Jesse A. Taft, 95, of Naples, Fla., former supervisor of agricultural teacher training on campus, died May 7.
After graduating from Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1930, he taught for four years at Arms Academy in Shelburne Falls before establishing the department of vocational agriculture at Barnstable High School in Hyannis.
During World War II, he served as a captain in the U.S. Army with duties in Italy and Tunisia. He retired as lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve in 1962.
In 1946, he returned to the University as supervisor of agricultural teacher training, a post he held until 1960. He also completed a master''s degree in 1948. After leaving UMass, he held a number of posts, including head state supervisor of vocational agriculture in the state Department of Education and vocational education specialist with the U.S. Office of Education in Boston.
He retired in 1971 to return to the Taft Orchards in Mendon, which he operated with his three brothers and three sisters until 1989. He moved to Florida in 1991.
He leaves his son, Milton C., of Bonita Springs, Fla.; sisters Emma M. Barrows, Mildred Goss and Helen A. Condon, all of Mendon; stepchildren Robert Tufts of Easton, Thomas Tufts of Woodbridge, Va., and Beverly Masaitis of Greenfield; three grandchildren, seven step-grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Mendon Unitarian Congregation Memorial Fund, Maple St., Mendon MA 01756.