Steven Byrne welcomes Elaine Shea as Kevin Greeley, left, applauds.Selectman Steven Byrne welcomes Elaine Shea as Kevin Greeley,
left, applauds at a Town Hall ceremony June 27.

As honors flowed to 11 people or groups on Thursday, June 27, Elaine Shea told a story that captured the evening.

In accepting an award for her late husband, Bill, she recalled for about 130 at Town Hall Auditorium a tale from Leo Rosten that said the purpose of life is to be useful, to stand for something. "That sounds just like you," she recalled telling him.

His response: "Doing all that makes me happy."

"All that" included 40 years as a Town Meeting member and his effective work on the town's Human Rights Commission as well as on the Permanent Town Building Committee, the board that has helped reshape our schools.

His wife's anecdote, which brought a tear to some, reflected the evening's meaning for what was a family event, as young relatives of those honored gathered with their elders.

Photos of all recipients

Leaders -- in Town Hall and among the general public -- were recognized for their contributions to Arlington -- in schools, finances and community. Here are the awards, who received them and a bit about how each recipient has made Arlington a better town:


Honoring Cyrus and Vittoria Dallin, this award recalls citizens who made significant contributions to the civic and cultural life of the community. Cyrus, an internationally recognized sculptor who immortalized the American Indian, designed the bronze statue, "The Hunter," often called "The Menotomy Indian," which stands in the Winfield Robbins Memorial Park.

This award is for meritorious service to the community in the area of community beautification, education, artistic, cultural, humanistic or philanthropic contributions, meeting human needs.

Receiving it were the Arlington Education Foundation (AEF) and Jennifer Rothenberg.

"How crazy things have got," Selectmen Joseph Curro Jr. said, "with people wanting to move into our town."

His comment reflected the good work that the recipients of the Dallin Award had done, work that had the unintended consequence of drawing people to move here.

He introduced Marie Meteer, who spoke for the foundation, and then Rothenberg.

Meteer applauded "the generosity of the people of Arlington" in responding to the volunteer effort.

The AEF, a nonprofit that represents a merger of the Arlington Educational Enrichment Fund and the schools' foundation, has raised more than $1 million for the public schools. Most notably, it raised nearly $600,000 in 2010, to help offset a $3.9 million budget deficit.

Looking ahead to the fall, she said the AEF would be turning its focus to improving support for technology in the public schools.

Rothenberg received the second Dallin Award. "I identify a problem and work to get it fixed," she said, later adding, "Together, as a committee, we [all] have ...."

That individual and committee work includes involvement in improving the playground at Robbins Farm Park, supported by an auction that raised $60,000; her efforts as a Park & Rec commissioner since 2007; and a neighbor initiative in 2010 to make safer the unwieldy Fountain Road/Hawthorne Avenue intersection.


Named after the father of veteran selectman Kevin F. Greeley, this honor recalls the service of a town native who was on the Board of Public Works for two years and then the Board of Selectmen for 19 years. Recipients should reflect longtime, continuous and excellent service to the town.

Selectwoman Diane M. Mahon introduced Shirley Dunton and Claire Roberts. Both work in the town personnel/human resources department.

Dunton toiled in the treasurer's office for 11 years and transferred to personnel six years ago. Roberts transferred from high school payroll about five years.

Mahon cited Dunton's "passionate interpersonal skills" and trustworthy nature. With a smile, she noted Dunton's favorite celebrity: Elvis Presley.

Referring to Roberts's extensive knowledge of the Munis, financial-reporting system, Mahon called her a "creative problem solver" and a "calming force."

Both were praised for their roles in handling town employees' complex transition to GIC, state health-insurance system.


The honor is named for the Robbins family, benefactors of the town from 1785 until 1949. Called progressive, far-seeing, enterprising, world travelers, patrons of the arts, they exhibited "a generosity to Arlington stands as an unparalleled example of unselfish service for the good of the public," the program says.

The award is for significant contributions in service and leadership in social, cultural, educational, political, or religious activities as well as benevolent and philanthropic actions for the common good.

William E. SheaShea

Selectman Steven M. Byrne presented this award to Jane L. Howard and William E. Shea posthumously.

Howard, a founder of Vision 2020, has long been active in planning, governmental and arts issues. Read in detail about her here >>

Read an appreciation of Shea written following his death in 2012 >>

"I accept this award for many," Howard said, including her husband of nearly 49 years, Peter, a member of the Finance Committee. "I'm very proud to share this with my dear friend Bill Shea."

Byrne introduced Shea's wife, Elaine, who spoke movingly about her late husband.


For outstanding volunteer service to the town that enhances the quality of life for its residents, this honor went to the Friends of Robbins Farm Park and to two people who have been behind keeping Fox Library open.

Former Selectman Jack Hurd, chairman of the honors committee, presented plaques to Tony Vogel, representing the Friends, as well as Hilary A. Rappaport and Susanne E. Dorson.

"I didn't want to be up here by myself," said Vogel, indicating the broader support from volunteers who have helped make the area across from Brackett School a town's gathering place. He asked all board members to stand. (They are listed below.)

He called the steep hill that overlooks Boston, the playground, the sports venues, the place where residents celebrate the Fourth of July "one of the hearts of our community."

Hurd then turned to the Fox Library effort. Citing "leaders who move us in the right direction," he introduced Rappaport and Dorson. Beginning about eight years ago, when the Fox faced closing, he said the two stepped forward. They created the nonprofit Friends of Fox Library, held fund-raiser and kept the branch open.

In 2008, with Amy Weitzman, Dorson helped open the Little Fox Thrift Shop. It continues to resell clothing whose revenue supports one-quarter of the library's operating budget.

"When you love something, you don't want to take it for granted," Rappaport told the auditorium.

"This town is so full of those with amazing energies," Dorson said.


Honoring the memory of the man known as "Uncle Sam," who was born in Menotomy in 1766, this award recalls the World War I "I want you' image denoting strength and determination of a nation dedicated to freedom and equality for its citizens. The award is for considerable, exceptional and notable contributions to society in the areas of patriotism, business, youth and government.

Selectman Chairman Daniel J. Dunn presented plaques to John L. Worden III and Allan Tosti, representing the Finance Committee.

Noting that Worden began his 43-year Town Meeting participation, Dunn said, "That was two years before I was born."

The Town Meeting moderator for 19 years, Worden has served in a variety of roles aimed at preserving Arlington. That includes the Historic Districts Commission, the Historical Society, the Sanborn Foundation, the Old Schwamb Mill board and the Arlington Preservation Fund.

Worden looked out over the audience and said "the hall is very familiar to me." He said the person most worthy of thanks -- the one who has "put up with me" -- is his wife, Patricia, who has served on the Housing Authority and the School Committee.

Dunn seemed to preserve special relish for the Fincom.

A six-year member, he said its annual work of 30 to 50 meetings from January to June to guide town finances is notable for its "quantity and quality." He said that at a dinner at the end of one year, he saw that the three people with who he was seated had a combined 115 years' experience.

"I didn't want to have 21 [members] come up here," Tosti said, so he called out the names of each. (See the membership below.) Tosti has been chairman about 22 years and on the committee 40 years.

The committee, established by Town Meeting in 1895, does it work "out of the limelight," said Tosti. "We work as a team. Our only agenda is the good of the town."

A team member who stands out, he said, is Charles Foskett. Chair of the town's Capital Planning Committee, with a more-than-full-time job managing a start-up company, he nonetheless signed on to be part of the task force looking at financial implications of the town's arrangement with the Minuteman Technical High School.

Another is Mary Ronan. The three-decade Fincom member still goes downhill skiing in her 80s and was stopped only after a daughter hid her skis.

The audience responded with a standing ovation.

The 21 members disagree, sometimes strongly, but they "have the ability to work together," Tosti said.

Following the ceremony, many who stayed enjoyed refreshments. Perhaps many shared town topics, current and past.

The next day, Marie Krepelka, the selectmen's administrator, looked back. She remarked that Bill and Elaine Shea, maiden name Fitzgerald, married June 21, 1961. "I feel the wedding was yesterday -- can't believe it was 52 years ago. Bill and my husband grew up together since they were born -- lived almost next door to each other."

Awards Nomination Committee

John W. Hurd, chairman; George Laite, Nora Mann, Nicholas Mitropoulis, Robert Tosi Jr.

Members of the Arlington Education Foundation

Rebecca Steinitz, President; Marie Meteer, Vice President; Jane Biondi, secretary; Annie LaCourt, treasurer; Alex Hoffinger, Lauren Jordahl, Jennifer Lewis-Forbes, Julie Lucey, Amy Speare, Kris Wilcox, Kirsi Allison-Ampe, School Committee representative; Julie Dunn, School Department representative; Anita Cristina Calcaterra, teacher representative.

Members of the Friends of Robbins Farm Park

Elaine Backman, Sandy Carmichael, Roly Chaput, Marianne Comeau, Don Kalisher, Christian Klein, Judy Leich, Heather Peske, Oakes Plimpton, Mike Smith, Tony Vogel, Marianne White, Mona Zeftel.

Members of Arlington Finance Committee

Allan Tosti, chairman; Richard C. Fanning, vice chairman; Charles T. Foskett, vice chairman; Alan Jones, vice chairman; Peter B. Howard, secretary; Gloria Turkall, executive secretary; Paul J. Bayer, Brian Beck, Dean Carman, Joseph M. Connors, Stephen W. DeCourcey, Christine P. Deshler, John J. Deyst Jr., Ryan J. Ferrara, Mary Margaret Franclemont, Grant Gibian, Robert A. Jenkins, David McKenna, Arif Padaria, Mary I Ronan, Kenneth J. Simmons, Carolyn White.

Selectmen Honor Award recipients since 1976

2007, Robbins Award: Dr. Robert Carey, Richard Duffy

    Cyrus E. Dallin Award: James McGough, Geraldine Tremblay

    Samuel A. Wilson Awards: Joseph Keeffe Sr. (posthumously), Edmund R. Mahoney (posthumously)

1992, Cyrus E. Dallin Award: Frank Bowes, Doris Cremens, Hospice Care Inc.

    Samuel A. Wilson Award: Harry McCabe, Arlington Recycling Volunteers, Robert O'Neill, Daniel Purcell, Wilfred St. Martin

1985, Cyrus E. Dallin Award: George Faulkner, Dora Reingold, Janet Pavliska, John Mirak

1979, Cyrus E. Dallin Award: Elva Bolton, Barbara Harrigan, Philip MacFarlane, Phyllis Spence, Patricia Fitzmaurice, Robert McLaughlin

1978, Cyrus E. Dallin Award: Edward Burns

    Samuel A. Wilson Award: Bernadine Buzzell, Murdena Campbell, Francis Donnelly

    Robbins Award: Arthur D. Saul (posthumously)

1976, Cyrus E. Dallin Award: Judith Stromdahl, Norris Hoyt, Hollis Gott

    Samuel A. Wilson Award: Leonard Collins, Mark Kahn

This story was published Wednesday, July 3, 2013, and updated July 5 to add Tosti's years of service.