Cover photo for Thomas Kingsford Sisson's Obituary
Thomas Kingsford Sisson Profile Photo
1923 Thomas 2018

Thomas Kingsford Sisson

June 22, 1923 — October 2, 2018

Thomas (Tom) Kingsford Sisson, an amazing and adventurous soul passed from this world on Tuesday October 2, 2018, concluding a life warmly and richly lived since June 22, 1923. Husband of Edith Arnold Sisson for sixty-two years and father of Virginia Baker Sisson (and William Maze), Katharine Townsend Feehery (and George Richard Feehery), Edith Thomas Sisson (and life partner Michael Janson, deceased) and Polly Arnold Fleckenstein (and Lawrence Fleckenstein), he was also grandfather of Tegan Feehery (and Christopher Belkas), Caitlin Feehery, Alexander Maze and Benjamin Fleckenstein. He thrived on being both an intellectual and an outdoorsman, always reading, beekeeping, gardening, collecting and selling eggs, hiking, sailing, cross-country and alpine skiing.

He was son of Dr. Warren Richard Sisson and Emilie Heffron Sisson and stepmother Katharine Wendell Sisson. He was younger brother of Dr. John H Sisson (and Barbara of Lincoln MA), Dr. Warren R. Sisson Jr., (of Manchester NH) and older brother of Alexander Sisson (and Carol of Anchorage AK). He was the last of his generation.

He served in the US Naval Air Corps and US Coast Guard during World War II, flying patrols for German submarines and sailors in distress. He worked in television, starting in commercial television (WNAC-TV). He was a pioneer working in public service programs at the Lowell Institute Cooperative and Broadcasting Council (now known as WGBH-TV) where he was the producer-director from 1955-1958. He continued his career as a teacher and dean including Boston and Harvard Universities ending as Associate Dean for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. He spread his knowledge of bee keeping to many classes at Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary. He kept bees for almost eighty years including in his dorm room at Harvard University.

Tom was wise and attentive, bold and gracious, handsome and daring. He was a scholar who attended Deerfield Academy, Harvard University, where he earned his BA, Oxford University and Boston University where he received his Masters of Education degree.

In 1956, he married Edith Virginia Arnold. They moved to Concord in 1962, renovating the 352 Sudbury Rd farmhouse. Later on, it was discovered that this was the ancestral home as a six times great grandmother Rebecca Hubbard was born there. He lived here until family evolved and downsizing lead to moving the garage, which has been originally built as a barn, west on his property into Southfield meadow where he lived his last twenty years.

He thrived spending time outdoors, climbing the mountains of New Hampshire and Maine avidly with family and friends, always after whichever daughter scrambled up the final summit to be first at the peak. He was proud to have climbed Mount Katahdin in Maine over 15 times including several winter ascents as recently as when he was 82. Every morning for as long as I can remember he rose tenderly, trying not to disturb anyone as he picked up that day's Boston Globe and made a pot of Earl Grey tea to take back upstairs and share with us before our school and his work.

His family and family farm gave him infinite pleasure, reciprocated by the love and bounty they provided him. His bees produced hundreds of pounds of honey annually, his chickens laid a comparable number of eggs and nightly we shared the bounty of his garden, fresh peas, tomatoes, eggplants and parsnips. He delighted in spending time with family in Limerick Maine. Over time he helped build a cabin with logs he cut from the forest around him. His love of the mountains led to his involvement as co-founder of the Francis Small Heritage Trust, to preserve the special land around Sawyer Mountain. In addition, he and Edie were tree farmers and stewards of their land.

His service to his neighbors and friends included being trustee of Boston Children's Museum, Marlboro College as well as advisory committees for establishing wilderness areas in the White Mountain National Forest, water resources of Boston, Thompson Island School, advising the Concord League of Women Voters and serving on the Concord Comprehensive Planning Committee,

Family and friends will gather to honor and celebrate Tom's life on Sunday October 21 at 1:00 at the Chapel at Concord Academy.
Following this memorial, there will be a reception at Drumlin Farm, 208 S. Great Road in Lincoln.

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." Henry David Thoreau

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to:
Francis Small Heritage Trust
P.O. Box 414
Limerick ME 04048

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Sunday, October 21, 2018

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Chapel at Concord Academy

166 Main St, Concord, MA 01742

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Reception with time for sharing

Sunday, October 21, 2018

2:30 - 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

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