Town and HMS have to Say Goodbye to a Friend and Mentor

October 12, 2018

 

HMS Principal Keith Bowen with daughter Madelynn who won the Dalton A. Blodgett Award for civil action and responsibility last year.

Courtesy of HMS Principal Keith Bowen with help from Len Lathrop

For more than 58 years, Dalton A. Blodgett was a fixture at Hudson Memorial School, 37 years as a teacher and 21 years as a volunteer, yet neither title does justice to the many hats he wore over the years. On Oct. 8, the town of Hudson and Memorial School lost this dear friend.

Fondly known by many throughout our community, Blodgett was an iconic figure who brought joy, kindness, and a daily laugh to all he encountered. Dalton loved to talk to anyone who would listen about his favorite hometown teams, the Red Sox and Patriots, and he spent time filling ears with trade rumors he often created on his own to spark a reaction and get a chuckle. Everyone who knew Dalton smiled about his choice of what he considered regular breakfast food –a Snickers bar and an orange soda. His favorite lunch spot was to go to Suzie’s Diner in Hudson for the daily special. His days since retirement were filled with volunteering at the school and home he loved best –Hudson Memorial School. Every day, rain or shine, Dalton would come to Hudson Memorial School to deliver supplies or mail and lend his time to assisting wherever he was needed.

Blodgett taught social studies and language arts before retiring in 1995. During his tenure, he worked at Alvirne High School while the Hudson Memorial School was being built. He was the social studies department chairman at the middle school for 12 years, and served as the intramural director, baseball coach, and bus route coordinator. In addition, Dalton served as the Hudson recreation director from 1962 to 1972.

“Dalton’s passing has left an emptiness in our hearts,” said Keith Bowen, Hudson Memorial School principal. “Dalton Blodgett will no longer be seen in our hallways, teachers’ rooms, or puttering in his supply closet. That is a sad realization for so many of us who cannot think of our school without Dalton in it. But his spirit, laughter, and warmth will always be with us.

“His devotion to civic service and his commitment to the power of education will continually be a reminder of what it means to be a caring, responsible citizen vested in helping others.”

On Oct. 27, 2008, Dalton received the senior volunteer of the year honor out of submissions from 197 schools across the state. During the Blue Ribbon Awards presentation, then principal Sue Nadeau said, “Dalton is the kindest, gentlest, and most giving person.” For years, Dalton organized and maintained the teacher supply closet with order and precision and assisted in the office and throughout the building. He always seems to know where there was a need that he cheerfully could meet, whether it was locating a fan for the PTO on a day during the annual magazine drive or guest lecturing during social studies units about World War II.

“I can’t wait to get up in the morning,” Dalton once said. He recalled that Dr. Barbara Stone, former HMS principal, used to deliver supplies herself, and so he asked if he could assist.

In a school-wide assembly on Sept. 8, 2016 –which will now and forever be known as Dalton A. Blodgett Day– is part of a year-long celebration honoring the 50-year anniversary of Hudson Memorial School. As Principal Keith Bowen shared with the student and faculty the history of Dalton’s lifetime of service, he pointed to the center of the gymnasium floor to the “H” and explained that it stood for “heart” – and that for people like Dalton, it also stood for “home.” Continuing, Bowen emphasized that was because “Home is where you are always welcome and home is where you always go, and Dalton, you will always have a home here at Hudson Memorial School.” As students and staff cheered, Dalton was presented with the number “8” baseball jersey with his name on it to be retired in his honor. Dalton was then presented with a placard to be placed above the door of his supply room. It will now be officially named the Dalton A. Blodgett supply room.

Along with that honor, Dalton was bestowed with his very own sporty red supply cart with his name on it. Then Bowen presented his final dedication to Blodgett. Each year, at the Eight Grade Class Day assembly, an award will be given to a deserving student who exemplified the principles of good citizenship through community service, civic responsibility, and strength of character. This award, modeled after the American Citizenship Award through the National Association of Elementary School Principals and National Association of Secondary School Principals, has been known at Hudson Memorial School as the Dalton A. Blodgett Award for Civil Action and Responsibility. With that announcement at the 2016 assembly, the entire school gave a thunderous applause and standing ovation to a man who will forever be remembered and loved: Dalton A. Blodgett.