Alton H. Bassett passed away peacefully, with family by his side, on November 16, 2020, just shy of his 90th birthday. He will be remembered as a devoted family man. Alt was born November 27, 1930 in Hartford, Connecticut, son of Martha and Arthur Bassett. He graduated from Middlebury College in 1953, with a BS Degree in chemistry. In his junior year he met and dated his future wife, Joan Tolley. After graduation, he served two years in the Marine Corps ending at the Marine Corps Institute in Washington DC, teaching math. In 1956, he married Joan, stopping at the Princeton Inn on the first night of the honeymoon, never realizing this would become their hometown. Alt worked briefly at American Viscose Corporation in Front Royal, VA, where his first daughter was born. He then began a job with Chicopee Manufacturing Company (Johnson & Johnson) and moved the family to New Brunswick, NJ, where his second daughter was born. They bought a “starter” house in Princeton in 1962, which became the “home” he lived in for the rest of his life.
Alt was a Research Director at Chicopee for 30 years, developing non-woven fabrics for surgical and medical supplies, and recorded three patents. He retired in 1988 and consulted for five more years. After retiring, he and Joan purchased an old 32’ Bristol sailboat, enjoying 25 years cruising the Toms River and Barnegat Bay waters. Every February, the two would travel to Venice, Florida, to enjoy the beach in a relaxing location. Alt developed lasting friendships that he cherished for a lifetime: in college, business (“The Old Farts”), Princeton, boating and Florida.
Alt inspired his family with a sense of adventure and exploration. He proposed marriage to Joan, who was afraid of heights, on a waterfall cliff near Middlebury. On family vacations they went tent camping along the East Coast, and skiing in New England. Weekends were spent canoeing, hiking or exploring New Jersey and Pennsylvania, or testing his homemade model airplanes, rockets and sailboats. Alt amused everyone with creative activities, like mock baseball in the kitchen, (the sport he played in high school) or sand games at the beach. He pursued his love for the desert southwest by climbing Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park and taking his entire family on an RV trip to Death Valley. Because of his talent with a camera, he captured all of his adventures on film.
Alt is survived by his wife Joan Bassett, his two daughters, Linda Bassett and Bobbie Erdman, sons-in-law Billy Erdman and George Morris, and two grandchildren, Jamie and Drew Erdman.
Alton’s family gives thanks to the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, Penn Medical Center and Park Place Center for their exceptional care during his final months. There will be a small family service in the Princeton Cemetery at a future date, due to Covid-19 concerns. Arrangements are under the direction of the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton.