Chester Chatter: Remembering Principal Perry

By Ruthie Douglas
© 2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC

This week I dedicate this column to my dear friend and former boss, Jack Perry, who died in December.

Jack was principal of Chester-Andover Elementary School from 1979 until his retirement in 1990 and hired me as supervisor for the school’s hot lunch program in 1982. We clicked right away and we worked together very well for several years.

Jack loved the kids; he was very fair with them as well as very firm when they acted up. When I came up with some idea, he mostly supported me and threw in some of his own ideas.

One Christmas season, I thought it would be great to help every pupil to make gingerbread men to take home to their family. We got some town officials to help. The kitchen staff mixed up huge batches of cookie dough. The kids came to the kitchen, one classroom at a time. They rolled out, cut, baked and decorated the cookies. Wow, it was a good time and some kind of a mess.

During another Christmas season, Jack thought it would be nice to play Christmas music on a cassette player during lunch. The children actually thought it was Jack singing.

Jack never let a child go hungry, go without a warm jacket or not go on a field trip because of lack of money. He played basketball with the children on the playground. He wiped away tears. I will never forget my time working at Chester-Andover. It was like family and such a happy place to work. So farewell Jack and thanks for the memories.

From here and there

Phoebe Barnes would like to thank everyone who sent her a card for her 90th birthday. You helped make her day very special and she and her family appreciate it!

Arnold Stoddard, for many years a Chester resident and chief of the Fire Department, entertained with the Silver Country Band from Charlestown, N.H., at Springfield Health and Rehab. Arnold sang and played the guitar.

The American Legion will be serving a fish fry or turkey dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25 at the Chester Post 67 on Route 103 South. The public is welcomed.

Let’s hope the charm of Lowell Lake will remain the same in spite of the state’s plan for the park. Known to many folks as a peaceful and quiet place to hang out, a place to empty your mind. I for one would hate to see it become a busy and noisy attraction.

  • This week’s trivia question: Where was Les Allen’s garage located?
  • Answer to last week’s trivia question: The concrete bridges around Chester were built in the 1930s, during the Great Depression, by the Civil Conservation Corps.

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Filed Under: Chester ChatterCommunity and Arts Life

About the Author: Ruthie Douglas is originally from Springfield but has called Chester her home for 58 years, and has been writing the Chester Chatter column for more than 40 of those years. Ruthie is also a longtime volunteer throughout the community.

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  1. Jane Weeks Dennan says:

    Les Allen’s garage was located heading West out of Chester toward Andover next to the Jeft’s house. I shut my finger in the car door and Mr. Allen put my hand in the ice cold coke machine to deaden the pain. My punishment for disobeying my father after he told me to stay in the car.

  2. Linnea Palmer says:

    Many thanks Ruthie I’m sure the kind words went straight to heaven. He always wanted an update on Ruthie!