Brad Seabury Leaves an Enduring Mark
February 26, 2016
by Laurie Jasper
- Bradford Seabury was born in Maine, but he left a lasting mark in Hudson.
Brad Seabury, 83, died Feb. 15, 2016, after a long battle with cancer, taking with him his years of institutional knowledge but leaving Hudson a better place because of his service.
Brad graduated from Portland, Maine, Junior College and then served three years in the Army, after which he earned his Bachelor of Arts in English literature and philosophy from the University of Maine. In 1957, he married Ann, whom he would forever lovingly refer to as his bride. Brad and his family moved to Hudson in 1968.
Brad worked as a technical writer in the area and became involved in local politics with Ann, whom many will remember from her years as a member of the Hudson Board of Selectmen along with other community groups. Together, they started the Hudson Minutemen in 1979, which serviced various boards and committees in Hudson and neighboring communities by recording and transcribing the minutes of meetings. Brad listed himself as the, “Chief cook and bottle washer.” Brad was also a proud member of the Portsmouth chapter of Toastmasters, where he honed his deep, distinctive public speaking voice and leadership skills. He was also a member of the Hudson Seniors. He and his wife enjoyed traveling and set sail on many cruises with friends. Sadly, Ann unexpectedly passed away after surgery in 2005.
“Once he got over his initial grief of losing Ann, he persevered despite his sadness,” said Hudson Selectman Marilyn McGrath, who knew the Seaburys for more than 30 years and served with Brad on the Zoning Board of Adjustment for many of those years.
Brad served as a Hudson Cemetery trustee, but most people will remember him as a longtime member and chairman of the Hudson ZBA. “I witnessed his many acts of kindness for the town. He treated everyone with dignity and respect. You could never tell how he felt about the case until he voted. He certainly could write, almost in prose. He displayed his emotions in his writings,” said McGrath. As McGrath explained, the ZBA hears cases from applicants who want a variance from town ordinances because they wish to do something on their property which doesn’t meet the regulations. The applicants present their cases, then abutters are allowed to speak, and finally the ZBA members are allowed to ask questions and deliberate in an open forum.
“Brad was very impartial all the time on the ZBA. He listened, he was very fair, and he never prejudged,” shared Maryellen Davis, who has been a member of the ZBA board for nine or 10 years and who was elected to take Brad’s place as chairman. “He was a wonderful mentor. He explained the whole process and allowed us to formulate our own opinion. He went right by the ordinance and the state laws. He knew the town and he knew the people so well,” said Davis.
Former Selectman Terry Stewart has known the Seabury family for years and served on the board of selectmen with Ann.
“Brad was a treasure for the town of Hudson,” Stewart said. “He always wanted to do what was best for his town. It was a pleasure and honor to serve with him and his wife, Ann. Brad’s minute taking for the planning board was thoughtful and eloquent. He will be missed by me and the town of Hudson.”
Board of Selectmen Vice-Chairman Roger Coutu echoed Stewart’s sentiments. “Brad was one of the nicest men I’ve ever met. He had a command of English vocabulary that was unlimited. If anyone sat with him for five minutes, they’d know that he really liked life and had a genuine caring for people. He never showed preferential treatment and he put integrity above all else. It was about service with Brad,” said Coutu. “Oh, and his favorite ice cream was strawberry,” laughed Coutu, explaining that he always made sure to have strawberry ice cream for Brad at the annual ice cream social recognizing town board volunteers.
In 2014, Coutu and the rest of the board of selectmen dedicated the annual Town Report to Brad Seabury for his many years of service to the town, breaking with tradition of honoring someone who passed away that year and instead choosing Brad. In an interview in the Lowell Sun on Feb. 15, 2014, Brad told reporter John Collins, “I have no idea why I was selected for this honor, but I am profoundly touched. It seems to me that most of the people to whom past annual reports were dedicated were truly giants amongst the citizenry, whereas my only claim to fame would seem be that I have lasted longer than most.” Perhaps here is where those who knew him would disagree with him. Brad Seabury was a true giant amongst the citizenry.
His commanding voice may be silenced, his stately presence no more, but his impact will long be remembered and felt.
“I would say Brad loved his family beyond measure, he loved his country and he loved his town,” concluded McGrath.
Brad Seabury is survived by his three children: Suellen Seabury, JP Seabury and Stacy Paradise as well as seven grandchildren. While Brad did not wish for a service, he requested that “those who might otherwise have gotten dressed up to come pay their last respects instead get dressed up, take their loved one out or go in the company of friends, and have a toast in my honor.”
The family plans to host a Celebration of Life in the spring. A notice will be posted in the HLN.