NORTH KINGSTOWN – Last week, the Town of North Kingstown received its first donation from the Allen R. Southwick Trust, a trust fund that was established after its namesake passed away earlier this year. Southwick served as the director of the recreation department for many years, and the donation in his name, which totaled $5,000, was specifically given to the department.
Southwick was widely considered to be a local icon and an instrumental figure in the recreation department. He worked for the department for nearly 50 years, starting his full-time position in recreation in 1974. He was known throughout the town as a community staple, with his tireless work scheduling and organizing teams and league games, constructing fee schedules, prioritizing capital improvement projects, and overseeing the town beach, golf course and Allen Harbor Marina.
After he passed away in June, the Allen R. Southwick Trust was formed, with all the proceeds going toward the recreation department. In lieu of flowers, Southwick’s family requested that memorial contributions be given to the trust fund.
And last Monday, the trustee of the Allen R. Southwick fund, James Howe, presented the town with what he said was to be the first of many donations for the recreation department.
“Tonight we’re making the first of what we hope to be many donations to the town, specifically to our recreation department,” Howe said.
Standing next to Howe was Chelsey Dumas-Gibbs, the recently appointed director of the recreation department.
Dumas-Gibbs worked alongside Southwick for six years, and has said he was “nothing short of influential and inspirational.”
Howe said that, since Southwick’s passing, Dumas-Gibbs has been a “wonderful partner” in coordinating the trust.
“I’m standing up here with Ms. Dumas-Gibbs, who really needs no introduction,” Howe said. “She’s been a wonderful partner after Al’s passing just coordinating things with me.”
“I do have a check here this evening for $5,000. I know it would make Al really happy, so thank you very much,” Howe concluded.
Soon after his death in June, the town also celebrated Southwick’s life, with hundreds gathering at the North Kingstown Town Beach to commemorate his extensive history and legacy with the town.
And councilor Kerry McKay, one of Southwick’s long-time friends, continued that commemoration during last week’s council meeting.
“I think it should be recognized that Al Southwick spent 40 years of his life working for the town of North Kingstown, and even in his demise he keeps on giving,” McKay said. “We’re very blessed in this community to have people like that who have stepped up above and beyond and planned ahead and did the right things for us. We can’t say enough about Al. Our sports programs have benefited, the community has benefited. He was just top notch. He was a great guy, here’s to Al.”