• Cushing

Message from the Headmaster

Below is a message that Dr. Tracy sent to the Cushing community on March 1, 2012.

Dear Members of the Cushing Community,
I write with great sadness today as we mourn the loss of two beloved members of our community. Lee Dowling, wife of faculty member Paul Dowling, passed away yesterday morning following her illness with cancer, and Ed Tree, Cushing's Jazz Band Director and choral pianist, passed away suddenly yesterday afternoon, after suffering a heart attack. Their deaths are an enormous loss to us all.
Lee and Paul came to Cushing in 1979, when Paul joined our math department. As a dorm parent, a secretary in the Student Life Office for many years, and a welcoming campus presence, Lee touched the lives of countless students, staff and faculty families. Lee and Paul's son Michael, a member of the Class of 1999, was born and raised at Cushing, so the Dowlings' family life and this community have been richly intertwined through more than 30 years of their dedicated and loving service. Paul and Lee are also the proud grandparents of Tristan and Cali Marie. They are deeply beloved members of our community and have enriched everyone they have touched in their three decades at Cushing. Lee's passing is a loss to the very fiber of our school.

Ed Tree's service to Cushing, as accompanist for the Cushing Chorus and director of the Jazz Band, began in 2008. He was a valued teacher and colleague. Ed is survived by his wife Jo, five daughters and eight grandchildren.

Our counseling staff is ready to assist any students in their grief following the loss of Lee and Ed. Tomorrow morning's assembly will provide an opportunity for shared reflections, and the members of the Cushing choruses have gathered together this morning, to share time with one another as they face this sudden passing of a beloved teacher.

A celebration of Lee's life is being planned for a later date, and we will notify you of those plans. Many of you have asked about the Dowling family's preferences for memorials. If you wish to make a memorial contribution, the family has asked that it be directed to the Jimmy Fund at Dana-Farber Cancer Center, Boston, as Lee was deeply touched by the struggles of pediatric cancer patients during her own treatments.

Funeral plans for Ed have not yet been completed, and we will share those with students and their families when they are finalized.

Please join me and Jan in keeping the Dowling and Tree families in your thoughts and prayers.

James Tracy

Cushing Academy

39 School Street
Ashburnham, Massachusetts 01430

Cushing Academy

Cushing Academy exists for students and develops curious, creative, and confident learners and leaders. Founded in 1865, Cushing is a co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9-12 and PG. Our students, who come from over 30 states and 30 countries, excel in our outstanding academic, art, and athletic offerings. We welcome you to visit our community and beautiful 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, Mass., just one hour from Boston, to experience all that Cushing has to offer.