Obituary of Kenneth W. Seyffer
It was a wonderful life.
Kenneth W. Seyffer, fondly referred to as “The Chief”, died peacefully on May 2, 2023, five days after his 102nd birthday at home in his cottage at Loomis Village in South Hadley, Massachusetts, where he and his wife, Lolita, lived for the last twenty years. Born in Brooklyn, New York on April 27, 1921, he went on to live a life perhaps best captured by Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Dedicated to family, community and country, he led a life of service above self and shared an unwavering commitment to hard work, unflagging optimism and a joyful trust in others.
A proud graduate of the Peddie School and Colgate University, he joined the U.S. Army in 1942 as the United States entered World War II, and served with courage under General George Patton in the Battle of the Bulge. Returning to the United States as part of “the Greatest Generation”, he married Lolita Kingsbury in Glencoe, Illinois and following the footsteps of his father and older brother, Howard, began his career with Ford Motor Company in Cleveland, Ohio and later in Pittsfield and Holyoke.
Ken truly exemplified a life of purpose, especially in helping others grow and prosper in the communities in which they lived. He found his niche as the quintessential community banker, going the extra mile to fund the dreams of his fellow citizens as they strove to build something bigger than themselves. Beginning as a loan officer in Holyoke and then in Pittsfield, he rose through the ranks with both persistence and patience to become Senior Vice President of Shawmut Bank with responsibility for retail banking in New England outside of the Boston area.
As a civic leader in Holyoke, he was chosen by his peers at different times to become Chairman of the Board of Holyoke Hospital, President of the Holyoke YMCA, Treasurer of the Rotary Club, Commissioner of the Holyoke Gas and Electric Department and President of the Holyoke Taxpayers Association. In recognition of his contributions to the community, he is a past recipient of the prestigious Dwight Award and was selected as Grand Marshal of the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade. In more recent years, he had been a Board member of Loomis Village and as he turned 100, was still asking thoughtful penetrating questions as a member of the Investment and Finance Committees.
The cornerstones of his life were his family and lifelong friends with good times spent on back decks, in front of fires, on the golf course and at the beach. In his 100’s, he still enjoyed and indeed rarely missed an evening martini with his dear seemingly ageless cat, Max. While always full of curiosity and good questions, he was equally adept at sharing well-informed opinions molded through an insatiable appetite for reading and rigorous debate. On the eve of his 102nd birthday, he was still sending daily quotations of good advice and good humor to a faithful following.
Together with Lolita, his wife of nearly seventy-two years until her death in August, 2016, they raised four daughters: Laura Dorman, Louise Kane, Katherine Opdycke and Virginia Lewis who in turn with their husbands raised their own families in California, Virginia and Nevada, ensuring new generations of nine grandchildren and sixteen great-grandchildren to carry on the Seyffer legacy. This was his “Clan” who he watched over each and every day with great pride.
A memorial service remembering the lives of both Kenneth and Lolita Seyffer is planned but not yet scheduled for Loomis Village in South Hadley. Burial will be at a later date at the Pittsfield Cemetery in Pittsfield. It was indeed a wonderful life.To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Kenneth Seyffer, please visit our Tree Store