Donald P. Tutson, 78, of New Milford, died peacefully, Jan. 3, 2011, surrounded by family and friends.

Mr. Tutson was born Jan. 20, 1932, in Washington, D.C., the youngest of three sons born to Bernard Tutson and Pearl Stevenson.

He was a graduate of Dunbar High School and earned a Bachelor's from Howard University and a Masters in social work from Columbia University.

In 1997, he received an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Briarwood College, now Lincoln College, for his dedicated work and lifelong vocation as a dropout counselor for high school students.

Mr. Tutson touched the lives of many young people, guiding them through struggles and leading countless to pathways toward higher education.

He began his career at the Department of Welfare in Maryland, and later worked at Children's Village in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., where he met the love of his life, Nan Krueger. They were married 46 years before her death in 2009.

They moved to New Milford in 1966, and Don worked in Danbury doing drop-out prevention for the Danbury school system for 29 years.

He also taught at Western Connecticut State University.

Since his retirement, he enjoyed his weekly meals with the Retired Old Men Eating Out.

Mr. Tutson was renowned for his kindness, his quips, a lifelong stand for racial and social justice, and for advocacy for young people.

An active member of the First Congregational Church in New Milford for more than 40 years, he also coached Little League, served on the New Milford Board of Education, the New Milford Hospital committee, Outdoor Ministry Committee of the United Church of Christ, drove for the Red Cross and was instrumental in starting the New Milford Homeless Shelter Coalition.

Mr. Tutson and Mrs. Tutson were New Milford Lions Club Volunteers of the Year in 2005.

He is mourned and celebrated by his two children, Valerie, a storyteller in Providence, R.I., and Don Jr., a lawyer of New Milford; Richard and Mary Krueger; two nieces, Sarah Stirling and Diane Tutson; a grand-nephew, Michael Tutson; and countless friends.

Calling hours will be held today (Friday), Jan. 7 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Lillis Funeral Home, 58 Bridge St. in New Milford.

Mr. Tutson's Celebration of Life service will be held Jan. 15 at 2 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of New Milford. All are welcome.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the New Milford Red Cross, 40 Main St., New Milford, CT 06776 or the organization of your choice.