Former Tufts trustee John Mugar passes away at 92

John Martin Mugar (A ’37), a Tufts alum and former Tufts trustee, died on March 23 of natural causes at the Seacoast Rehabilitation Center in Gloucester, according to an obituary in the Boston Globe. He was 92.

Mugar graduated magna cum laude from Tufts in 1937. He was elected as an alumni trustee in 1966 and held that position for 10 years, according to Secretary of the Trustees Linda Dixon. “In 1976, he became a Charter Trustee and served 13 more years, for a total of 23 years of service, before stepping down and being named Trustee Emeritus in 1989,” she told the Daily in an e-mail.

While on the Board of Trustees, Mugar served on a variety of committees including the Administration and Finance Committee, the Honorary Degree Committee and the Executive Committee, in addition to chairing the Development Committee from 1969-1972 and again from 1977-1979.

He was also involved with the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. “During the latter part of his trustee service, he focused on the international aspects of Tufts through membership on the Fletcher Board of Overseers,” Dixon said.

“Mugar helped to raise significant funds to support the work of the university and lent his considerable business skills to helping university systems function effectively,” she said.

He also used these skills to lead the Star Market grocery store chain as its president and chairman. He worked for over 40 years at the company before retiring in 1978. At the time of his retirement, there were 61 Star Market stores in New England, according to an obituary in The Boston Globe. The company, however, is now a part of Shaw’s Supermarkets Inc.

According to a press release issued by his surviving family members, “John Mugar was a leader in the supermarket industry in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

“He introduced many merchandising and management innovations, including unit pricing before it became mandatory in Massachusetts, and was the first in the industry to introduce in-store banking, florists and book sales,” the press release said.

In addition, Mugar served on the boards of the National Associate of Food Chains and the Food Marketing Institute. Born to Armenian immigrants, he was active in multiple Armenian organizations and was a founding member of the Armenian Library and Museum of America, which is located in Watertown, Mass.

In addition to his wife of 60 years, Helen Gienandt Mugar, he is survived by three daughters, a son, two sisters and seven grandchildren.