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Former Walpole Selectmen: Where are they now?

August 19, 2013

Update 8/26/13: There is now an addendum to this post. The Selectmen for whom information was unknown at the time of this article’s publication have been updated below.

Since Walpole’s founding in 1724, Walpole has been governed by a Board of Selectmen, which, over the years, has evolved from having significant control over town operations to having more limited control as it does now. Walpole has perhaps had hundreds of Selectmen over three centuries.

Walpole’s first Selectmen were Samuel Kingsbury (also the first Town Clerk), Joshua Clap, and Ezra Morse, all chosen at Town Meeting on December 28, 1724.

Until 1995, each member of the Board of Selectmen (and the Board of Assessors) received a stipend for their work. As of 1995, the chairman of the Board received $1,200 annually, the clerk of the Board received $1,100, and the three other Selectmen received $1,000 annually (there was no Vice Chair.)

Up until the 2000s, the Board of Selectmen actually met on a weekly basis, and, at times during its history, the Board has even had to hold twice-weekly meetings in order to manage their workload. In the late 1970s, Selectmen Clem Boragine and Philip H. Macchi both called for changes to the town government structure away from a Selectmen form of government, reasoning that the workload was getting too much for five people to do the work with only a small stipend. Other Selectmen and town officials have suggested similar proposals over the years as well.

These days, the Town Administrator does more of the work that the Board of Selectmen used to do, primarily in the areas of overseeing day-to-day operations and attending meetings during the day. Selectmen used to be present at Town Hall on a near daily basis. The town did not even have a Town Administrator until 1961 – before then, the position was known as Town Engineer and carried more limited duties. The first Town Administrator was Bob Boyd.

Until 1965, Selectmen held one-year terms. Since that time, they now have staggered three-year terms.

180 sought to find out what has happened to all of the people who have served on the Walpole Board of Selectmen since 1950. How many are still alive? How many still live in Walpole? How many remained involved in politics after they left the Board?

Walpole residents might be fascinated by the range of people who have served on the Board of Selectmen over time, some of whom have been forgotten over the years. A review of the Selectmen since 1950 simply does not do justice to all of the individuals who have served since 1724, but 180 does not have the time to research and write about each person. Anybody who has any interesting information on previous Selectmen from any year in history is welcome to submit them to 180 and they may be published in the future, or at least contributed to the Walpole Historical Society for their records. Anybody who has any interesting stories on any of the below Selectmen is also welcome to submit to 180.

Willis D. McLean (before 1950-1953) – McLean, known as “Mr. Walpole,” remained involved in local politics and civic organizations up until his death in April 1984. He was the first citizen to receive the Walpole Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award, which is still named in his honor.

John H. White (before 1950-1953) – White resigned from the Board in 1953 to become Town Clerk. He served in that position until 1962. Interestingly, White was also an inventor, and invented a machine that made bottle caps, among other inventions. He passed away in 1972.

John J. Burke (before 1950-1955) – Burke, who had started working for Bird and Son, Inc. right after high school, retired in 1963 from his position as general superintendent of that firm’s paper division. He moved to Falmouth, Mass. in 1978. He passed away at age 82 in 1980 in Falmouth.

Howard S. Hanna (before 1950-1952) – Hanna, who worked for Bird & Son’s Purchasing Dept., eventually moved to Maine. He passed away in 1959.

William J. Sheehan (before 1950-1952) – 180 found little information on Sheehan and what happened to him after his tenure on the Board. Any readers who know any information about him are welcome to email them to 180. Updates will be posted here.

Edward “Ted” J. Delaney (1952-1967) – After serving on the Board of Selectmen, Delaney spent more than a decade, from 1973 to 1989, on the Board of Sewer and Water Commissioners before retiring from town politics. In 1976, he ran for State Representative as a Democrat but lost in the primary. He died in 1993. The Walpole Water Department’s Treatment Plant on Washington Street is named after him. His brother founded the Delaney Funeral Home on Common Street, which is now operated by his nephew. Delaney was also the father-in-law of future Selectman Bill Maloney, who served in the 1990s.

Levi S. Thompson (1952-1955) – Thompson, a former police chief, passed away in 1958.

Janice Wilkins (1953-1963) – Wilkins, an attorney who worked for the Kendall Company in Walpole, was the first female ever elected to the Walpole Board of Selectmen. She owned a home in East Walpole for many years after leaving the Board, but she now lives in Westwood. In 2010, she received the Susan Colgate Cleveland Medal at the Colby-Sawyer College Commencement.

Charles W. Kemp (1954-1959) – Kemp passed away in 1966.

Harold E. Higgins (1955-1961) – Higgins, who was a Walpole police officer before he joined the Board of Selectmen, passed away in 1962.

Julius J. Yankee (1955-1957) – Yankee retired from his position at Bird Machine in 1958, and passed away in 1985 at age 92.

Charles Howard (1957-1959) – Howard passed away in 1959 during his term.

Chester Parasco (1959-1963) – Parasco served as Assistant Legal Counsel to Mass. Gov. Endicott Peabody after leaving the Board of Selectmen in 1963. He continued to live in East Walpole after his term on the Board, and he passed away in 2009.

Francis William Smith (1960-1961) – Smith was only 28 years old when he was elected to the Board of Selectmen. He was voted off the Board in 1961. Smith and his wife now live in Lexington, Mass.

Roscoe S. Bowden (1961-1962) – Bowden eventually moved to Maine and passed away in 1982.

Gilbert W. Anderson (1961-1964) – Anderson was an RTM until 1974, and passed away in 1976 in East Walpole.

Levi “Lee” Salonen (1962-1965) – Salonen still served in Town Meeting for many years after leaving the Board of Selectmen. He passed away in 2001.

Richard H. Holman (1963-1971) – Holman resigned from the Board in 1971. He ran unsuccessfully for Town Treasurer in 1974 and 1975. Holman also served on the Tri-County Vocational School District after his term as Selectman. Holman eventually retired to Florida and passed away in 2008 at age 85.

Frank W. Smith (1963-1971) – (no relation to Francis William Smith) Smith, who was a developer, built many houses in North Walpole. He built Smith Avenue in Walpole. He also served as a call firefighter in town. He passed away in 1992 at age 98. He has no family left in Walpole.

Eleanor N. Johnson (1964-1974) – Johnson served on the Housing Authority after leaving the Board in 1974, until her death in 1980. In 1981, the West Junior High School on Robbins Road was renamed in her honor (as Eleanor N. Johnson Middle School), in part as recognition of her service on the School Committee before she became a Selectman. Johnson’s daughters still live in Walpole, and her daughter Carol Johnson currently serves on the Walpole Board of Health.

Joseph L. Wissman (1965-1967, 1970-1973) – Wissman passed away in 2000.

David E. Perkins (1967-1972) – Perkins resigned from the Board in 1972, and was replaced by Clem Boragine. He eventually moved to Canton and passed away in 1985.

Richard K. Troxell (1967-1970) – After leaving the Board of Selectmen, Troxell served as Town Moderator until 1972. He left that office to move to New York. He has lived in Weston, Conn. ever since then.

Roy G. Fisher (1971-1974) – Fisher remained involved in politics after leaving the Board. He served on the Planning Board from 1981 to 1984, and again from 1986 to 1987. He also served as an RTM from 1971 to 1978. He was a Finance Committee member from 1974 to 1977, a board he had also served on before being Selectman. He retired to Maine in 1988, and passed away in 2006.

Bernard J. Duffy (1971-1974) – Duffy resigned from the Board in 1974 and served on the Finance Committee from 1974 to 1977. He served as Town Moderator from 1985 to his death in 1991. He was a RTM from Walpole Representative Town Meeting’s founding in 1971 until 1986. Duffy’s Point in the Walpole Town Forest is named after him. His widow, Louise Duffy, passed away in 2013, and no members of the family are left in town.

Clement Boragine (1972-1975, 1981-1987) – Boragine and his wife, Mary Ann Boragine, remained in Town Meeting until recently. Clem served on the Board of Assessors as well for many years after serving as Selectman, but left that Board a few years ago. Mary Ann was also on the Finance Committee until recently. Both he and his wife appear to have officially retired from local politics.

Philip H. Macchi (1973-1976) – Macchi is an attorney in town, along with his son. He is not involved in politics as an elected or appointed official anymore, but he is occasionally seen at town government meetings representing clients.

Edward F. Averi (1974-1977) – Averi still lives in Walpole, although he is no longer involved in local politics. He is occasionally seen at the Walpole Historical Society these days. He still consistently votes in town elections.

Robert W. Foster (1974-1977) – Foster stayed involved in politics for a number of years after leaving the Board, however he has now retired. He still lives on Union Street in East Walpole, and is often seen at Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies in Walpole as a World War II veteran.

Norman L. Pidgeon (1974-1975) – Pidgeon passed away earlier this year, at age 87, in Florida where he had retired.

Thomas H. McCormack (1975-1978) – McCormack is still living on Woodruff Road in Walpole. He remained an RTM for many years after leaving the Board, and ran for other offices over the years. He launched a failed write-in campaign for Selectman in 2001, garnering more than 1,200 votes. He largely stays out of local politics these days, although he continues to stay in tune with the issues. He used to be a regular writer of letters to the editor in The Walpole Times, but has sadly quieted down these days in his older age.

John F. Campbell (1976-1979, 1980-1983) – Campbell was very involved in local politics from the 1970s continuing into the 1990s. He passed away in 1997. His wife, Mary Campbell, is still an RTM from Precinct 4, and she serves on the Personnel Board.

Frank A. Farinacci (1976-1979, 1980-1983) – Farinacci remained involved in local politics after leaving the Board. He was a founding member of Walpole’s Town Meeting in 1971, and remained as a member of that body until his death in 1998. He also served on the Sewer and Water Commission from 1987 to 1990, a board he had also served on before being Selectman from 1975 to 1977.

Jo Ann Sprague (1977-1980) – Sprague is arguably the most politically successful former member of the Walpole Board of Selectmen. She is the only Walpole Selectman in recent decades to actually go on to serve in higher office beyond Town Hall. Sprague became a State Representative in 1993, and a State Senator in 1999. She ran for Congress in 2001 as the Republican nominee against eventual winner Stephen Lynch. She retired from the State Senate in 2004 and now lives in Chatham, Mass. where she currently serves on the Chatham Finance Committee. She still has family in Walpole, including her son Steve who is occasionally seen supporting Republican candidates in national elections.

Albert A. Scott, Jr. (1977-1980) – Scott still lives in Walpole, but he is no longer involved in local politics. He still has family in Walpole as well.

Clifford E. Barnes, Jr. (1978-1981) – Barnes remained involved in local politics long after his tenure on the Board of Selectmen. He ran for various other town positions over the years, including the Planning Board and Town Collector. He also served as an RTM. These days, he has retired from town politics but he still lives in Walpole.

Alan D. “Moody” Rockwood (1979-1982, 1987-1989, 2000-2003) – Rockwood was a highly-respected Selectman and local businessman during his three different tenures on the Board. He passed away in office in 2003. His family is still involved in local politics, as his cousin, Jon Rockwood, serves as Town Moderator. The family is also active in local civic organizations.

James P. Ginley (1979-1985) – Ginley, along with Francis Smith and future Selectman Michael Berry, was among Walpole’s youngest Selectmen ever elected. He was 28 when he was elected. Ginley served two terms on the Board, and later moved to Franklin, Mass. where he still resides. His family is still in the funeral home business, and they own the Ginley Funeral Home on Main Street in Walpole. His website indicates that he is married to Kathy Ginley (née Dolbec), a former Walpole Times editor, and he serves on the Board of Directors of Dean Bank in Franklin.

William T. Hamilton (1982-1997) – Hamilton has remained active in local politics even after being voted off the Board of Selectmen in 1997. He still serves as an RTM from Precinct 5. He has run for Selectman several times, including in 2000 (with Cliff Snuffer as one of the candidates – both lost), and he ran several times in the past few years, all unsuccessfully.

Barbara A. O’Brien (1983-1986) – O’Brien now lives in Wakefield, NH. Her brother still lives in Walpole.

David L. Wakefield (1983-1986) – Wakefield has left local politics for good. He is, however, still involved with his family’s insurance business, Herbert W. Lewis, in Walpole, and he owns the famous Lewis Castle on East Street though he apparently does not personally reside there.

Gene R. Cavallero, Jr. (1985-1987) – Cavallero, who staked out a reputation as a fiscal conservative while on the Board, resigned from the Board in 1987 to run for Town Treasurer on a platform of abolishing the position. He defeated a fellow former Selectman, Cliff Barnes, to win the race in a close vote. A year later, the position of Town Treasurer was indeed abolished by the voters, and replaced with an appointed Finance Director. He briefly considered running for Selectman again in 1989, but didn’t run. Cavallero left Walpole in the mid-1990s. He now lives in Clarksville, Tennessee, a large city near the Kentucky state line. You can find him on Facebook.

Joanne F. Damish (1986-1995) – Damish is still an elected Town Meeting Representative in Precinct 3, along with her husband Ed. Two of her children, Diane Culhane and Robert Damish, are also elected RTMs from Precinct 7. Joanne Damish is also involved with the Council on Aging.

Albert A. Lamperti (1986-1989) – Lamperti, defeated for re-election in 1989, now lives in Yarmouth, Mass. He still has family in Walpole.

Joseph P. Germano (1987-1993) – Germano eventually moved to Wrentham and passed away in 2009.

John J. Hamilton (1989-1990) – (no relation to William Hamilton) Hamilton ran for the Board of Selectmen with no significant prior political experience except a tenure as head of the anti-sludge Walpole Citizens’ Advisory Committee. With anti-sludge activists backing him, Hamilton defeated Bill Maloney for a seat on the Board in a special election to replace Alan D. Rockwood, who had resigned and left two years on his term to spend more time with his family. But less than a year after his election, Hamilton himself abruptly resigned from the Board along with several other anti-sludge leaders who resigned from other town boards in the fallout from a Finance Committee vote not to fund the rehiring of a anti-sludge lobbyist (a vote that was later reversed). Hamilton remained involved with the anti-sludge effort after leaving the Board, which was ultimately successful, but he didn’t go back to elected office. Within the past 15 years, he made a dramatic career change, and ended a career in advertising to become the pastor at the First Congregational Church in Norwood. He now lives in North Walpole.

Paul A. Palermino (1989-1992) – Palermino now lives in Swan Pond in Walpole. He has left local politics for good.

William J. Maloney, Jr. (1990-2000) – Maloney has largely left local politics these days. He was an RTM until recently, and also served as a member of the Norfolk County Advisory Board as Walpole’s representative. He still votes in town elections regularly although he isn’t in an elected capacity anymore.

William “James” O’Connell (1992-1994) – O’Connell resigned from the Board because he was no longer living in Walpole at the time. He now serves as a detective in the Walpole Police Department, although he does not live in town.

Kenneth A. Jones (1993-1996) – Jones, who had a very uneventful tenure on the Board before being defeated in his campaign for re-election in 1996 by the popular sludge heroine Joanne Muti, still lives in Walpole, and runs Kenny Jones Corp. He served as a Town Meeting Representative for some years after leaving the Board, but he has left local politics now. His brother, Russell Jones, ran for Selectman in 2011 and 2012, although he lost both times. Russell Jones now serves as an RTM from Precinct 3.

John F. Sheehan (1994-1998) – (no relation to William Sheehan) Sheehan still lives in Walpole, and was involved in the pro-library override effort in 2008 and 2009 as Chairman of the Walpole Public Library Endowment Trust. He still maintains an interest in local politics, though he doesn’t serve in any elected offices.

Ronald E. Mariani (1995-2001) – Mariani still lives in Walpole. After leaving the Board, he was only somewhat involved in politics, and he let his RTM term expire without seeking re-election. He became an RTM again during the 2007 power plant fight. He was a strong opponent of the 2007 general override, and also aggressively opposed a proposal to consider instituting trash fees in 2009. But he has since left Town Meeting and isn’t politically involved anymore, to the disappointment of many so-called local “conservatives.” He still follows town politics to an extent.

Joanne Muti (1996-2001) – Muti suddenly resigned during her second term due to time commitments, and was replaced by Susan Maguire in a special election. She is still involved in local politics as a Town Meeting Representative. Her husband Kevin Muti served on the Sewer & Water Commission until 2013. The Mutis are currently in the process of selling their house, and they are leaving Walpole.

James E. O’Neil (1997-2000) – O’Neil, who ended Bill Hamilton’s long service on the Board of Selectmen by defeating him in 1997, still serves as an RTM from Precinct 8, along with his wife. He did not run for re-election to the Board in 2000, but unsuccessfully attempted to get back on the Board in 2001.

William P. Ryan (1998-2006) – Ryan has stayed involved in local politics since leaving the Board in 2006. He still serves as a Town Meeting Representative, and he currently serves on the Personnel Board.

Judith A. Conroy (2000-2003) – Conroy has largely left local politics, though she still lives in town. Her husband, Jack Conroy, still serves on the Planning Board.

John Hill (2001-2002) – Hill passed away in office in 2002.

Susan Maguire (2001-2002) – Maguire took over the unexpired term left by Joanne Muti’s resignation. She was defeated by Michael Caron in her bid for re-election in 2002. During her term, she was involved with the hiring of Town Administrator Michael Boynton, whom she praised at the time. Maguire remained an RTM for a number of years afterward, but has since left local politics apparently permanently. She was involved with the anti-library effort in 2009, and pushed for the vote recount. She is still available for a quote every now and then from reporters looking for hardcore “vote no” override opponents.

Michael F. Caron (2002-2008) – Caron has largely left local politics, though he still lives in town.

Catherine E. Winston (2003-2009) – Winston has largely left local politics, perhaps for good. She still lives in Walpole and follows politics closely, however.

Joseph M. Denneen (2003-2007) – Denneen still serves as a Town Meeting Representative, and now serves on the Walpole Finance Committee.

Albert A. DeNapoli (2004-2010) – DeNapoli is still involved in local politics as a member of the Personnel Board, though he is no longer an RTM or other elected official.

Christopher G. Timson (2006-present) – n/a

David M. Sullivan (2007-2010) – Sullivan ran for Selectman again in 2011, but failed to win the seat left behind by Cliff Snuffer. He has maintained involvement in local politics as a Town Meeting Representative, and he still has interest in seeking higher office.

Clifton K. Snuffer (2008-2011, 2013-present) – n/a

Nancy S. Mackenzie (2009-present) – n/a

Michael C. Berry (2010-present) – n/a

Eric A. Kraus (2010-2013) – Kraus stepped down after only one term on the Board. He has expressed interest in running for Selectman again. He is still a Town Meeting Representative, along with his wife.

Mark E. Gallivan (2011-present) – n/a

180 would be very interested to see what is in store in the future for the five current Selectmen.

No matter their political views, 180 appreciates and thanks all of the people who have contributed their time to serving the town as members of the Board of Selectmen.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Tom Driscoll permalink
    August 19, 2013 4:56 PM

    Sam – This is very interesting. I forwarded this on to former selectmen Tom McCormack who is related to former Speaker McCormac and is a keen follower of town affairs. I occasionally see Bob Foster who is 93 and very sharp. Bob holds the French equivalent of the Medal of Honor for heroism in the American Army in WW II. Through a mishap hes was not awarded 2 purple hearts from wounds about 70 years ago until about 3 years ago. On Memorial Day on Walpole common his son-in-law Col. Randall Bentley pinned them on Bob. Randall was an aide to VP Dick Cheney. Bob was in his uniform. As a former soldier it was heartwarming to see a full Colonel salute a private. Bob is very proud his grandson who entered his freshman year at West Point on July 1. Bob does not have a computer but I will print this for him.

  2. Dave C. permalink
    August 30, 2013 10:57 AM

    Thanks Sam for this interesting and informative article.

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