Last Friday, first selectman Lynne Vanderslice announced that Department of Public Works director Tom Thurkettle will be retiring at the end of the summer, effective Sept. 1.

Thurkettle (pictured at work, above center, blue shirt)  has worked for the Town of Wilton for more than 35 years. It was clear from the press release issued by the first selectman’s office how bittersweet the news was, as Vanderslice congratulated Tom and wished him well in retirement, but noted that she was making the announcement “with mixed feelings.” She described the respected and much-liked head of the DPW as “a valuable part of the fabric of the Town” in his almost four decades working for Wilton.

“His handprint is on much of the growth and changes seen during those years. Many of us, including the eight first selectmen with whom he has served, have benefited from his knowledge and the vast history he keeps stored in his brain.

Although Thurkettle “leaves big shoes to fill,” according to Vanderslice, she says the town’s human resources director Sarah Taffel will work with the Board of Selectmen to develop a plan for selecting his replacement, and that they’re working to keep the transition smooth.

“With such a strong and talented DPW staff, I am confident things will proceed smoothly until a replacement can be found.”