A NEW PLAQUE recognizing the Lynnfield Historical Society’s presidents was unveiled during the Historical Commission’s June 28. From left, Historical Commission member/former Society President Bob MacKendrick, former Society President Nan Hockenbury, Commission member Steve Todisco, Commission member John Michalski and Commission Chairman Kirk Mansfield. Missing from photo is Commission member Abby Kilgore. (Dan Tomasello Photo)
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — A new plaque recognizing the Historical Society’s presidents is now on display inside the Meeting House.
The Historical Commission unveiled the new plaque during a June 28 meeting. Chairman Kirk Mansfield recalled that the Historical Commission voted to create the plaque in May. The Historical Commission is a town appointed board while the Society is a nonprofit organization.
“The Meeting House is an iconic structure within our community, and there are so many volunteers within the Lynnfield Historical Society who need to be acknowledged for decades of impeccable preservation,” said Mansfield in a statement. “Presidents Katherine Ross, Shirley Northrup, Edie Richard, Arthur Foulds, Nan Hockenbury and Donald Harriss — just to name a few — are people whose actions not only left an indelible mark, but showed us that leadership is not a privilege, but a responsibility. I truly hope this plaque, which will be hung in the Meeting House, will ensure their contributions to our town’s history are remembered for generations to come.”
Mansfield presented the plaque to Hockenbury and former Society President Bob MacKendrick, who is also a member of the Historical Commission.
“I want to thank both of you and all of the presidents for all of the hard work that you did,” said Mansfield. “The presidents listed go back to 1954.”
There are 22 Historical Society presidents listed on the plaque. Lois B. Tuck served as president from 1954-1958. Katherine Ross was president from 1958-1960. Gordon B. Wilkes served as president from 1960-1961. Harold F. Kaler was president from 1961-1962.
Manton P. Spear led the Historical Society from 1962-1964. Roy Hadsall served as president from 1964-1965. Gordon B. Wilkes was president for a second time from 1965-1966. Allen G. Barton served as president from 1966-1968. Martha G. Thorngren was president from 1968-1969.
Paul A. Hillman served as president from 1969-1971. James D. Borg was president from 1971-1976. F.W. Thomas III served as president from 1976-1977. Shirley Northrup Decker was president from 1977-1980. Arthur E. Foulds served as president from 1980-1988.
Ernestine Rose was president from 1988-1993. Shirley Northrup Decker was elected as the Historical Society’s president a second time, and served from 1993-1995. James D. Borg was president from 1995-1999. Edith M. Richard served as president from 1999-2004.
Donald G. Harriss served as president from 2004-2010. Hockenbury was president from 2010-2016. MacKendrick served as president from 2016-2018. Linda Gillon was the Historical Society’s president from 2018-2022.
Ron Sarro was recently elected as the Society’s 23rd president.
Hockenbury thanked the Historical Commission for creating the plaque.
“Thank you for doing this,” said Hockenbury. “This plaque is a nice compliment to all of us.”
“Absolutely,” said Mansfield. “It needed to be done. Thank you both so much.”
MacKendrick echoed Hockenbury and Mansfield’s sentiment in an interview with the Villager after the meeting.
“It’s a great honor,” said MacKendrick. “It’s overdue that we are recognizing the presidents of the Lynnfield Historical Society. The presidents have done so much to preserve the Meeting House.”
Historical Commission member Steve Todisco thanked Hockenbury and MacKendrick for their hard work serving as president of the Society during their respective tenures.
“Congratulations,” said Todisco.
Historical Society member Karen Nascembeni was touched that the Historical Commission honored the Society’s presidents, especially her late mother-in-law Edie Pope Richard.
“Edie was completely passionate about Lynnfield town history,” said Nascembeni in an interview with the Villager. “She prided herself in knowing as many people in town as possible. My late husband, Steven, would often laugh about how, when introducing Edie to a new friend, she would say, ‘Now, I don’t know your last name, dear. Are you new to town?’ For decades, she was an active member of the Lynnfield Historical Society. For five years, she served as president, hosted the annual September Potluck Supper meeting, chaired the ham and bean table, baked desserts and helped create the greens for the annual Country Store. She was also a featured speaker on growing up on the Pope Farm, and did so much more. At my home, I have binders full of Edie’s detailed meeting notes and observations on growing up in Lynnfield that I will someday donate to the Historical Commission archives.”
The Lynnfield Historical Society formed in 1954.