Bernie Manor Left his Mark as ‘Clerk of the Works’

October 21, 2016

 

by Laurie Jasper

Bernard “Bernie” Manor, 78, passed away Oct. 1 at his home, surrounded by his family.  Born in Burlington, Vt., and raised in Jericho, Vt., Bernie, his wife, Kathy, and their four children moved to Hudson in 1975 and quickly became involved in their town.

Bernie, who worked for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Massachusetts and Connecticut for 35 years, shared his vast knowledge on various Hudson boards and committees, living a life of service to his community.  Hudson resident Phyllis Appler said, “I served with Bernie on the Hudson Conservation Commission in the late ‘70s and ‘80s.  We did a lot of crashing through the underbrush checking out wetlands.  He was always a voice of reason on the commission, with a wisecrack on the side.  What a loss for Hudson.”

For many years, Bernie was a member of the Hudson Planning Board and Municipal Utility Committee.  He also served as chairman of the sewer committee and as a member of the building board of appeals.

Hudson’s Town Planner John Cashell recalled Bernie’s strong work ethic.

“From the first time I worked with Bernie on a Hudson project, back in 2002, I knew I was working with a man who knew what he was doing and what he needed to do to get the job done.  Bernie was always looking out for Hudson’s best interest, and no one brought more to the table to help Hudson achieve its goals.  His talents and skills for getting the job done will be sorely missed by all who were fortunate to know this very special man,” shared Cashell.

Bernie became the “go to guy” for all major projects in Hudson, rightfully earning the title, “Clerk of the Works.”  Bernie oversaw the construction of Hills Garrison Elementary School, which was completed in 2001, working closely with the Hudson School Board.  He was also involved in the Memorial School addition at the same time.

“He was a classic Vermont farmer,” said David Alukonis, who was chairman of the Hudson School Board during the construction of HGS.  “He was practical and methodical and could make the most complicated thing simple, bringing it down to simple terms.  He was constantly on site as the eyes and ears of the Hudson School District and town, said Alukonis.

Hudson resident Elaine Brody agreed.  “I’ve known Bernie for many years.  The first project we worked on together was the Hills Garrison School.  I worked with a group called March to March to inform Hudson residents of the importance of getting out the vote to build the school and on the school building committee.  Bernie was the one person I knew who knew his way around every town board and department and was universally respected by all.  His advice and eye for detail were essential in the success of the building of that school,” said Brody.

Next, Bernie oversaw the George H. and Ella M. Rodgers Memorial Library construction project, which was completed in 2009.  As a library trustee, Elaine Brody knew the right person to call.  “When we received the gift from Al and Phil Rodgers to build the new library, I knew Bernie was the person we needed to be our ‘Clerk of the Works.’  I called him, and he was on board immediately.  It would be impossible to count the hours he spent overseeing every aspect of the project.  Even after the library was complete he continued to work with the trustees to enhance the building,” recalled Brody.

Former Library Trustee Connie Owen agreed with Brody.  “The Town of Hudson has lost a wonderful gift, a true gentleman,” said Owen. “Personally, I will miss Bernie’s smile and sense of humor.  There are certain of Bernie’s qualities that come to mind right away:  patience -dealing with many different priorities and opinions, balanced with competence; trust- that Bernie would direct us to the best decision for the project as a whole; honesty and reliability; humility and commitment to family- traveling back to Vermont to see his mother, as well to Kathy and his grown children and grandchildren.”

During the fourth anniversary of the dedication of Rodgers Memorial Library in June 2013, the library’s archive room, located in the basement of the building, was dedicated and officially named the Bernard C. Manor Archives Room.

“In 2013, it was my pleasure to speak as the archive room of the library was dedicated to Bernie in recognition of all his work on behalf of this important Hudson resource,” Brody said.  “Bernie was a family man, a great friend and a giving, talented resource for the town of Hudson.  He will be sorely missed.”

One of Bernie’s favorite hobbies was rebuilding vehicles for family and friends.  In 1999, Hudson Historical Society Director Shawn Jasper read in Yankee Magazine that a man from Georgia had a 1911 Maxwell Model AD two-cylinder vehicle (all in parts) that was used as postal delivery vehicle in Hudson to swap for old clocks.  It was in service in 1914, known because a newspaper had fallen down between the parts.  When the society obtained the vehicle, it was Bernie Manor who put it all back together, piece by piece.

Bernie received the Greater Hudson Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award in 2014.  Also in 2014, the North Barn, Hudson’s brand new Senior Center, opened on the Benson Park property.  As you may have guessed, Bernie was also Clerk of the Works for this project.  Hudson Selectman Roger Coutu remembers Bernie fondly, “Approximately two years after meeting Bernie, I became a member of the board of selectmen.  I trusted my friend and he was quick to advise and mentor me during my tenure on the BOS.  What impressed me most about Bernie was his innate ability to read people and find their better qualities.  He was never condescending about people.  He loved Hudson and would always speak the best about our people and our town.  He took pride in everything he did and he was a doer.  He committed his time to many projects such as Clerk of the Works for the Rodger’s Library, the Senior Center and he was looking forward to serving in the same capacity for the newly proposed fire station to be located on Lowell Road.

“I remember him always telling me, after he began a new project, that, ‘This is it.  I promised Kathy (the love of his life); I’m going to retire after this one.’  I nominated Bernie Manor, in a letter I wrote to the Hudson Chamber of Commerce, for the designation of ‘man of the year’ and I was pleasantly surprised when he was chosen and given the award.  Needless to say, I will miss my friend’s counsel and devotion to our town as I will miss his keen sense of humor and his witty and funny emails.  Hudson has lost one of its most beloved and dedicated public servants,” said Coutu.

Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Kathy, four children, Lori Underwood and her husband, JT, of New London, N.H., Larry Manor and his wife, Sherill, of Londonderry, Peter Manor and his wife, Jennifer, of Londonderry,  and Patrick Manor of Rye; six grandchildren, Austin, Nolan, Reece, Ashley, Henry, and Charlotte and two great-grandchildren, Milo and Ksenia; four sisters Lea Listzwan of Tracys Landing, Md., Coleen Hotchkiss and her husband, Douglas of Fairport, N.Y., Carolyn Moreau and her husband, Donald, of Duxbury, Mass., and June Taylor of Jericho, Vt.

The family would like to thank everyone at Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Nashua as well as Home, Health, and Hospice of Merrimack.

Visiting hours were held Sat. Oct. 15, in the Dumont-Sullivan Funeral Home, 50 Ferry St., in Hudson.  Burial was private.  In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Bernie’s name may be made to either the Norris Cotton Cancer Center 2300 Southwood Dr. Nashua, NH 03063-1818, or Home Health & Hospice Care, 7 Executive Park Dr., Merrimack, NH 03054.