On the afternoon of Friday February 19, 2021, Coach Tom Lovett, at age 87, crossed his final goal line, having lived a full life and giving all he had, just as he had encouraged generations of students and athletes to do over his 40 years in education. His sudden death leaves a huge void in the lives of his family and friends, as well as the thousands of people whose lives he touched and inspired.
He was born on April 20, 1933 to William E. and Edith (Bourne) Lovett in Rutland, VT. He was a stand out student-athlete at MSJ, excelling especially in basketball and known for his impossible-to-defend hook shot. He went to St. Mike’s for a year before enlisting in the army, where he served as an MP, and once his tour of duty as over, he transferred to UVM, where he joined Sigma Alpha Episilon and majored in business. While at UVM, he fell in love and married Laura Walsh, who, as Bellows Falls girl, had cheered against him in high school. They married on August 10,1957 and raised six children, all born within eight years.
Tom first worked at National Cash Register, but immediately knew this was not his vocation. He wanted to coach. Late in 1957, he applied for a job in Pittsford, VT, where he taught English, Social Studies, and French, directed the Glee Club and coached boys and girls soccer. The next year he coached basketball. He moved on to teach and coach at Shelburne High School, where his basketball team enjoyed great success, and then in 1960, he moved to Bellows Falls to teach ninth-grade Social Studies and coach tennis and the sport in which he was to make his biggest impact: football.
After enjoying great success at Bellows Falls, he and Laura moved their now large and young family to Wolfeboro, NH, where Tom became assistant principal, and soon after, Varisty football coach at the recently established Kingswood Regional High School. His Kingswood years were filled with many successes, and those who were touched by his mentorship, coaching, and example remember him fondly. He saw the best in each person, and each person, regardless of whether they were a star or someone sent to him for discipline, felt his genuine care for and belief in them. He firmly believed in each person’s ability to overcome whatever difficulty they were facing, and he inspired that same belief in them. His motto “If it is to be, it is up to me” (“ten words, two letters each”) has encouraged generations of young people. Recently Kingswood has installed a plaque in his honor at the football field, named an annual football jamboree for him, and established the Tom Lovett Scholarship Fund for an athletes who has demonstrated the traits Coach tried to instill in each of his athletes.
In 1986, he and Laura moved to Springfield, VT, where as athletic director and football coach, he took a program that had been winless for years to the state championship game. Coaches throughout Vermont remember the crispness of his team’s warm-ups; their discipline, teamwork, and toughness during games; and their sportsmanship on and off the field. He was a passionate promoter of school spirit, leading pep rallies and even leading gyms full of people in singing the school song. He exuded love and pride for the school and town, and respected by they returned that love and respect, naming him the guest of honor at a recent Alumni Parade and even more recently naming him to the Springfield Hall of Fame.
After a brief time as an administrator at Kurn Hattin Homes, where his counseling expertise helped many, he and Laura returned to Wolfeboro.
As an educator, his methods were not always conventional, for he approached each person with keen insight as to what would help them change their lives for the better. Numerous young people have testified that he transformed—even saved their lives. Whether a colleague or supervisor; a student or staff member; a parent or fan; a referee or opponent. He treated everyone with genuine respect and integrity. More than his impressive records in tennis, baseball, basketball, and football—which includes the only undefeated state championship in Kingswood school history—he is remembered for his Christian example and universal respect for the human dignity of all. Whether he coached you, taught you, mentored you, or advised you, when he touched your life, your soul felt its worth.
That was especially true for his family. He was an exceptionally loving husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. Whether writing letters to each child or grandchild every week that they were away at college, or entertaining grandchildren and great grandchildren with rhymes like “Ooey Gooey was a worm”, he shared his love generously. He fostered a sense of family unity through traditions and shared pride, and he passed on to his children his near obsession with proper order and preparation—as well as a healthy dose of “the Lovett sense of humor.” He was always willing to help each one with whatever was needed, never counting the cost, and he prayed for each family member by name every day.
While his vocation as educator and coach helped him change countless lives for the better, and his vocation as husband and father was at the core of his identity, these vocations--and everything else in his life--flowed from his faith. He was a great teacher and coach because he was taught and coached by God; he was a great husband and father because he knew the love and Fatherhood of God; he could speak with confidence about the goodness of each person because he knew the good ness of God. Tom trusted the Good Lord to do as He promised, and he believed deeply that His Word was true and His Ways were right. He was constantly aware of His Presence and even had an inside track on getting Him to change the weather to his (or his team’s or family’s) advantage. He made sure his family always said grace before each meal and thanked the cook after each meal (he led his teams in a similar ritual before and after each game). He made sure, above all, that his family thanked God for everything, and he always said that his family never wanted for anything because of God’s unfailing goodness.
He is predeceased by his parents, his brothers John, Jim, and Joe and his sister Mary. He is survived by his brother Bill (Shelburne, VT) and sister Ann Chiango (Holliston, MA). He leaves behind his wife Laura, his children Tom (and wife Ann), Mike (and wife Roylee), Joe (and wife Diane), Terri (and husband Joe Toner), Ann (and husband Bill MacGregor), and, his youngest, Karen. He will be missed very much by his 20 grandchildren, and 16 great grandchildren—as well as numerous members of his extended family.
Calling hours will be held at Lord Funeral Home in Wolfeboro from 5:00-7:00 pm on Friday, February 26, 2021 and there will be a Mass of Resurrection celebrated at St. Katherine Drexel Church in Wolfeboro at 11:00 am on Saturday, February 27.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all who attend the calling hours will need to wear masks and remain socially distanced, and the Mass will be limited to family only but will be live streamed for those who wish to participate.
Donations can be made, in lieu of flowers or gifts, to the Tom Lovett Student Athlete Prize at Kingswood Regional High School or the St. Katherine Drexel Charitable Fund
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