Ashland Day Honorees

Every September the Ashland Day Committee and the Citizen Award Committee chooses a Grand Marshall and a Citizen of the Year. While I am overstating the obvious, these are people who have dedicated their time and resources to make Ashland the premier community it is today. I was sifting through the Ashland Historical Society’s collection of Ashland Directions to find these people, and where it is my intention not to miss anyone, here are a few of the faces that graced the front page.

According to Andy Warhol, everyone has 15 minutes of fame, but the following people were already famous in my estimation. The list over the last 24 years is quite extensive, requiring a couple of installments. Here we go!

Harold “Grump” Walker – 1986 Grand Marshall. Grump was a legend in the Ashland school system. After joining the Science Dept. at Ashland High in 1930, Grump was probably better known as an outstanding football, basketball, and baseball coach.

Ben Montengro – 1986 Citizen of theYear. The man many consider the father of Ashland Day. Along with his trusty pipe, Ben oversaw numerous municipal improvement projects in the town. Being a former Highway Superintendent and business owner, Ben’s expertise and quiet demeanor made him a pleasure to work with.

Miss Lillian Dodd – 1987 Grand Marshall. Hired as a 6th grade teacher in 1919, Miss Dodd taught in the district for over 42 years. Serving as principal of the South School from 1927 to 1929, she eventually went back to teaching 6th grade at the “new” Central Street School (Pittaway School today) until her retirement in 1961. She was remembered for teaching not only math and grammar, but politeness as well.

Bernie Kane Р1987 Citizen of the Year. At the time of his nomination, 60 year old Bernie was a resident of Ashland for 32 years. Involved in a variety of sports, academic, and civic organizations, Bernie was President of the Boosters Club, Knights of Columbus, Framingham Elks, and St. Cecilia’s Church.

Harry Marchetti – 1988 Grand Marshall. Appointed the first Juvenile Officer in Ashland, Harry served as member of Ashland’s finest. Always with a smile on his face, he would give you the option of a good kick in the pants instead of a ticket if he caught us speeding. He served as the first Commander of the V.F.W. Post 2331, and his picture is proudly displayed on the wall of Past Commanders downstairs at the Post.

Jim Buckley – 1989 Grand Marshall. Jim was active in the St. Cecilia’s Church, St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Ashland Emergency Fund. On the civic side he served on the Finance Committee and the Housing Authority. Jim was generous financially, and also altruistic.

June Gehrig – 1989 Citizen of the Year. Although her participation in Ashland activities was extensive, June was probably best known as the Coordinator for Senior Services. June ensured that the seniors in town were never isolated by offering programs like the Shopping Bus, Meals on Wheels, bowling, and the Hot Line for seniors who liked a “How’s everything” call every day.

B.J. O’Day – 1990 Grand Marshall. Bernie “B.J.” O’Day was very active in all of the Ashland Day planning activities. A former officer in the Ashland Police Department, B.J. was a logical choice for Grand Marshall in 1990.

Doris Overturf and Andy Talvy – 1990 Co-Citizens of the Year. Doris Overturf was the “calming” influence as Moderator at Town Meeting. Keeping order when controversial or passionate issues hit the floor was not an easy task. Doris performed her task with grace and a smile.

Andy Talvy is best known for Talvy Florists of Ashland (next to the Sunnyside Restaurant). Andy is also the owner of Andy’s Trucking on Front Street, and is actively involved in many local organizations including the Ashland Lions Club.

Ed Outhouse – 1991 Grand Marshall. Ed Outhouse was a business man in Ashland, owning Productioneering on Cordaville Rd. Ed was a great example of pride and community spirit.

Evelyn Gates and Arnold Baker – 1991 Citizens of the Year. Evelyn Gates was another beloved teacher, as well as Captain of the “Directions” ship. She brought her organizational skills to the volunteers. The Ashland Directions was a “cut and paste” publication until a year ago, so it must have been a lot of fun with the 20+ members on the staff!

At the time of his nomination in 1991, Arnold Baker was a prominent and visible figure in Ashland politics serving on the Board of Selectmen for over 28 years. Other than golf, baseball was one of his greatest passions. Arnold coached Little League for over 6 years, and Legion Baseball for over 20.

Next month – The next ten years.

Steve Leacu for Ashland Directions
December 2010