Hessie Sargent

Hester L. Sargent at a Tufts Board of Trustees meeting
© Daniel Bernstein

Hester Sargent, trustee emerita, dies

Funeral services were held on February 15 at Boston's Old North Church for Hester L. "Hessie" Sargent, trustee emerita of Tufts University, who died on February 6 at Tufts-New England Medical Center. She was 82.

Sargent served on the Board of Trustees from 1964 to 1978 and was elected a trustee emerita immediately thereafter. She was one of Tufts' most active emeritus trustees and maintained a constant presence in university life right up to the time of her death. As a trustee, she served on the Executive, Development, Buildings & Grounds and New Trustee committees.

As a young wife and mother, Sargent began a lifelong association with Tufts-New England Medical Center (T-NEMC) as a volunteer, donor and overseer. Her numerous volunteer positions included gift shop staff, operating room clerk and committee chair. In recognition of her service and support, T-NEMC elected Sargent to its Board of Governors. In 1975, she became the first woman to chair that board.

Sargent was well known in the greater Boston community for her many other associations and good works. She was a former trustee of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the U.S.S. Constitution Museum and a former overseer to Boston's Museum of Science. She was also a director of several companies, including John Hancock, New England Telephone, Boston Safe Deposit and Trust and Scudder, Stevens & Clark. Sargent also was involved with the New England Patriots football team as an owner and director.

Born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Mich., Sargent was the wife of George L. Sargent, brother of former Massachusetts Gov. Frank Sargent. George Sargent died in 1962. Although her Tufts friends know her as Hessie, her daughter, Ford, says that her family name is "Tiger," a name affectionately coined by then-Tufts President Nils Wessell. Just three weeks before her death, Sargent was united with her four children and all her grandchildren at a family reunion in North Carolina.

Sargent is survived by her four children, Ford Sargent Madeira of Sherborn, Mass.; Wendy Lloyd Anderson of Jacksonville, Fla.; the Rev. Nancy Sargent McGrath of Sun River, Ore.; and G. Lee Sargent Jr., of Davidson, N.C.

Instead of flowers, the family requests that donations be considered for the U.S.S. Constitution Museum, P.O. Box 1812, Boston, MA 02129.