Edward P. (Ned) Taft III, 59 of Holden, Massachusetts, died at home on September 5, 2009. He had been battling brain cancer for over a year. Mr. Taft was a nationally recognized fisheries biologist with degrees from Brown University and Northeastern University. He started his career at Stone and Webster Engineering Corporation during the 1970’s when the Clean Water Act forced electrical utilities to consider the impact of cooling water withdrawal on fish and other aquatic species. He designed innovative field and laboratory experiments to predict fish survival and behavior associated with a range of fish protection systems. He also helped to develop the widely used Modular Inclined Screen technology to guide fish away from water intakes. He did much of his pioneering work at Alden Research Laboratory (Alden) and eventually joined the company in 1994 as a Vice President, building what has become a world-renowned environmental sciences group. In 2000, he succeeded George Hecker as President and led the company through an unprecedented period of growth, nearly tripling the number of employees over an eight year period. He stepped down from that position in May of this year.
“Ned was a strong leader and highly respected by employees, friends, clients, and competitors,” said current Alden President Stuart Cain. “He has left an indelible mark on Alden and on the power generation industry as a whole. He fought his disease the way he lived his life—with vigor, compassion, and an unwavering positive attitude. Our thoughts are with his wife, Libby, their family, and their many friends.”
In June of this year, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) honored Taft with a lifetime achievement award. The honor was given in recognition of Taft’s highly successful career and leadership at Alden in developing technology that has reduced environmental impacts at power plants.
A public Memorial Service for Mr. Taft will be held on October 24th, 2009 at 1:30 p.m. at the Salem Cross Inn, 260 Main St., West Brookfield, Massachusetts. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Ned Taft Scholarship in Environmental Sciences Fund and sent to UMass Amherst, Records & Gift Processing, Memorial Hall, 134 Hicks Way, Amherst, MA 01003-9270 or, to UMass Memorial Foundation, (note on subject line: Brain Tumor Research, Dr. Lyndon Kim), and sent to the Development Department, 333 South Street, Shrewsbury, MA 01545.
Ned is survived by his wife of 36 years, Libby (Johnson); his daughter, Betsey Taft McCarthy and her husband, Billy; his son Ben and his fiancée, Lisa Spinelli; his granddaughter, Fiona Taft McCarthy; and his sister, Betsey Taft Colby and her husband, Bill. He is also survived by brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, a nephew and several great-nieces and great-nephews.