Edward J. Best, a former state representative, former chairman of the Weston Board of Finance, and longtime Weston resident, died on Nov. 22, 2012, at The Carolton in Fairfield. He was 88.
Mr. Best was born on Dec. 21, 1923, in Brooklyn, N.Y.
In 1935, at the age of 11, he moved with his family from Brooklyn to Garden City, N.Y., on Long Island.
As a young man in high school, he was both an athlete and a scholar, participating in and earning varsity letters for hockey, lacrosse and football. He was an active Boy Scout, achieving scouting’s highest rank of Eagle Scout. He graduated from Garden City High School when he was 16.
Mr. Best served in the United States Navy while attending Cornell University. He was a member of Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity and the Quill and Dagger Honor Society. He earned varsity letters at Cornell in hockey and lacrosse, and was chosen as an All-American in lacrosse. He graduated from Cornell in 1947 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
On July 25, 1950, he married Millicent “Millie” Rudd Best, to whom he was married for 53 years, until her death in 2004. Ms. Best is perhaps best known as the woman who started Weston’s annual Green-Up Day and who helped make it an annual statewide day of environmental awareness. The Kiwanis Club of Weston’s Millie Best Award for environmental awareness is named in her honor.
The Bests made their home on Goodhill Road in Weston in 1954, a home Mr. Best lived in for 56 years, until April 2010. There, they raised their three children and contributed in many ways to the Weston community.
Mr. Best worked at Perkin-Elmer in Norwalk for 44 years until his retirement in 1985. While working there, he was appointed by both the Nixon and Ford administrations to serve on the International Trade Commission. He was honored and proud to hold this post and made regular trips to Washington, D.C., for meetings and hearings.
Mr. Best represented Weston in the state General Assembly’s House of Representatives for one term, from 1961 to 1963.
He served on many town boards and commissions, including as chairman of the Board of Tax Review (1960-61), a member of the Board of Finance (1964-71), chairman of the Board of Finance (1972-73), and a member of the Board of Ethics (2000).
Mr. Best was an active member of Norfield Church in Weston for 56 years. He served on many church committees and often participated in the church’s annual fair activities.
He loved to sail and was a member of Cedar Point Yacht Club in Westport for more than 50 years, where he raced one-design and offshore sailboats. Mr. Best was also a charter member of the Saugatuck River Power Squadron, and he taught piloting and navigation courses for more than 30 years.
A lifelong athlete, he was an avid skier and traveled to his beloved second home in South Londonderry, Vt., every winter weekend for 40 years. He became a Certified Alpine Ski Racing Official, refereeing national- and international-level alpine skiing events.
Mr. Best was a man who was liked and admired by all who knew him, his family said. “Our father was a man of tremendous integrity, who believed in treating all people with respect and dignity. In all aspects of his life — family, professional, and athletics — his commitment was complete, honest and generous. Our dad was a wonderful role model.”
He is survived by his three children: Stephen Best of the Black Rock section of Bridgeport; Susan Best Greene and her husband, Michael Greene, of Fairfield; and William Best and his wife, Tedde, of Orono, Minn. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Jaime Greene Martin and Daniel Greene, and Taylor and Blaze Best.
He was predeceased by his brother, Robert Best.
For his family, Mr. Best penned some autobiographical memories of his early life, which may be found on the website edbestmemories.com.
A service to celebrate Mr. Best’s life will be held Sunday, Dec. 16, at 1 p.m. at Norfield Church, 64 Norfield Road, Weston.
Memorial donations may be made to the Boy Scouts of America, Connecticut Yankee Council, P.O. Box 32, Milford CT 06460.