Wellesley has so many people to be thankful for over the past year, and over the many past years. Here’s who will recognized this weekend during Wellesley’s Wonderful Weekend at the 53rd Annual Wellesley Veterans’ Parade, which takes place Sunday 1-3pm.
(We’ll add fuller bios on honorees from the Wellesley Celebrations Committee to the end of this post as we get them.)
- COVID Healthcare Heroes: The Board of Health & Staff, The Community Fund for Wellesley’s COVID 19 Relief Fund, Sewing COVID Help Group, Wellesley Fire and Police
- Sue Webb, 44 years Retired Animal Control Officer
- Willard Hunnewell, 100-year-old U.S. Navy veteran
- David Chapin, Retired 25 years on Board of Assessors
- David Donohue, Retired 25 years on Board of Public Works
- Marjorie Freiman, Retired 2-term Member of Board of Selectmen
- Sharon Gray, Retired 2-term Member of School Committee
- Matt Kelley, Retired 2-term Member of School Committee
- Regina Larocque, Retired 3 year Member of Natural Resources Commission
- Jack Morgan, Retired 2 term Member of the Board of Selectmen
- Lloyd Tarlin, Jr., Retired 4 term Member of the Board of Health
- J. Michelle Grignaffini, Kidney donor
- Thomas Kelley, COVID survivor
- Linda Corridan, Retired 10 year, Head School Nurse
- Leslie Holmes, Retired 25 year President of the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra
- Max Hobart, Retired 25 year Conductor of the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra
- Joyce Downes, 74 year member of the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra
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Honoree bios from Wellesley Celebrations Committee to follow on jump page:
Grand Marshals: COVID Healthcare Heroes
The Covid-19 outbreak brought our town to a standstill confronting us with a crisis we’ve never seen before, and is literally redefining the way we live.
Our town responded. Heroes emerged. Over the past 18 months, Wellesley has successfully mitigated the community spread of COVID-19.
Wellesley residents have been vaccinated, worn masks, kept informed, and volunteered their time and effort to aid the most vulnerable. Town departments, most notably the Office of the Select Board and the School Department, collaborated effectively with the Board of Health and Staff of the Health Department. The Fire and Police Departments were there for us. Since the beginning of the outbreak, healthcare professionals have truly been selfless warriors, giving of themselves tirelessly to protect us.
Wellesley is fortunate to have a knowledgeable, dedicated, and experienced elected three-member Board of Health, including Shepard Cohen, Marcia Testa Simonson, and Linda Oliver Grape, supported by an incredibly dedicated and talented Health Department staff led by Director Lenny Izzo. Since the Spring of 2020, they have worked tirelessly; educating the public, keeping abreast of evolving science and Federal/State guidelines, maintaining communications with Federal, State, and regional public health agencies, responding to residents’ concerns, providing direct support and assistance, contact tracing, and much more; all while meeting their other community and environmental health responsibilities. Overall, they led and supported Wellesley’s response to the pandemic, and continue to do so. It is the local public health agencies on the frontlines that are ultimately responsible for the health and well-being of the community. Wellesley is indeed fortunate to have a genuinely exceptional local public health board and staff.
In this time of need The Community Fund for Wellesley’s COVID 19 Relief Fund (CCFW COVID 19) was created in partnership with the Wellesley Select Board to identify and address community needs during the coronavirus crisis. With the support and generosity of Wellesley residents, the CFFW COVID 19 Relief Fund was able to grant over $125,000, in emergency relief funding in critical areas. The CFFW COVID 19 Relief Fund was made possible entirely by neighbors caring for their neighbors. Grants were made to support the following areas of critical need including:
· Food insecurity – the creation of a Wellesley restaurant delivery program providing hundreds of hot meals and grocery gift cards for food insecure residents.
· Health Care & Mental Health – technology to support improved communication for nursing home residents & their care givers; creation of professionally led support groups & resource materials to address pandemic related mental health needs; transportation to vaccination centers; and, gift cards to purchase emergency supplies for residents with COVID.
· PPE – Over 5,000 masks/pieces of PPE were provided/created, including KN95 masks & materials for creation of masks, and masks for the Wellesley Police Dept as part of the ‘Mask Up’ program; hand sanitizing stations for local businesses as part of the business districts’ reopening.
· Education – remote learning materials, arts & crafts supplies, biweekly lunch program for at-risk WPS students.
· Youth Employment – creation of the Green Shirts youth employment program, support for youth sports coaching/mentoring jobs.
· Community Engagement & Recreation – support to create COVID-safe Mobile Movie Nights with the Wellesley Kiwanis Club; provide summertime splash pads for youth; and support for downtown art shows.
Our town also honors the many volunteers, donors, and sewing group members who have stepped up in this time of need to help provide critical safety supplies for our community. By the end of the summer of 2020, more than 20,000 face masks, headbands for nurses, and nursing caps had been painstakingly measured, cut, pinned, and sewed by the Sewing COVID 19 Help Group; the medical community, residents, Town staff, and businesses all benefited. In what felt like a blink of an eye, face masks became a critical part of our plan to protect our community and slow down the rate of infection and the Sewing COVID 19 Help Group of dedicated volunteers emerged and rose to the challenge of developing patterns and providing these vital supplies under the leadership of Lynda Cowin Nijensohn to meet the need.
The plague came to Wellesley and suddenly a brave medical army of volunteers and Town employees stood strong, you deserve to be our Grand Marshals.
Distinguished Service Award: Sue Webb, Retires After 44 Years of Service
On January 5, 2021 Animal Control Officer Susan “Sue” Webb completed her last shift as the Town of Wellesley’s Animal Control Officer. She leaves enormous shoes to fill, as she served as the town’s sole Animal Control Officer for over 44 years. She first began her career with the Wellesley Police Department in 1976. She left for a couple of years in the early 1980’s when she moved out of state, but soon returned to Wellesley and was re-hired as the Town’s Animal Control Officer.
Many might think there wouldn’t be much for an Animal Control Officer to do, but Sue’s days were filled with many animal related calls for service; ranging from the ordinary barking dog complaint or lost cat to trapping bats in houses or skunks in basements or even rescuing beavers in distress in the Charles River. Sue was also responsible for enforcing the town’s Bylaws for dog/cat licensing, dog conduct, nuisance or dangerous dog hearings and the associated penalties and fines for violations. After doing the work for so many years she knew many of these pets by name and where they lived.
Another big part of Sue’s job was education for the public. Sue has spent the past 40 plus years educating residents about their household pets and the wildlife they may have contact with in their backyards or while walking the various trails around town. She is a walking encyclopedia of animal related information and loved sharing her knowledge with others. Sue most enjoyed when she got to interact with the youth in town to educate them about her job and animals. You would always see Sue with a table set up at community events such as the Police Department’s Annual Open House and July Jubilation in the Square.
Over the years Sue has reunited countless dogs and cats with their owners. She has estimated that between microchips and the use of social media she is able to reunite 95% of pets back to their owners in less than 24 hours.
Sue loves her work and volunteered countless hours of her personal time working with the Safe People Safe Pets Program, being an advocate for Domestic Violence and Sheltering Animals, Stray Pets in Need and many other organizations.
Sue has a passion for search and rescue and has owned several search and rescue dogs over the years. After the 9/11 attacks Sue responded to New York City to assist in the search and rescue efforts for victims trapped in the rubble. She plans to continue her search and rescue work in her retirement.
We thank Sue for her dedicated and unwavering service to the Police Department and Town of Wellesley and wish her well in her retirement.
(Article by Lt. Marie Cleary, Wellesley Police Dept.
Chief of Staff and Oldest Veteran: Willard P. Hunnewell
One of the great privileges of living 100 years is the opportunity to do so much good for your country, for your family, and for our town.
Willard P. Hunnewell has performed a century of achievement.
With a large thank you from the entire town, The Wellesley Celebrations Committee, a standing committee of the Select Board, Town of Wellesley honors Willard Hunnewell as both our CHIEF OF STAFF and THE OLDEST VETERAN.
Willard is the great-grandson of Wellesley benefactor Horatio Hollis Hunnewell, whose family home “Wellesley” inspired the name of this great town in 1881. A 1943 graduate of Harvard University, Willard served our Country in World War II as a U.S. Navy navigator in the Atlantic and Pacific theatres. He owned Apco Mossberg Company, which created precision instruments and tools including those used in the jewelry industry.
The many beautiful trees you see surrounding Lake Waban are there through the care and nurturing of Willard Hunnewell. As caretaker for the Pinetum a collection of pine and conifer trees from around the world created by H.H. Hunnewell and located on the Hunnewell estate.
Mr. Hunnewell has pursued a lifetime passion for nature through numerous horticulture associations, including as a member and past president of the Massachusetts Horticulture Association, as a Charles River Watershed Association volunteer, as a respected beekeeper managing multiple hives on the Hunnewell property.
A moral and social leader in our community. Willard strong character, dedication to Wellesley, and joy of life, enriches and beautifies the town we share.
Willard Hunnewell has had the blessings of opportunity to spread not only the gifts of charity but also the beauty of nature making our town a showplace of sustainability.
Thank you, Willard Hunnewell for all you have done.
Community Service Award: Jack Morgan
There is a responsibility that comes with success. We are prosperous town, rich in ideals and generous in community service. Many who volunteer to serve bring that responsibility and make Wellesley a better place.
Jack Morgan has served on the highest levels. So today, The Wellesley Celebrations Committee, a standing committee of the Select Board, Town of Wellesley honors Jack Morgan, for his service with a COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD.
Jack Morgan has over 40 years of broad general management, marketing, planning, finance, and business development experience in the biotech and healthcare products industry. Jack graduated from Boise High School, Yale University, and the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
He moved to Wellesley in 1991 and served on Wellesley Town Meeting for 22 years and on the Select Board for five years, including serving as Chair from July 2018 to June 2019. Over the past twenty years he also served as an officer of the Advisory Committee, Community Preservation Committee and on numerous School facilities planning committees and the Wellesley Town Democratic Committee.
Jack moved to Natick in 2020 but continues to be an active member of the Wellesley Hills Congregational Church, where he is currently Rising Moderator. He regrets missing the Parade today as he attends his 45th GSB reunion in Palo Alto.
Thank you, Jack for all that you have done.
Community Service Award: Matt Kelley
There is a vital mission for the Wellesley public schools: To ensure that all our kids, have every chance to pursue the American dream, to gain the skills, so they can make their own choices. Every town member of the school committee is dedicated to that mission.
Matt Kelley has served admirable on the school committee. It’s long hours and many meetings. But our schools must always be the crown jewels of the town.
Today, The Wellesley Celebrations Committee, a standing committee of the Select Board, Town of Wellesley honors Matt Kelley, for his service with grateful gives him our Community Service Award.
Matt is a native of the Midwest but came to the Boston area for school in 1984 and has never left. After finishing his degrees at MIT while working for BBN Communications in Cambridge. Matt joined Rocket Software in 1990, then a startup software company with three employees. Matt and his wife, Laurie, moved to Wellesley in 2004, where they have raised their four children, at different times having kids in six different Wellesley public schools.
After almost 25 years of hard work and Rocket’s success beyond dreams, he retired from software, ready for other pursuits in life. Partly out of a desire to give back to the community and partly to model civic engagement and hard work for his children, Matt ran for election to the School Committee in 2014, and to his surprise, won a seat. His six years of service on the School Committee, including two years as Chair, involved incredibly hard work, but were also incredibly gratifying. He is grateful to have had the opportunity.
Thank you, Matt Kelley for your dedication and service.
Community Service Award: David Chapin
There is saying that to whom much is given much is required. This biblical reference invokes notions of leadership and service, qualities that each who volunteer to serve in our town demonstrate. David Chapin has served 25 years on Board of Assessors. He left in March 2021.
This is many ways is most necessary and thankless job. Without our assessors we wouldn’t have schools to educate our kids. Or any of the essential services that make our life easier and our town so desirable. They
make a meaningful difference in the lives of our fellow citizens.
With large thank you, The Wellesley Celebrations Committee, a standing committee of the Select Board, Town of Wellesley honors David Chapin with its Dedicated Service Award.
David was well qualified for this unique role. He graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Economics. For over 30 years he worked with the Niles company in Boston. One of that cities, largest multi-family property owners. He left Niles and formed Chapin Properties. Bringing his unique
skill sets of management and appraisal of commercial and multi-family properties.
Currently, he is Director of Senior Living Inc. in Wellesley.
The board of assessors is not a glamorous job. It’s a tough one, where wise decisions are vital. It takes some the smartest, hardest working, and most thoughtful and able people to make the right choices. David Chapin served with considerable sacrifice to themselves and his family.
We are fortunate to have such a well-qualified and thoughtful professional suit up every day. Thank you, David Chapin.
Community Service Award: Regina LaRocque
Leadership sets the tone in Wellesley, a tone of good will, civility, and energy. Dr. Regina LaRocque brought that spirit of cooperation in her academic medical practice, as a town meeting member, and as Natural Resources Commissioner for Wellesley.
Today, The Wellesley Celebrations Committee, a standing committee of the Select Board, Town of Wellesley honors Dr. Regina LaRocque, a Wellesley resident, for 13 years. We proudly give her a Community Service Award.
Dr. Regina LaRocque has lived in Wellesley for just over a decade. But she has accomplished so much. She represents precinct E in Wellesley Town Meeting and served on the Natural Resources Commission from 2017 to 2020. As commissioner she set of specific priorities fixing natural gas leaks, conservation lands, and water resources. She has also brought concerns about the impact of climate change on human health and the spread of infectious diseases.
Community Service Award: Sharon Gray
The members of the School Committee express a deep belief in Wellesley schools and their mission to educate and build the mind as well as character of every child and of every background. It’s what makes our town special.
Today, The Wellesley Celebrations Committee, a standing committee of the Select Board, Town of Wellesley honors Sharon Gray, a member of the school committee since 2014. Serving in a variety of committee roles that includes secretary and as chair, and, recently, as the vital liaison on the Reopening Advisory Committee in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All her committee responsibilities have been served with integrity and distinction. We are proud of her service and honored that Sharon Gray will receive Community Service Award.
Education, has been said, is not the filling of a pail, it is the lighting of a fire. Our schools make our town unique. Sharon Gray was there when we needed her. We thank you, Sharon, for your years of hard work and your dedication to the students of Wellesley.
Community Service Award: Marjorie Freiman
Creating a better Wellesley has been the constant focus of our Select Board. When they succeed many other successes follow, throughout the lives of our citizens.
Today, The Wellesley Celebrations Committee, a standing committee of the Select Board, Town of Wellesley honors Marjorie Freiman, a Wellesley resident, and Select Board chair. All of us who live and work here thank you for your dedication to the town, and you make us proud to be a Community Service Award Honoree.
Community Service Award: Dr. Lloyd Tarlin
Pediatricians treat children, infants, and adolescents as they grow and mature. These dedicated professionals meet unique needs. The practice may be as old as civilization itself. The Greek roots ped means child, Iatri is medical care, and the suffix ician means practitioner. Combine the roots and the suffix the overall meaning comes as a doctor who specializes in medical care of children. Some centuries later in Wellesley we have our own special pediatrician, Dr. Lloyd D. Tarlin. Today, The Wellesley Celebrations Committee, a standing committee of the Select Board, Town of Wellesley honors Dr. Tarlin, a Wellesley resident, for over 43 years. We are proud of his selfless service and most certainly deserves to be our
Dedicated Community Service Honoree.
There are many superlatives we can highlight of Dr. Tarlin service. He’s passionate, loyal to the town, knowledgeable and of course supporting.
He’s a great reason why Wellesley is a special place. The success of our town should never be judged by the sum of its wealth. Wellesley has been successful because of people like Dr. Tarlin who for the last 58 years offers our kids a healthier life.
Service has always been calling for Dr. Tarlin. A veteran of the USAF, a Fellowship at Harvard’s Family Health Care Program, and serving those in need at Boston City Hospital. The reality here is simple: Dr. Tarlin has always been concerned and gives so much of himself.
In 2009, one of Dr. Tarlin proudest accomplishments was as member of the Wellesley Board of Health. The Townsmen reported, “in a year of swine flu and chaotic free clinics, the Wellesley Health Department “went above and beyond the call of duty…” The town survived this outbreak thanks to the leadership and dedication of many professionals. Dr. Tarlin’s skills, energy and town activism has made Wellesley a better place.
A Wellesley Resident since 1968, he has served on the Wellesley Board of Health for 12 years. He also served on the Youth Commission. A graduate of Swarthmore College in 1959, Dr. Tarlin, received his MD in 1963 at the Western Reserve School of Medicine.
Today so many Wellesley residents live longer, healthier, and happier lives because of the important work that Dr. Tarlin did every single day. We’re glad to have this opportunity to honor him.
Special Recognition Award: Max Hobart
Great cities have great music: Our own BSO in Symphony Hall or Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York. But our small town has shown it can play in the big leagues too because of a great leader Max Hobart.
Maestro Hobart has been hailed as one of Boston’s most versatile musicians. He is highly respected as a performer, conductor, and teacher, and now he’s retiring after 25 years as the Conductor of the Wellesley
Symphony Orchestra. He will conduct his final concert in May, 2022 and plans to stay in the area and pursue some guest conducting opportunities.
With great fanfare, The Wellesley Celebrations Committee, a standing committee of the Select Board, Town of Wellesley honors Max Hobart with a Special Recognition Award.
orchestra. It’s really a regional orchestra. Our players come from 35 different towns.”
Special Recognition Award: Leslie Holmes
Our town has been blessed with the magic of music. Leslie Holmes, President Emerita of the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra, Chair of the Advisory Board of BACA, is also a gifted soprano and pianist. She has been soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops, the Opera Company of Boston, the Chorus Pro Musica, the MIT Choral Society, the Wellesley Choral Society, the Wellesley College Choir, the
Wellesley Symphony Orchestra, at Castle Hill, and at Hammond Castle.
Today we have another accolade for Ms. Holmes. The Wellesley Celebrations Committee, a standing committee of the Select Board, Town of Wellesley honors Leslie Holmes, with a Special Recognition. Award.
Wellesley will miss her beautiful voice as she has stepped down this year as the president of the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra. She leaves behind a brilliant musical legacy. Leslie has given many pre-concert lectures and provided narrations with choruses and orchestras in the area. A Wellesley College graduate, Leslie is well-known for her numerous solo appearances, as well as for her radio program of eleven years on Classical Radio Boston, WCRB.
Ms. Holmes also has presented many lecture/recitals of music by women composers, French composers, classic American popular composers, and classical cabaret. She gave a lecture/recital entitled “The History of French Cabaret” at the summer of 1999 National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) national workshop on the French Song. Leslie has given her ever-popular Cabaret français at, among other places, the French Library and Cultural Center, the Harvard Club, the French House at Wellesley College, Bard College, Brandeis University, and the Providence Athenaeum.
We are proud that Leslie Holmes brought her immense talents to our town. With a song in our hearts, we wish her all the best and thank you for the beautiful joy of music.
Special Recognition Award: Joyce Downes
Can we imagine life without music? Impossible, those create music have made huge impact on our lives. Joyce Downes has been playing beautiful music since 1948. Her work has made a difference for so many people who enjoy her musical gift.
Joyce a cellist, has been playing the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra since its founding. She was all of 18 years of age and played under the direction of Rolland Tapley.
Today, The Wellesley Celebrations Committee, a standing committee of the Select Board, Town of Wellesley honors Joyce Downes with a Special Recognition Award.
Thank you, Joyce Downes for the joy of music.
This pandemic demonstrates the ingenuity, dedication and hard work of nurses and shows that they are truly a beacon of light. In the words of President George H.W. Bush, “No problem of human making is too great to be overcome by human ingenuity, human energy and the untiring hope of
the human spirit.” We salute all of America’s nurses.
Here in Wellesley, we have our own special nurse, Linda Corridan. Linda formerly the Head Nurse in the Wellesley School System, helpful with our Covid issue and responsible for the care of 5,000 + students ranging from 2.9 to 22 years of age and 1,000+ faculty and staff. Today, The Wellesley Celebrations Committee, a standing committee of the Select Board, Town of Wellesley honors Linda Corridan with a Dedicated Service Award.
Linda has long list of accomplishments. Her great career spans over 40 years of nursing experience in a variety of clinical settings. This includes acute and intensive care, occupational health, nursing education, hospital- wide administration, and supervision as well as Director of Nursing Services, in the Wellesley Public Schools. for the past twenty-two years. Linda’s experience was full display during\ the pandemic. She aligned the practice of the school nurses with public health nursing that helps focus the carrying out the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Wellesley Health Department guidelines to provide health and safety parameters in a school setting as well as for remote learners.
In these difficult times all the front-line defenders put their lives to provide healing and comfort for us, that’s what nurse Linda Corridan has done for us. Wellesley has enjoyed peace of mind knowing that this veteran nurse is steadfast and committed.
A grateful and healthier town thanks you.
Community Caring Award: Michelle Grignaffini and Tom Kelley
About the environment, about the town, and most importantly about each other.
We live a durable dream, to build a better life for those who those in need.
Today, The Wellesley Celebrations Committee, a standing committee of the Select Board, Town of Wellesley, honors, two wonderful people who have shown this commitment: Michelle Grignaffini and Tom Kelley, and present them with its Community Caring Award.
Our common good is found in the common bonds for each other.
Michelle Grignaffini is a life-long Wellesley resident. Giving back to her community is something that comes easy; she learned from her parents, the late Jon Callahan, and Terry Callahan who were passionate about giving to their community. Although donating a kidney is not quite giving to the community, it is when you donate to another life-long resident, Mary Jane Kelley.
Michelle Grignaffini explained why, “In January of 2019 I read a post in the Swellesley Report’s Facebook page… that Mary Jane had beat a type of cancer that ravaged her kidneys… This information struck a nerve with me.”
Tom Kelley has overcome a lifetime of challenges. At 49, Tom is developmentally disabled, undergoes dialysis for deteriorating kidneys. In the past year he has diagnosed with Covid-19. Yet gradually he has recovered. Tom has worked hard to return to his former self.
We are a wonderful town. We are rich in ideals, rich in compassion and family love and moral courage.
Michelle Grignaffini and Tom Kelley have lived that life.
We thank them and are proud they are members of our community.