When George E. Mansfield—one of the longest serving city councilors in Newton’s history—was celebrating the holidays with his extended family in Maryland, as he often did, it wasn’t unusual for him to rush home as soon as possible to deal with city business.
His dedication to Newton and his wife, Margaret Ann and daughter, Julia, is what those who knew Mansfield, 81, for best. He passed away last week after fighting a serious illness for several months.
A longtime resident of Newton Highlands, Mansfield served on the Board of Alderman and later the City Council from Ward 6 for 13 consecutive terms, from 1984 to 2010. He served as chair of the Land Use Committee and played a key role in the establishment of the Newton Free Library on Homer Street.
As chair of the Public Facilities Committee at the time the library was built, he led a successful compromise that resulted in saving several trees that would have been demolished by those in favor of a larger parking lot.
“The library was a real passion of his,” said Mary Pat Gray, a cousin of his through marriage. “He was a real stalwart of the community, but family always came first,” she recalled.
Councilor Lisle Baker, who served alongside Mr. Mansfield for most of his career. Remembered him as a man who “was devoted to the city and was highly regarded by his fellow Council members and constituents.
“He had a wonderful sense of humor and quiet demeanor that contributed to his success,” Baker said.
Mr. Mansfield served for a number of years as the City Planner for the town of Carlisle, where he helped preserve protected open space, now totaling more than one-third of the town’s land area.
He received his undergraduate degree from the College of the Holy Cross and his master’s degree from Cornell University.
He is survived by his wife and daughter. A brother predeceased him.
A memorial mass for Mr. Mansfield will be held at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 18 in Sacred Heart Parish, 1321 Centre St., Newton, followed by inurnment in the Columbarium at Newton Cemetery.