Ben Nadeau was a Denizen of Hudson
January 26, 2018
by Len Lathrop
Benjamin J. Nadeau dedicated his life to serving the community that he loved. Whether volunteering on a town committee or helping at the food pantry, on most days, Ben could be found lending a hand to his Hudson neighbors. Sadly, the Hudson native was found lifeless at his mother’s home on Hartson Circle Monday afternoon.
Ben was known for his many community service pursuits. As one of ‘Webb’s kids’ (Webb Palmer) at Alvirne, Ben became a member of the FFA during high school and served as an adviser in later years. From a young age, he could have been called a “denizen” of sorts: someone who was a lover of the woods and fields of Hudson. After graduation, the outdoorsman didn’t stray too far from the Merrimack Valley as he attended the Thompson School at the University of New Hampshire.
Selectman Dave Morin remembered him: “Ben was a true servant to the town of Hudson. Always community minded with the many organizations he was a member of, a fixture at Old Home Days flipping burgers on the grill and the many he helped that no one knew about. You would find him at many of the emergency scenes and out helping with the clean up after major storms in his role as a citizen or when he served as a town official. His dedication to serve the taxpayers showed in his commitment serving as a budget committee member, a selectman and school board member.”
Nadeau was first elected to the Hudson Board of Selectmen in 2005, then reelected twice for a total of nine years. Before becoming a selectman, Nadeau served six years on the town’s budget committee. “Ben always had the best of intentions. He tried to be a good person and help anyone in need, but, unfortunately, in the end he was unable to help himself,” said NH Commissioner of Agriculture Shawn Jasper, who served on the Hudson Board of Selectmen with Nadeau, in addition to both being members of the Hudson Historical Society.
In 2015, Nadeau ran for and won a seat on the school board, serving two years of his three-year term before stepping down in March 2017. When Ben stepped down from the school board, he mentioned he “was unable to meet the trust that voters had placed in him. “
In the community he worked as a volunteer for the Benson Committee, CB Patrol, Hudson Historical Society, St. John’s Food Pantry and, as Ruth Parker of the historical society put it, he “took care of people.”
Ben was 42 and had been struggling with health problems in recent months. He is survived by his mother, Demetria; his sister, Vanessa; and his children, Logan and Bailey; and stepdaughters Amanda and Cassandra. His father, who passed in April last year, and Ben operated American Auto Seat Covers in Nashua for many years.
Litchfield’s Tom Levesque owns Tom’s Barber Shop on East Hollis Street in Nashua. It is next door to what was for many years American Auto Seat Covers on D Street, the business owned and operated by the late Bob Nadeau. Ben worked with his father there for many years. “I looked at Ben as another son,” Levesque said. “We were side-by-side businesses for a lot of years; I’ve known him since he was a kid. He’d come next door (to the barber shop) all the time. We’d talk about everything, especially politics; we had both been selectmen.”
Levesque recalled how Bob Nadeau would call the barber shop to ask him to send Ben back to work whenever their conversations went on too long. “His heart was always in the right place. The last couple of years were tough. The last time I saw him was about six weeks ago; he stopped in. We talked for about an hour. He still had aspirations. It’s a sad day.”
The Hudson Board of Selectmen held a moment of silence for Nadeau at the outset of its Tuesday night meeting.
At press time on Wednesday, services were pending.