AU Press Releases

Life Trustee Phillip W. Tefft ’39 - Deceased

It is my sad task to inform you that Alfred University (AU) Life Trustee Phillip W. Tefft '39, '75 (honorary) died Monday, May 6, 2013 in Upper Arlington, Ohio. Phillip was elected to the AU Board of Trustees in 1952, serving as chairman for six years. In 1975, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University and in 1976 he was named a Life Trustee.

Phillip attended AU for two years, and then attended Ohio State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in ceramic engineering. During his years at Alfred, he was a member of the football team. In 1963 he received the Alfred University Knight of St. Patrick Award. Tefft Hall, on campus, is named in honor of Phillip's father, C. Forrest Tefft, an Alfred University graduate. In recognition of his many contributions, he was elevated to the position of a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society in 1956.

As a very young man, Phillip began working with the Claycraft Company, Columbus, Ohio, a manufacturer of structural face brick and tile, joining his father and brother in the family business. Upon completing his studies, he assumed managerial responsibility, eventually becoming President and Chairman of the Board upon the passing of his father in the early 1950s. Following a long career in the ceramics industry he retired as president of Ceramitec Inc., also in Columbus.

Phillip especially loved being with family and friends and had a zest for life which included his love of fine woodworking, flying, sailing, tennis, and barbecuing. He was a legend of longevity on the golf course playing a round of 18 in his final days.

He said he had the great fortune to be married for 60 years to his high school sweetheart, Kathleen Franks, with whom he reared four children. In 2001, shortly after Kathleen's death, he said he had the additional joy of meeting and marrying Jean Dye Trabue.

Phillip will be missed by his wife; daughters, Diane Tefft Young, of Upper Arlington, Susan Kathleen Tefft, of East Hampton, MA, Pamela Melissa Tefft (Thomas E. Matuszko) of Hadley, MA; son, Phillip (Victoria) Ward-Tefft, of London, England; grandchildren: Andrew Tefft (Stephanie) Young and Tegan Grace Ward-Tefft; and great-grandchildren, Alexander Tefft Young and Katherine Elaine Young. He is also survived by Jean's children and grandchildren: Nancy O'Donnell, Jack Trabue, Dr. Jeff Trabue, Jim Trabue, Patricia Trabue, grandchildren Heath, Hugh, Halle, Katie, Kelly, Bonnie, Sean and Molly.

Family will receive friends Friday, May 10, 2013 from 4-7 p.m. at Schoedinger Northwest Chapel, 1740 Zollinger Road, Columbus.

It is the intention of Phil and his family's wishes that donations be made to Alfred University in lieu of flowers, Attn: University Relations, 1 Saxon Dr., Alfred, NY 14802. To share memories or give condolences, visit

Charles M. Edmondson, President