A Life Remembered | CAI

A Life Remembered


We tell the story of a community member who has passed away, celebrating individuals whose lives made an impact on their family and neighbors.

If you have suggestions about community members who should be highlighted in this series, send an email to our station mailbox.

For archives of A Life Remembered, including episodes dating from before October 2012, go to the A Life Remembered Archives

Edie Kennedy

In a home movie of Bill Maynard’s 91st birthday party, more than a dozen friends are gathered inside a neighbor’s house in Provincetown. Maynard is sitting in the center of the room in a brown, leather chair. Cake is brought out. He blows out the candles. And Maynard starts talking about his life -- about how he got the chance to become a painter.

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Tuckernuck Island off Nantucket feels like a place out of time. With just a few dozen homes connected by grassy roads, it’s held onto its wild character and sense of the past. That’s probably in part because it’s pretty remote. But it’s also thanks to the efforts and presence of Bam La Farge.

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When the irresistible force known as Ruth Bates walked into a classroom, wearing her signature red high top sneakers, her students knew immediately that it would be no ordinary class.

A teacher, gardener, cook, baker, traveler, hiker and sailor, Bates’s zest for life and boundless energy fired her students’ imagination, enabling them to tap into their own creativity.

Colleague Diane Perry said Bates’s passion for learning and teaching were equaled only by her love of the natural world.

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Emblazoned below the image of a full-rigged ship, the old Tabor’s motto proclaims “All-A-Taut,” a nautical turn of phrase entirely consistent with the salty ambience of this seaport town. For more than 40 of her 82 years, Betty Durfee was the school’s head nurse. It was a good fit. Durfee was old school too. She ran the infirmary and, in keeping with the school motto, people who knew her say she ran a very tight ship.

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Before the tool belts were strapped on or the first nail was pounded, Don Dickinson was looking over plans, writing proposals and talking to people. He was doing the groundwork.

"He was just dedicated to the idea that people should be able to afford a decent place to live if they were working folks," said Warren Brody, a Mashpee-based attorney, and Dickinson's friend. Brody also volunteers at Habitat for Humanity of Cape Cod.

Harold Purington  grew up in Framingham and lived the last 11 years of his life in Fairhaven. Harold was a World War II pilot, a devoted family man, and a born craftsman who brought joy to many people over the years through his woodworking creations.

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After retiring from military and government work in the mid-1970s, George Webbere needed something to do. He had the garden to tend in the spring and summer. But when it turned cold, one of the things Webbere did was produce radio programs for the blind, including a story hour - one that became syndicated across the country throughout the Radio Reading Network.

NARRATION: “The next mystery program is the story Venus Fly Trap by Ruth Randell…."

That’s Charlie Webbere, narrating.

Helen Lewis: The Perfect Ending to a Wonderful Life

Mar 24, 2014
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Helen Jean Lewis already was in her 90s when she moved to the Royal Nursing Center in Falmouth, three years ago, and it was a long life’s journey that brought her here  — 94 years that she filled with travel and music, prayer and food.

The following is an excerpt of the Life Remembered featuring Helen Jean Lewis. To hear the full story, click the LISTEN button above.

Paul Smith

In the second half of her life, Mary Lou Smith became known for being the person who knew the most about Falmouth history, and perhaps, the person who cared the most about saving it.

After raising four daughters in Woods Hole with her husband, Paul Smith, she turned to historic preservation starting in her early sixties. Among her most enduring accomplishments was editing "The Book of Falmouth," a volume of photographs, memories, and history that has become an important historical reference. It was published to coincide with Falmouth's 300th anniversary in 1986.

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This May will mark two years since her husband Peter died, and Kerry Gonnella's greatest fear is that he will be forgotten.

"I don't want his memory to fade," she said. "That's what happens. People die, people move on. Which is fine. That's life. But I want people to remember him."

Peter Gonnella was the father of three children. He also was a coach and a teacher. His student-athletes describe him as a charismatic person who inspired them. They say that he cared about them. And that's not something people forget.

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In his retirement, Marston Daley wrote an autobiography called, "The Little Imp of Cape Cod." In it, he said his mom gave him the name Marston because she thought it couldn't be made into a nickname. She was wrong. Marston had lots of nicknames. His mom called him the Little Imp. And he writes that over the years people called him Marst, Jim, Tim, even Bud. His wife Jean, who everyone calls Birdie, said that many people have another name for Marston.

Remembering Al Lawson: A 'born counselor'

Oct 7, 2013
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Osterville resident Al Lawson has been called a "born counselor." He was the first guidance counselor at the new Barnstable High School when it opened in 1957, and it was a job that fit him perfectly.

Today, there are stacks of letters and cards in the Lawson house in Centerville. They're piled neatly on tables and footstools and on the brick hearth. They're addressed to Al Lawson's wife Adrienne, and his two sons, Carl and Kurt. Most all of them include a story or two about Lawson's kindness and compassion.

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Pearl Hardaway Reese defied stereotypes, loss,  addiction -- pretty much everything, including a world that changed dramatically in her lifetime.  In each of the areas of Reese’s life that defined her – whether it was her  expansive spiritual life, her art and poetry, or the way she faced trials and change – Reese lived on her own terms.

Full audio story posted above

Jack Dowman: Helping Others, No Credit Necessary

May 6, 2013
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Jack Dowman, 84, was a mostly behind-the-scene volunteer. He was involved with government and service groups. He supported the school music programs, and for 10 years he organized the annual Eastham Windmill Weekend Parade. And he did it all just so he could help. 

"He was that kind of a guy who would do anything he could to help anybody," said his friend and fellow Rotary Club member, Dick Morello. "That's what we loved about him."

Wesley Ko: On Silent Wings of Courage

Apr 1, 2013
Photo Courtesy of The Cape Cod Times

Welsey Ko probably could have avoided going to war. But as friends from his Philadelphia neighborhood were drafted and joined the fight, Ko decided to go too. He ended his service as a hero. For A Life Remembered, Sean Corcoran profiles Ko, who was 93 when he died.

Five years ago, a WCAI reporter visited Wesley Ko home to interview him about his service in the Second World War.

Harry Bowen, the Heather King of Cape Cod

Mar 25, 2013

  Harry Bowen was known by many names. But, just maybe, his favorite name might have been, "The Heather King."

"He was the Heather King of Cape Cod," said Roberta Clark of the Barnstable County Cooperative Extension, where Harry Bowen volunteered and shared his love for the low-growing heather plant and its blooms.

"He learned about Heather probably 40 to 50 years ago," she said. "He propagated them for over 35 years, and many of the heather beds on the Cape came from Harry."

Maybe lots of people know there are three verses to the Happy Birthday song. Sarah Rosenberg knew. She knew all three verses, as well as the words to hundreds, perhaps thousands of other songs.

Her family says she probably spent half of her days singing. As a student in New York City, Dan Rosenberg says his mother would study lyric sheets as she road the subway from Washington Heights to Brooklyn College. Broadway musicals and Big Band standards were her favorites.

Nurse Betty Pease, a Life of Caring for Others

Jan 7, 2013

Outspoken and plain speaking, Betty Pease is featured in this month's A Life Remembered.

Roslyn Garfield, Madam Speaker: A Life Remembered

Dec 10, 2012

She can be described in many ways, but Roslyn Garfield was a small town attorney, in one of the smallest of towns. To her credit, she was more interested in helping struggling artists and entangled whales than she was in taking big, pay-day cases from Boston-based developers.

Gloria Sargent Smith

Nov 5, 2012

89-year-old Gloria Sargent Smith of Yarmouthport, died at sunrise on October 5, surrounded by half-read books, works of art, family members and pets.

Beth Schwarzman

Oct 1, 2012

People who were not born on the Cape and Islands but somehow or other come to live here, are often called "washashores." But Beth Schwarzman didn't call herself that. She moved here from California with her young family, but she was no washashore.

John Boyd

Sep 10, 2012

When Nancy Boyd Lennon was a teenager, she used to hide when a certain young man came to visit her father, John Boyd.
Lennon said she and her two sisters were young and immature, and they didn't want to interact with this boy, who was something of a social outcast. He certainly wasn't one of the self-assured, athletic guys her father typically coached at the nearby high school. But this young man would ride his one-speed bicycle some 10 miles to sit with Boyd and listen to old 78 records of the Big Bands of the 30s and 40s.

Daniel Gould

Aug 5, 2012

Daniel Gould built boats. He built telescopes and bicycles. He carved signs and bird decoys. And he crafted musical instruments of all kinds. But mostly he built boats in Arey's Pond boat yard near Pleasant Bay in Orleans.

Rita Killory

Jul 2, 2012

When Judge Robert Terry needed guidance – when he was on the bench at probate and family court in Barnstable, and he needed counsel – he would go to his friends’ Rita and Joe Killory's house, his neighbors in Sandwich. He wouldn’t call; he’d just go. And he’d sit in their living room and ask for their perspective.

“Of course I wouldn’t discuss names or anything like that nature," Terry said, "but especially when it related to issues related to children, I would discuss these things in depth with Rita and Joe, and get their feedback on it, so to speak, which was very helpful to me, you know?”

Even if you never heard Ed Mooney zing an umpire or ask a trivia question, you've almost certainly heard his words. Remember this marketing phrase?

"It's Duncan Hines Delicious!"

Ed Mooney wrote that catchphrase. And that's his son, Ted Mooney, reciting it.