Photography

Alexander R. Gavitt, Jr.

April 25, 1934 ~ January 25, 2024 (age 89) 89 Years Old

Tribute

Alexander R. "Bud" Gavitt Jr. age 89, loving husband of the late Patricia Ann (McGuire) Gavitt died peacefully on Thursday, January 25, 2024 at Westerly Hospital. His daughter Cheryl was by his side throughout his short illness for which we are forever grateful. 

Born on April 25, 1934 in Pawcatuck, Connecticut to Alexander R. and Rachel (Ure) Gavitt, he was the eldest of four children. 

Alexander credited joining 4-H for his lifelong interest in agriculture and communications. This led him to pursuing a career as a writer, editor, and photographer.

At the age of 14, he began writing a "4-H Club Notes" column in the Westerly Sun plus three other weekly newspapers. Alexander and several other teens organized the Westerly 4-H Cloverleaf Club.

Two years later, he and several others helped to launch a "4-H Club of the Air" program on the Westerly radio station.

His first of many honors came in 1949, at the age of 15, when he attended the National 4-H Club Congress in Chicago as a Rhode Island poultry project winner. He made a return trip to the 4-H Congress in 1950 as one of two national winners in the community relations program. He spoke about his 4-H activities on Gene Autry's "The Singing Cowboy" radio program and received a college scholarship.

A year later he was honored as the Rhode Island 4-H winner in the leadership program. 

He graduated from Westerly High school in 1952. While a student there, Alexander played cornet in the band and formed his own six-piece orchestra performing at local Westerly and Stonington high school dances.

In 1956, he received a bachelor's degree in general agriculture from the University of Rhode Island. As a student there, he continued playing cornet and in his senior year served as president of the University Marching Band. He was co-news editor of the campus weekly newspaper and vice president of the Aggie club.

At graduation, he proudly received a commission as Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps. and attained the rank of Captain before his honorable discharge in 1964.

On September 5, 1957 he began his editorial career at his alma mater as an assistant agricultural writer/editor producing a quarterly magazine, "Rhode Island Agriculture." Four years later he joined the University of Connecticut as an agricultural news editor/writer and served in that capacity for nearly 31 years. He wrote news and feature articles and for 17 years was a managing editor of "Milestones," the college's three times a year magazine.

Early in his career at UConn he earned a master's degree in sociology.

His passion for agriculture extended well beyond his own writing. He taught news and feature writing to student interns from the department of English and Animal Science for 12 years and established a College of Agriculture scholarship for students interested in agricultural communications.

Over the years, Alexander received many awards for his writing and photographs, culminating in the highest honor the College of Agriculture gives, the Augustus and Charles Storrs Award. 

After retirement, he continued to write and publish. He edited and wrote for the College of Agriculture's bi-monthly "Journal," worked on newsletters for The Connecticut Christmas Tree Growers Association and the Maple Syrup Producers.

Kind and generous, Alexander was devoted to his family and friends. He loved dining out, watching Boston Red Sox and UConn basketball games, and attending movies and plays. We will treasure our memories and miss him dearly.

Alexander is survived by his three children; Susan Gavitt, Cheryl Bertora, and Stephen Gavitt, two grandchildren; Nicholas (Justine) Bertora and a great grandson Matthew, and Emily Bertora and a great granddaughter Ava, and his brother Bruce. He also leaves several nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends including his friends at The Elms in Westerly. 

He was predeceased by his wife Patricia, brother Donald, and sister and brother-in-law, Sandra and Victor Morgan Sr., and his parents Alexander and Rachel. 

The family would like to thank the many doctors, nurses, and staff at Westerly Hospital ICU and on the 3rd floor as well as Beacon Hospice for the wonderful and compassionate care he received. Thank you to Dr. George Bourganos and Dr. Joseph Romanello whom he admired and respected. Also, special thanks go to Mark Taylor and staff at The Elms in Westerly for making his golden years exceptional.

Calling hours will be held on Saturday, February 3, 2024 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at the Buckler-Johnston funeral home 121 Main Street, Westerly, Rhode Island with an Episcopal service immediately following in the same location at 1 p.m. Burial with military honors will follow at River Bend Cemetery, Westerly. 
 
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Alexander Gavitt to account number 30243 Gavitt Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications Fund at the University of Connecticut Foundation, Inc. Checks made payable to the UConn Foundation, Inc. can be mailed to:
The UConn Foundation, Inc.
Attn: Data Services
2390 Alumni Dr., Unit 3206
Storrs, CT 06269-3206

For online condolences, please visit www.buckler-johnston.com


Services

Visitation
Saturday
February 3, 2024

12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Buckler-Johnston Funeral Home
121 Main St.
Westerly, RI 02891

Service
Saturday
February 3, 2024

1:00 PM
Buckler-Johnston Funeral Home
121 Main St.
Westerly, RI 02891

Cemetery

River Bend Cemetery
117 Beach St.
Westerly, RI

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