Frank Wills, the chairman of the town's Renewable and Alternative Energy Committee for the past three years, and avid attendee of town board meetings, died on Tuesday. He was 87 years old.
Wills, a retired engineer who was a strong supporter of alternative energy practices and a friendly presence at town meetings, moved to Mattituck 50 years ago, according to a bio on Sustainable Southold, of which he was a founding member.
"Frank was a great example," said Councilman Al Krupski, a town board liaison to the Renewable and Alternative Committee. "He donated and volunteered a lot of his time and expertise and he cared about this community. There's a lot to be said for someone like that.
"Everybody in town government respected him. He wasn't there just to talk. He was there to help out. We'll miss him."
A visiting service for Wills is being held on Thursday at in Cutchogue, from 4 to 8 p.m., with a memorial service planned for the near future.
"You don't know how many times I heard him say, 'Start by shutting the lights off,'" Krupski said. "Conservation was first."
Supervisor Scott Russell called Wills a "critical component" to the passage of the town's wind turbine code.
"He was very knowledgeable with regard to many emerging technologies," Russell said. "Tidal power. Photovoltaic rays. And not just that, but understanding the problems with existing structures and the consumption of energy. Being an engineer, he gave great insight and guidance in that regard."
According to his Sustainable Southold bio, Wills formed a company later in his career which focused on recovering metals from by-products.
A quote from him reads: “To me sustainability equates to maintaining what we have out here landwise, water wise, and ski wise. i.,e. Save What’s Left. We should define at what level of growth we stand to permanently lose what we have out here. That should translate into part of a master plan that limits how many new homes can be built and what zoning changes are needed to meet that goal."