WILMINGTON, Del. — Following a long illness, Winthrop Hewitt Buswell, 82, of Wilmington, Delaware, and formerly of Gilford, New Hampshire, died peacefully on October 6, 2020, at Seasons Hospice, Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware. Two family members were at his bedside and other family from around the country were present via FaceTime technology.
Winthrop, known by many as “Buzz,” was born on October 29, 1937, to Oliver and Dorothy (Hewitt) Buswell of Tilton-Northfield. He graduated from Tilton High School in 1955 and earned both B.S. and M.Ed. degrees at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire.
He is survived by his four children, Donald Buswell of Cibolo, TX, Cynthia Bell of Eagle River, Alaska, Rebecca Kotsifas of Wilmington, Delaware, and Tamara McGonagle of Gilford, NH; and the mother of his children and former wife, Judith Buswell of Laconia, NH. He also leaves his brother John Buswell of Wilmington, Delaware; his sister, Deborah Andrews of West Lawn, Pennsylvania; seven grandchildren; one great-grandson; and numerous nieces and nephews and all their families.
Winthrop’s life was defined by his extroverted personality, his notable skills as a teacher of middle and high school youth, his passion for anything involving railroads, and his solo bass-baritone voice that earned him numerous praise and prizes.
His teaching career began in 1962 as a Social Studies teacher in Nashua and continued for several decades in both Laconia and Gilford, later in Stratford and Stamford, Connecticut, and finally in Wilmington, Delaware. He was quickly recognized for his innate ability to understand and motivate middle and high school students. At the end of his teaching career, he spent major portions of four years teaching English and American History in three cities in China and one city in Russia. His creative approach to the learning process is still remembered by his many students who even today recall him as their “favorite teacher.”
As a teenager, Winthrop learned to play the trumpet before his vocal abilities were discovered. He quickly acquired professional level skills on both the trumpet and as a vocal soloist, and was able to pursue both talents as a member of the 39th Army National Guard Band of NH.
Labeled “a prominent bass soloist in New England,” he was a featured soloist with the New Hampshire Music Festival, the NH Pemigewasset Choral Society, the Lakes Region Streetcar Company, the Delaware, Boston, and Utah Opera Companies, and other choral societies and theater companies in Connecticut and New York. In 1970, he was a finalist in the Metropolitan Opera Regional Auditions and performed at Boston Symphony Hall. He won first prize in the Boston Opera Company auditions in 1974. And that same year in 1974, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, he was a soloist at the dedication of the Mormon Temple in Washington, DC.
Winthrop was also a sought-after church soloist in NH, Connecticut, New York, and Delaware. While living in Wilmington, he was a popular soloist for the Concord Presbyterian Church and only a year ago presented a solo concert in this facility.
His artistic gifts extended into the visual arts, a talent he actively pursued in his later life. His paintings were displayed in galleries in New Hampshire and Wilmington, Delaware, and on his website.
Final arrangements include cremation and a gathering of family and friends during the summer of 2021 in New Hampshire where Winthrop’s parents are buried.