John W.G. Tuthill, 84, Was Physician, Veteran
John Wily Garrett Tuthill, a pediatrician in Exeter, N.H. and a longtime summer resident of Edgartown, died Feb. 4 at Exeter Hospital after a brief illness. He was 84 and lived in Kensington, N.H.
A native of Evanston, Ill., Dr. Tuthill started spending summers on the Island as a small boy with his parents, Richard Stanley Tuthill and Caroline Elizabeth Garrett Tuthill. They first lived in a house in Edgartown near his grandparents, Thomas Henry Garrett and Stella Foulkes Garrett of St. Louis. The Tuthills' house was later moved to Eel Pond and expanded.
As a teenager he often took the wheel himself on the drive east every summer, which took several days on old U.S. Route 20. When he was 16, he and a friend drove the family car by themselves to St. Louis, showing a spirit of adventure and curiosity that never left him.
On the Vineyard and in New Hampshire, where he lived for nearly 50 years, Dr. Tuthill was a strong advocate of land conservation. In the 1970s he donated a 154-acre tract on the Vineyard Haven Road to the Sheriff's Meadow Foundation. The land is now known as the Caroline Tuthill Preserve.
Dr. Tuthill was an avid sailor and loved small boat racing. As a young man he crewed for Bob Brown, his uncle, in the Edgartown Yacht Club races. He also cruised with family and friends up and down the New England coast into the 1990s. The Tuthills sold the house on Eel Pond in 1993.
A 1943 graduate of Harvard Medical School, Dr. Tuthill did his medical residency at Boston City Hospital and at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York. In 1950 he spent six months on the staff at St. Mary's Hospital in London, England. He also worked at Boston Children's Hospital in the late 1940s and early 1950s. For many years after moving to New Hampshire he returned to Harvard Medical School to teach courses in pediatrics.
Dr. Tuthill moved to Exeter in 1954 from Boston with his wife, Nora Machado Tuthill, to join the newly-formed Exeter Clinic, where he was the first full- time pediatrician.
As well as being familiar as a doctor, through office visits and house calls in the New Hampshire Seacoast region, Dr. Tuthill was known for his community involvement ranging from the Kensington School Board to the Rockingham Choral Society.
Choral singing was a particular passion of his, starting with high school productions of Gilbert & Sullivan operas. While at Harvard he sang with the Glee Club, which appeared several times with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Serge Koussevitsky. He also belonged to Chorus Pro Musica.
In 1940 he was graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Chemistry. Because of World War II medical school was accelerated and he graduated in 1943. Because of a shortage of doctors in the Pacific Dr. Tuthill was shipped out after just 10 days of training for active duty. He served in the U.S. Navy as a lieutenant from 1943 to 1946, assigned to the 22nd Marine Division. He saw combat at the Okinawa invasion in 1945. After V-J Day he served with the U.S. military in China.
In 1970 Dr. Tuthill served as head physician at a hospital in Ganado, Ariz. with Project HOPE, helping train Navajo men and women to work as health care providers.
After retiring from full-time practice at the Exeter Clinic in 1975, Dr. Tuthill became the medical director at Phillips Exeter Academy, where he had been associate medical director since 1954. He retired in 1986.
After leaving Phillips Exeter Academy, Dr. Tuthill was involved in numerous groups, including the Greater Piscataqua Charitable Foundation, N.H. Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Spaulding Youth Center and the Rockingham Land Trust.
In addition to his wife, Dr. Tuthill is survived by four sons, John G. Tuthill and his wife, Doris Kowalewski, of Acworth, N.H., Andrew M. Tuthill and his wife, Susan Frankenstein, of Etna, N.H., Alan B. Tuthill and his wife, Kathryn Fessenden, of Kensington, N.H. and William D. Tuthill and his partner, Gregory Anderson, of Albany, N.Y.; and four grandsons, Noah K. Tuthill, Isaiah K. Tuthill, Benson R. Tuthill and Samuel F. Tuthill.
A funeral service was held Feb. 10 at Christ Church, Exeter, N.H. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Spaulding Youth Center Foundation, P.O. Box 247, Tilton, N.H. 03276.