The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 17, 2010


A. E. Benfield

Father of conservation in Carlisle

A. E. “Ben” Benfield of West Street passed away in his sleep on Wednesday, December 8, eight days after his 99th birthday. He was born in Paris in 1911, was brought up in San Francisco and England, graduating from the Rugby School. Ben completed his undergraduate degree at M.I.T. and then received his Ph.D. in geophysics from Trinity College, Cambridge, England. His research took him back to his beloved Austria and Switzerland where he loved to hike. It was on one such hiking trip that he met his wife, Marion Bridgman whom he married in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1935.

In 1939, Ben published a groundbreaking paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London on measuring temperature and thermal conductivity in bore-holes. He taught Physics at Williams College from 1939 to 1946, except for a hiatus for military service at Hanscom Field, where he was involved in the effort to improve radar capabilities during World War II. In 1946, he became a physics professor in the Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University, and published a number of papers in geophysical and mathematical journals, as well as several articles in Scientific American.

In 1946, Ben bought his home in Carlisle and lived there for 64 years. He retired from Harvard in 1960 and started his second career in conservation. He was one of the founders of the Carlisle Conservation Foundation and chaired the Carlisle Conservation Commission from 1969 to 1978. In 1987, he was the Carlisle Honored Citizen for his vision and efforts on behalf of Carlisle’s citizens. In 1988 and again in 2001, Ben won the Carlisle Conservationist of the Year award. The town of Carlisle enjoys unprecedented open space that will exist in perpetuity thanks to Ben’s efforts. As well, he delighted readers with his weekly articles in the Carlisle Gazette, starting in 1975, and later for the Carlisle Mosquito. In all, he wrote more than 400 articles, ranging from some phenomenon of nature, to history, to the foibles of man.

Ben leaves two sons: Peter and his wife, Barbara, who live in Needham, and Michael and his wife, Tara, who live in Monson. A younger son, David died in a climbing accident in Texas in 1970. Ben also leaves six grandchildren: Susan, David, Heather, Rebecca and Andrew Benfield and Kristen Waddell. He also leaves nine great-grandchildren. His family, friends and cadre of devoted caregivers will all miss him.

A funeral service was held at the Dee Funeral Home in Concord last Sunday, followed by graveside services in Green Cemetery, Carlisle. In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to the Carlisle Conservation Foundation, P.O. Box 300, Carlisle, MA 01741.

A memorial service will be held in the spring. ∆

Boston Globe high school sports awards

The Boston Globe has announced its fall high school sports awards. Carlisle students who were honored are:


Cam McGrory – Boys Soccer


Ryan Harris – Golf

Will Toczylowski – Boys Soccer

Peter George – Football

Megan Ratcliffe – Girls Cross- Country

Makayla Barton – Field Hockey

Monica Diercks – Field Hockey

Caroline Guild – Field Hockey

Daniel Canina of Martin Street, a senior at Williams College, was selected as part of the 2010 edition of the New England Football Writers Division III All-New England Team. He also garnered All-NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference) First Team recognition this season. Canina, an All-NESCAC Second Team member in 2009, was part of a defensive unit that ranked among the leaders in multiple statistical categories. Canina recorded 23 tackles, 5.5 going for a loss of nine yards and 2.0 sacks, along with three quarterback hurries and a pass break-up. ∆

Victoria Prete of Prospect Street recently celebrated her one-year anniversary as a Big Sister to Navaeh, 9, of Waltham. The Big Sister Association of Greater Boston wishes to congratulate Prete on making a difference in the life of her Little Sister as a caring, supportive friend and mentor who is there just for her. To volunteer or for further information, please visit ∆

Wicked author Gregory Maguire will appear on CCTV’s “Discussing Creativity” next week with host Marilyn Cugini of Curve Street. Cugini says, “This was probably the best show on creativity I’ve done thus far. I like to think of it as a special Christmas gift from Gregory to Concord and Carlisle. He’s a busy writer and speaker, and he made an exception to his usual scheduling policy to make this appearance at CCTV for the benefit of the high school and the towns.”

“Discussing Creativity” airs on CCTV Channel 8 every Monday night at 9 p.m., Wednesday at 5 p.m. and Friday at 9 a.m. Gregory Maguire’s episode will air December 20, 22, 24, 27, 29 and 31. ∆

© 2010 The Carlisle Mosquito