A good man has passed away. Madison Dorman Safford left this earth peacefully at his home on March 24, 2020 at the young age of 83, after a brief battle with cancer. He spent his final weeks surrounded by his loving family, sharing memories and a chuckle or two.
Born in Cambridge, VT on June 6th, 1936 to John and Esther Safford, he was affectionately known as “Matt”. He grew up in Cambridge and graduated from Cambridge High School in 1954.Matt joined the US Navy soon after.
Matt and Arlene Rogers started school together at the age of five. Although classmates for twelve years, Arlene didn’t truly take notice until she saw Matt in his naval uniform when he was home on leave in 1955. In 1957, they married and started their life-long adventure together. First stationed in Norfolk, Virginia and then onto the US Naval submarine base in Groton, Connecticut,they laid their roots in nearby Mystic and raised their family.
Matt traveled the world both on and under the sea. From the USS Damato to the USS Thomas A. Edison, he served an admirable 22 years, retiring in 1976.
Traveling was still in Matt’s blood after retirement, so he purchased a tractor trailer and traveled up and down the eastern seaboard. As an independent long-haul trucker, he delivered goods from New York City to Florida. He enjoyed telling the family about his escapades during his short visits home.
In 1978, Arlene gave Matt the gift he was waiting for - a note saying she was ready to move home. In 1979, they moved back to Vermont and together they built their forever home on “The Hill” in Jeffersonville.
Matt joined the Town of Cambridge highway department in 1982 before retiring in 2000. During those years, Matt and Arlene opened and operated “Matt’s Quik Stop”, located on the Mountain Road just outside the gates of Smugglers’ Notch. They worked countless hours and enjoyed everyone they met.
After retiring, Matt and Arlene enjoyed a few years “wintering” in Florida but decided it was not for them. In 2003, Smugglers’ Notch started a guest shuttle service and Matt happily joined the Smuggs team. Without question, Matt enjoyed every moment working for Smugglers’. It was with great sadness that he announced his retirement in November 2019 due to illness.
Matt enjoyed many hobbies. Two of his favorites were coaching baseball and teaching the history of Cambridge to elementary students. On the baseball diamond, he was known as “Coach Saff”. He loved to play catch and teach the game that was so dear to his heart. At Cambridge Elementary, he spent countless hours preparing for and teaching third grade students during their “Cambridge History” week. He also loved learning and sharing his knowledge of the Safford genealogy.
A bucket list accomplishment that Matt thoroughly enjoyed was co-authoring a history book, “Postcards from Cambridge”, with his close friend and fellow historian, Roberta Marsh.
In 2015, after 58 years of marriage, Matt’s beloved wife, Arlene, passed away. Besides his parents, he was also predeceased by his brother, James, along with many close in-laws and friends.
Matt leaves behind his kids, Mark Safford, Scott (Donna) Safford and Ann (David) Messier. His grandchildren, Heather (Ryan) Shannon, Ryan (Nicole) Safford, Tyler Safford (Chelsea McDonald)and Jason (Jaemmie) Messier. Matt was even blessed with four great-grandchildren – Summer Messier (13), Autumn Shannon (5), Dax Shannon (3)and Avery Safford (1). Affectionately nicknamed “Pop”by his grandkids,he had a great influence on their lives. From showing them love and kindness to sharing his lifelong passion for softball and baseball, Matt always put his family first.
Additionally, he leaves behind sisters, Elizabeth Reynolds and Mary Paulman, sister-in-law, Maxine Rogers, and brother-in-law and best friend, Albert (Gerry) Rogers.
The Safford family would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all who helped Matt through this cancer journey. The kindness shown will never be forgotten. A special thank-you to nurse Stephanie Craig whose compassion, guidance and enlightenment helped us more than one will ever know.
For those wishing to make a donation in Matt’s memory, please consider Lamoille Home Health and Hospice, (54 Farr Ave., Morrisville, VT 05661) as they are a godsend to the Lamoille community.
A celebration of Matt’s life has yet to be set. In the meantime, when you drink a Coke or eat a cookie, please think of him fondly, lovingly and with a smile. Please visit awrfh.com to share your memories and condolences.