George “Gusto” Seddon (1923-2013)

Whether it was the students at Westford Academy who knew him as “Gusto,” his older friends who called him “Cuz” or the people who would wait in long lines at Market Basket just to talk to him as he bagged their groceries, all would agree that they liked and admired George Seddon. 

George S. Seddon was born in Rome, New York on October 1, 1923. He attended school in Yonkers, New York and later graduated from the Drake Preparation School in the Class of 1941. George would then continue his education at New York University. 

However, the outbreak of World War II would interrupt the young Seddon’s education. He enlisted in the United States Army on January 22, 1943 and attended Army combat medic school. After the completion of his training, George became part of the elite 10th Mountain Division which had been fighting in Italy. During his service with the 10th Mountain, George saw action in the key battle of Riva Ridge which was one of the keys to the Allied victory in Italy. Upon his discharge from the U.S. Army, Seddon received the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, American Defense Service Medal, and the Bronze Medal for helping save the lives of three of his fellow soldiers including his commanding officer.

Corporal Seddon left the U.S. Army in November 1945. After returning from the service, George began an extensive career in the publishing industry working for the R.L. Polk & Company as a production manager. In 1948, he married his beloved wife Phyllis who had also served in the military during W.W. II in the Navy WAVES. The couple had no children of their own.

George was also a past commander of the Frederick S. Healy American Legion Post 159 in Graniteville and a member of the V.F.W. Mattawanakee Post 6539 in Forge Village. George Seddon also came from a long history of Salvation Army officers and continued to devote much of his life to their ministries. 

Following his retirement from the R.L. Polk Company, George remained active by working at Market Basket in Westford where he was known as the “Mayor.” People would wait in George’s line at the market just to talk to him while he bagged their groceries. He would greet everyone who came into the store and said good-bye to everyone as they left.

Also, during this time George and Phyllis became involved in Westford youth and Westford Academy sports and cheerleading programs. If you went to any youth sports or Academy games, the first person you would see was George Seddon. He would be up and down the stands selling 50/50 raffle tickets and Phyllis would work in the concession stand. It was George’s enthusiasm and effervescent spirit that earned him the name “Gusto” from the students. Together the couple helped raise thousands of dollars for town sports programs. 

In appreciation for Phyllis and George’s great contributions to Westford Academy sports, the Westford Academy Hall of Fame inducted the couple into their Hall of Fame in 2004. They were the first husband and wife team and the first members of the Hall of Fame inducted for their non-athletic achievements. The well-deserved election to the W.A. Hall of Fame illustrated the gratitude of the Westford Academy community toward the couple who gave so much to W.A. sports. 

The couple also received the Gordon B. Seavey Appreciation award in 2013. The town presented this award annually to the person or persons who have made significant contributions to the town of Westford. During the presentation of the award Westford School Superintendent Bill Olsen described George and Phyllis as “two of the most giving people who have lived in this town.” 

George Seddon who died in 2013 was a kind, funny, patriotic, and generous person who was liked by all who knew him. His boundless energy and enthusiasm were fitting examples to the young people he worked with in Westford Sports. They all became Phyllis and George’s “kids.”

But somehow when you go to a Westford Academy sporting event it is not the same without George. He was everywhere during the game, and no one knows where he got his energy. The town will always be grateful and miss George “Gusto” Seddon. (James VanBever, Researcher, Westford Historical Society, August 2022)

“Gusto” George S. Seddon,  Lowell Sun, January 2, 2014.
2014 Westford Town Report. Page 46

Listen as George and Phyllis to recall their service during World War II

The interviews are part of a collection of CDs “Interviews with Westford WWII Veterans conducted by Christopher Crane, Boy Scouts of America, Andover Troop 73. Presented to the Westford Museum (2008). The content from the original CD  was edited and reformatted for audio use by Eleanor Rosatone (2022)

George  enlisted in the U.S. Army on January 22, 1943. He served as a Combat Medic with the elite 10th Mountain Division, 604th Field Artillery Battalion, in the North Apennine Mountains of Italy during the attack on Riva Ridge, which led to the allied advance over Po Valley. He received the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, American Defense Service Medal, and the Bronze Star for saving his commander’s life.

Phyliss was born in Cambridge Mass in 1923 and served in the US Navy from 1944 to 1946 with the WAVES Hospital Corps as a Hospital Apprentice. First Class caring for wounded soldiers at Bethesda, MD, Chelsea, MA and Quonset Point, R.I.  She and George were married in 1948.  George served as a medic with the 10th Mountain Division and received several medals including the Bronze Star for saving his commander’s life.  Phyliss “DiDi” moved to Westford where they were very active in the community, and especially with the Academy sports program for over 30 years.  Both were inducted into the Westford Academy Sports Hall of Fame in recognition of all their contributions.  Phyliss died in February 2013 and George in December that year. ( Ron Johnson, Volunteer, Westford Historical Society 2022)

Thank you George and Phyllis for your service