Hudson-Litchfield News

Gone, but Never to be Forgotten

by Lynne Ober

Mark Twain certainly died long before Ann Seabury was born, but he knew that people like Ann would be born and would grace the lives of those who knew them.  He immortalized these people when he said, “Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry."  With the death of Ann Marie [McNally] Seabury, the undertaker in Hudson is sorry.

Ann Marie Seabury will now live only in our memories – and wonderful memories those are.

With her untimely death, Hudson, as a community, is a little poorer and all of us who knew her are aware of that fact.  Ann was always community-oriented, always bubbly, and always laughing.  She gave many hours to Hudson activities and brought joy to our lives.

“The news of Ann's passing has left a large void in our hearts.  Ann was a dedicated public servant and touched all of us who worked for her and with her on the various boards, committees, and organizations that she served on.  All of us can't help but smile when we think of Ann's infectious laugh and her upbeat personality.  The Town has lost one of its most dedicated and hardworking citizens and all of us will feel the loss for some time to come.  Our sympathies and prayers go out to her family,” stated Town Administrator Steve Malizia.

All of us who knew Ann, knew that great, booming laugh.  Talk to anyone who knew her and it won’t be long until her famous, jovial laugh makes it way into the conversation.

“That infectious laugh, just made you smile,” said Priscilla Boisvert, who stated working with Ann back in 1988.  “She had a great attitude.  She made you feel good.”

Ann made a positive contribution throughout Hudson and touched many lives in a positive, long-lasting way.  Look across the community and you will see her touches and positive influence.

She served on the Board of Selectmen from 1984 to 1986.  Shawn Jasper recalled that he and Ann joined the Selectmen when it became a five-member board.  “Prior to that it was a three-member board,” he said.

When Selectmen disbanded in favor of the Town Council form of government, Ann didn’t run for a position on the Town Council.  But reconsidered, ran again and was elected, just in time to sit on the last few months of the Town Council.  When elections were held for the Board of Selectmen, Ann thought about continuing her community service.

Once again Ann and Shawn Jasper ran together.  Both were elected and served together from 1992 until 2004 when both decided not to seek re-election.  “She had a good heart,” said Jasper.  “She thought everyone was as well intentioned as she was and that everyone thought as much about the Town as she did.  She didn’t have a political agenda – she just wanted to help the Town.”

Ann was Town Auctioneer at town auctions for many years and was also auctioneer at the local Beta Sigma Phi chapter’s Annual Arts and Crafts Auction.  She kept the audience laughing and reaching for their wallets.

As a member of Beta Sigma Phi, a service sorority, she held many offices and planned many community events.  You could find her every Thanksgiving delivering food baskets from her chapter.

“She hated for anyone to be hungry at Christmas or Thanksgiving,” said long-time friend Rhona Charbonneau, “and was always delivering meals to Hudson families.  She did so much for our community.”

Phyllis Appler, Co-President of the Hudson Community Club, a branch of General Federation of Women’s Clubs, one of the world's largest and oldest women's volunteer service organizations, recalled that Ann was one of the founding members of the Hudson GFWC branch in 1966.  Throughout the years she remained active in GFWC and this year was Co-President with Appler.

During her last year as Selectman, Ann was liaison to the library.  Long a supporter of education, reading and the arts, Ann became an advocate of the new library.  She spoke at the Deliberative Session about the need for a new library and the support that needed to come from the community.

As Co-President of GFWC, Ann urged the members to adopt a library project and they did.  Ann had a dream of furnishing a study/tutoring room in the library.  This past June, she was one of the primary organizers for a lawn sale at the library with proceeds going towards this project.

Appler said that she had been talking with GFWC member Barbara Habina about Ann’s untimely death.  “Barbara said the angels are laughing now [with Ann in heaven] and I know that’s true.” 

Mother of three, Sue Ellen, JP [John Patrick], and Stacy, and wife for 48 years to Brad Seabury, Ann was always involved in family affairs.  If you visited her, you’d probably find her in her cozy kitchen.  She’d regale you with humorous stories while feeding you goodies.

Over the years countless people received pies from Ann, who loved to bake.  “Every Christmas she would make pies for all of us on the Board [of Selectmen].  My favorite is chocolate cream and I remember one year she was without a stove but she still got our pies made.  She will be missed by all,” said Selectman Terry Stewart, who served with Ann for six years on the Board of Selectmen.

Even though she was facing surgery, Ann made plans for the future.  She told the Hudson Council on Aging that she would offer to make six pies and those pies could be raffled off at their up-coming Silent Auction dinner.  The recipient could choose the flavors and delivery times.  “I was going to bid on those pies,” smiled Rhona through her tears.

Ann worked at Hudson Memorial School for years in both the office and as a permanent substitute.  “I remember my kids would come home and announce that school had been great because Mrs. Seabury was in their room,” said long-time Hudson resident Elaine Brody.

Hudson Memorial School (HMS) Principal Sue Nadeau said, “I cannot fathom what Hudson Memorial School will be like without her.  She was here every single day.  She was like a regular staff member.”  Nadeau recalled that before she joined the Administration at HMS that her two kids had Ann as a substitute teacher.  “I think every child in this school had Mrs. Seabury at one time or another.”  Because Ann meant so much to the staff and administration at HMS, Nadeau said she was calling people at home.  “I don’t want them to read about it [Ann’s death] in the newspaper.  She meant so much to us.”

Superintendent Randy Bell echoes those sentiments.  “She dedicated much of her time and energy to the welfare of students in the school district, and she will be greatly missed, especially at Hudson Memorial.”  

Ann was also School District Clerk from the early 1970s until her death.  She served with dignity and enthusiasm.

Ann and her husband owned and operated Minute Man, a minute taking company.  If Ann was sitting on a board, she was attending as their minute-taker.  Taking minutes at the Budget Committee, the Planning Board and other boards helped her keep her pulse on Hudson happenings and see where Hudson needed help.  She shared that knowledge.

“She knew everybody,” said Elaine Brody.  “The first time I worked on a project in Town, I kept asking her whom to contact – she always knew.  What a valuable resource she was.”

Her life reminded me of Michel de Montaigne’s words, “The value of life is not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them."  Ann didn’t live long enough, but she left behind values, laughs, and memories that those of us who knew her will never forget.  Her life was filled with value and we all benefited from knowing her.


Field of Dreams Come True for Eagle Scout Candidate

by Doug Robinson

The concrete slabs have been poured and the 5 to 6 foot concrete walls are next in line to be built as Matt Emanuelson’s Eagle Scout project comes to a completion.  Matt’s long time dream has always been to build baseball dugouts for the baseball athletes of Hudson who play baseball at the Greeley Field.

Matt Emanuelson has been apart of  Hudson Youth Baseball, Hudson’s Babe Ruth Baseball, and now plays with the Hudson Recreation Department.  He started playing baseball at age six and next year hopes to make the baseball team at Alvirne High School.  While Matt has played on all the fields in Hudson, he is especially fond of Greeley field.

“I love baseball and I have enjoyed playing in the Hudson Recreation Department.  They are well organized and teach kids the basic skills of playing baseball” says Emanuelson.  “I have played at Greeley Field for years and I know that it (Greeley Field) needs dugouts.”

“The purpose of (my Eagle Scout Project).is to provide shelter and safety for the participants in the Hudson Youth Baseball program.  This program “currently serves more than 500 boys and girls in the spring and fall seasons” continues Emanualson.  “Currently (Greeley Field) does not have enclosed dugouts and are open to the elements of stray bats and balls.”

Emanuelson’s dugout project entails the design, fundraising, and the construction of the new dugouts.  After slab floor, the walls will be built, followed by the roof.  The “stick built” framing will consist of texture 1 - 11 wood, then shingled and stained green for good looks.  One dugout will be named: home, while the other dugout will be named:  visitor.  The Home dugout will be located on the first base side of the infield.

At the end of each dugout, behind the safety of the fence, an on-deck circle will be built for each dugout.  “Just last year a child broke his nose because of a stray ball coming into the dugout” states Emanuelson when speaking of on field safety.  Access to the field will be allowed only by a gated fence, thus assuring that the youth of Hudson will be protected from stay bats, balls, and players attempting to catch balls.

Matt has estimated the cost of supplies and materials for the project to be approximately $2,500.  Currently, Matt has raised over $1,500 in donations and discounts towards the cost of his dugout project.  Matt expresses his thanks to:  Superior Fire Protection, LRC Fire Protection, Hudson Kiwanis, Nashua Elks, New England Catch and Camp, and Redi-Mix Cement for their contributions towards his community project.  “Many individuals have contributed.  Cars have stopped on Greeley Street walked down the hill and have given me a contribution for this project...I am very appreciative.  Hudson Youth Baseball has made the commitment to pick up the balance if I do not raise the entire amount for this project.  I am very thankful for their help.” 

Matt also comes from a family of Eagle Scouts.  His father Jeff, a firefighter in Manchester and his uncle Chris of Emanuelson Construction have earned Boy Scout’s highest rank of Eagle Scout, too.  Matt’s family has a long history of scouting, community service, and community involvement.

Matt Emanuelson is quick to pass praise to Dave Yates, Hudson Recreation Department and Sean Sullivan, Community Development Department.  Through their help and coaching “I was able to go through the process and get this project approved.  They taught me how to do it.  They were great.”

Currently a Life Scout, Matt Emanuelson strives to achieve Boy Scout’s highest rank of “Eagle Scout.”  Upon completion of his final Boy Scout assignment, performing a community project from conception to completion, Matt will have achieved Boy Scouts highest honor.  His dreams will have come true.

Matt understood long ago that his love of baseball combined with his keen sight for the ongoing safety for the youth of Hudson could be combined with his goal to become an Eagle Scout.  He has decided to create a “field of dreams” complete with dugouts for the future youth of Hudson.  Parents will be able to send their children to play baseball in the safe environment Greeley Field for many years to come because of Matt Emanuelson’s courage to design, fundraise, and construct a set of dugouts at Greeley Field.

Matt will be working on his dugouts for the next few weeks.  When driving by Greeley Field, stop and take time to say “Thank you” to Matt and his volunteers.  And, slip him a couple of bucks for his efforts.  Because of his efforts and commitment to Hudson’s youth, the residents and visitors of Hudson will have a safer place to live, play, relax, and enjoy.


Matt Emanuelson building the walls with his uncle Chris of Emanuelson Construction.


Matt wearing his uniform showing all his badges.


Contract Not Renewed for Police Chief

by Lynne Ober

Litchfield’s Police Chief, Joseph O’Brion, did not receive a contract renewal from Selectmen, but that doesn’t mean that he’s gone from the force.

According to Board of Selectmen Chairman, Cecil Williams, he told O’Brion that his contract as Chief would not be renewed, but “that doesn’t mean that he’s been fired.  He hasn’t.”  When asked to clarify that statement, Williams explained that when O’Brion was promoted from within the Litchfield Police Department, his contract was written so that he could return to his previous position.

Gerard A. Millette, Patrol Lieutenant, will take over as Officer in Charge until a new police chief is chosen.

Although O’Brion was not available for comment, there were indications that he knew that his contract would not be renewed.  When Selectmen asked him to attend a non-public session in July to discuss his performance and his contract renewal, O’Brion brought an attorney with him.  The Selectmen also had an attorney present for the discussion.

Williams said that he couldn’t comment on the specifics of the action, but stated that a vote had been taken not to extend the contract and that O’Brion was no longer chief, effective Tuesday, August 9.

Selectman, Jack Scheiner, said that he had been aware of performance issues for several months.  “I think it is very difficult to become a leader over your former colleagues.  I know because I’ve had to do that and it is just difficult to work within your existing relationships from your new position.”

Selectman, Ray Peeples, hesitated to comment, noting that “the nature of this topic is that it probably won’t end us with this.”  Peeples did comment that O’Brion was very well liked. 

Williams said that a search for a new police chief would start immediately and would be extended to outside candidates.  “We did promote from within last time and we obviously believe in promoting from our staff, but we owe it to everyone to consider every qualified applicant and choose the best one.”


Resignation Will Affect School

by Lynne Ober

Litchfield School District can’t catch a break.  Just as they hired their new high school principal, the assistant principal submitted her resignation and now Linda Scott, Principal at Griffin Memorial School has resigned to accept an Assistant Superintendent position with the Peabody, Massachusetts School District.

The Peabody, Massachusetts School District is comprised of 10 schools servicing nearly 6,500 students with a teaching staff of 450.  Scott will join the Superintendent’s office.  Peabody, unlike Litchfield, has an established kindergarten program as well as the traditional academic offerings through 12th grade.  Scott has been a proponent of kindergarten and has long wanted to see it established in Litchfield.

Litchfield Superintendent Cathy Hamblett told the School Board in a non-public session that Scott was a finalist for this position.  “It sounded to me like she might have been the only finalist,” said School Board member Dick Rafferty.

Scott, who came to Litchfield, when the school was in turmoil, brought stability.  “When she arrived the Superintendent announced he was leaving; the last principal at GMS had left and we had significant air quality issues at the school,” Rafferty stated.  “She came in dark times and she brought stability and loyalty for the staff and students.  She fought hard for her school and her students.”

“School was very orderly.  She did a lot of work on the building committee.  She led her staff to really define what was needed in the new elementary school,” said School Board Member Ralph Boehm, “and then she worked with the architect on the layout of the new school.”

Rafferty expressed mixed emotions.  “I’m happy for her, but it seems like we are never whole.  Just as we hire someone to fill a hole, someone else resigns.  She was a strong contributor.  We’ll miss her.”


Building Houses, Friendships, and Faith

by Karen Plumley

Of the countless summer camps for kids all over the country, most encourage camaraderie while teaching youngsters about nature, sports, or academia.  But have you ever heard of a camp that boasts helping the disabled, elderly, or unfortunate while teaching useful and practical home improvement skills, strengthening faith, and traveling to new places all in the space of six days?  Well, this is the focus of the Group Workcamp project:  a faith-based mission for teenagers which began in 1977 in Loveland, Colorado after a devastating flood that destroyed homes and killed over 140 people.  At that time, local youth groups were organized to help repair the damage and support those in need.  Just recently, the mission had a group of 400 students and adult leaders in the area (sponsored in part by St. Kathryn Church of Hudson) to repair and improve over 50 homes in New Hampshire alone.  The campers came from all over the country, with many from the Hudson area.  According to Workcamp volunteer Margaret St. Onge, the teens used their own money and money they received through various fundraisers to pay for travel expenses.  They spent eight hours per day for a week repairing homes and in the evenings they worshipped and shared their religious faith.  This all sounds terrific, but the students endured a few rough spots along the way.  For one thing, their amenities were not so cozy:  they set up camp at the Hollis-Brookline High School.  Students slept in sleeping bags in classrooms and tolerated the scorching summer heat, an outbreak of the chicken pox, a sprinkler system malfunction, and at times a complete lack of running water.

For any average group of people this might be quite a deterrent.  Then, factor in the work schedule:  six days of home repairs, including fighting off nests of hornets and wasps, avoiding poison ivy, and handling job repairs that were completely underestimated.  Never mind the fact that most of the students had little or no experience with the type of work being done.  Somehow for these brave and determined youth, it was just the kind of hardship they needed to construct stronger bonds of friendship, work harder, and appreciate the numerous good things that happen on a daily basis.  “We just kept looking for those mini-miracles in our everyday routine that are normally overlooked.  And they were there at every turn”, said one student.  Every one of the over 50 jobs were completed on time, and most even went above and beyond the original plan of repair. 

Each year the group gets larger.  In 2002, they traveled to Montana, and there were 18 from the Hudson area.  This year there were 47.  Homes were located all around the state, including one on Lowell Road in Hudson.  Other sites were in Litchfield, Brookline, Nashua, Merrimack, Greenville, Wilton, and Hollis.  Adult coaches and leaders who were involved gave up a week of their vacation in order to participate in the event.  “It takes a total of two years to plan a single repair schedule”, said Vinnie Russo, Workcamp coach and member of the Hudson Planning Board.  For him, it was truly a family effort:  his wife Cheryl and their two daughters Angela, 17 and Justina, 14 participated in the camp.  For some it was their first year, but others had participated many times before.  Both David St. Onge, 18 and Dave Iby, 18 have been involved in the Workcamp for four years and counting.  “It’s just such a great experience”, said St. Onge.  For those who were involved this year, the experience was so positive and inspirational that they will be participating again next year.  “The memories and friendships made will certainly last a lifetime, “With this mission we have proven that teenagers are every bit as capable as adults and can be responsible members of society,” said Margaret St.Onge.    For more information on the Group Workcamp program, go to www.groupworkcamps.com.

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