey Lethbridge) of Yonkers, N.Y. He is also survived by his brother, John D. “Jack” Lethbridge; his four grandchildren, Thomas (Todd) Hunsdorfer, Ben Hunsdorfer, Aubrey Lethbridge and Charlotte Lethbridge.

Memorial contributions may be made to The Himalayan Project (himalayanproject.org), or Musica Sacra (musicasacrany.org), organizations that he supported and his children champion.

–Kate Seamans, Asst. Director of Communications