A former Jupiter Island Town Commissioner died Monday in Rhode Island in what police there are investigating as a possible suicide.
Finn Caspersen, 67, was found dead Monday at the Shelter Harbor Golf Club in Westerly, R.I. from what police believe is a self-inflicted gunshot wound, said Westerly police Capt. Edward St. Clair.
Caspersen a philanthropist, was first elected as town commissioner in Jupiter Island in 2005. He resigned on Aug. 4. Caspersen also had a home in the Shelter Harbor Golf Club where he died.
“As a public servant, policy-maker and overall gentleman, Finn Caspersen exceeded every standard of good measure,” said Jupiter Island Mayor Charles Falcone. “Stoic and soft-spoken, he did a lot of listening during town meetings before carefully weighing in with insight and informed expertise.”
An assistant reached at Knickerbocker, LLC said the family did not want to comment. No funeral information was available.
Caspersen served as the chief executive officer for the Beneficial Corp., a major financial holding company, from 1976 to 1998. More recently he was serving as the chairman of Knickerbocker, a private management company that oversaw numerous trusts and foundations. Caspersen personally donated money to Harvard Law School in Massachusetts as well as the Morristown Memorial Hospital, and schools such as the Peddie School and the Drew University Caspersen School of Graduate Studies, all in New Jersey
Longtime friend Tom McNicholas described Caspersen as “approachable and genuine” and said: “Each time I would refer to him as Mr. Caspersen he would peer over his glasses, softly chuckle and say, ‘Call me Finn.’ He was a friend and always fair to everyone.”
As a town commissioner, Caspersen was pushed for a town referendum on whether to bury power lines on the island underground. He also got involved in Martin County’s contentious debate over real estate development, paying $17,000 out of his own pocket in 2006 to bankroll a phone survey of 500 Martin County residents about their views of population growth. He also created a political action committee, Keep Martin green, that ran advertisements opposing rapid growth in the county.
“Finn had strong convictions towards protecting our environment and he invested a lot of his own money and time to support local causes like Keep Martin Green which focused on smart growth and environmental protection,” McNicholas said.
This is the second longtime Jupiter Island official to die in recent months. Town Manager Joe Connolly, a friend of Caspersen, died of Lou Gehrig’s disease just days after Caspersen resigned from the town commission in August. Deputy Town Manager Gene Rauth said the town is considering a memorial to Caspersen.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.