AWH Class of 1964 Salutes Gallagher & Gantley

Archbishop Williams High School inducted 11 people into its Athletic Hall of Fame March 27 – two of them were from the Class of 1964, my class.

More than 40 of us from the class went to the dinner at the Lantana where one of our members, Dr. Carmen Mariano, who is now the school’s president, told us what a great school Archbishop Williams continues to be.

Jack Gantley was on the varsity football team for all four of his years at AWH. He was honored for his contributions to a team that seldom experienced loss. In fact there were only two losses and one tie in all his four years on the team. Coach Armond Columbo, Jack’s coach and friend, made the presentation. Jack is a retired US Navy captain now living in Florida with his wife. He is a graduate of the US Naval Academy at Annapolis and achieved his career success inUS Special Operations Forces.

He made us all proud.

Then there was George Gallagher. George was one of the brightest students in our class.  He was honored for his excellence in track and cross country. I don’t remember a pep rally for the track team back in ’64 but it was great to hear the cheerleaders from our class chant “George Gallagher” as he walked to the podium Saturday. He set a 300 meter tri-county league record in 1964 that wasn’t matched until 1979. He did it all on cinder track, without any practice space. He is a dentist who is a professor at Boston University. He still runs, in fact he has completed the Boston Marathon twice – both times he beat three hours.

Today AWH has a state of the art track at a sports facility near the school. When I started at AWH, we didn’t even have our own football field. We borrowed public school space. Maybe adversity has its plus side.

We remember what the school meant to us back when we were students.  School pride wasn’t invented in the 21st Century. But we were children back then. We all had our share of insecurity and anxiety.

Since then we’ve moved on, created families and careers. Coped with loss and personal challenges. Built success and faced failure. That’s not one or two of us. We share the normal passages of a lifetime. Some of us from the AWH Class of ’64 remained close friends over the years. Most of us went our separate ways. But a few years ago my classmates began getting together for dinner from time to time.

I think we’ve finally come back together.

All Politics Are Local

Tonight as I watch the C-Span coverage of the healthcare insurance debate, I wonder whether Congressman Stephen Lynch was with the majority of 219 Democrats.

(Well the reason I didn’t see him is he voted ‘No.’)

The debate was repetitive. The House is not in order. Is that a surprise?

I am thrilled that Congress has begun to address the problems of the working poor and the middle class.

As a woman who brought up two children on her own, I understand what it is like to face large medical bills. Children are prone to fall and catch all sorts of diseases. I was fortunate in finding many kind people in the medical profession who would give me a break when I’d pull out a credit card instead of an insurance card.

My small business offers limited medical coverage to our employees. The premiums have been skyrocketing ever since Massachusetts implimented mandatory insurance. Now at least, there will be some sort of tax credit going along with the cost.

Could this be the start of help for small businesses?

Town Meeting Shows Deep Division

It’s been an exhausting week for Town Meeting members and others who have been watching the workings of Milton government.

Five nights of debate ended Thursday, March 4, when a motion to reconsider the Temple zoning article was withdrawn by the man who put reconsideration on the table.

Webster Collins had suggested the meeting reconsider the article so it could be sent back to the Planning Board. One hour later, after a number of town meeting members had spoken either for or against the concept of reconsideration, it was apparent the question was moot.

Temple President Linda Packer told the meeting the Temple has to act by May and town officials drew a time line that made it clear the article could not be discussed again at the annual town meeting.

Now the ball is in the Temple’s court. Some neighbors want to walk to retail shops. Some neighbors want nothing to do with adding a commercial mix to their area. Members of the Temple say their option is to sell the land to someone who would create affordable and high density housing in a way that would sidestep town zoning.

It was a draining process.

David Cutler, Newspaper Magnate, Dies

David Sumner Cutler, 66, a community newspaper giant, died Feb. 28 of bilary cancer in a journey chronicled on a web site tended by his son Josh. If you care to read that story, go to http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/davidcutler/mystory.

His death was like his life – cutting edge, risky and complicated.

David was my friend and mentor. We met at the Patriot Ledger when he was just back from being a Marine in Vietnam. It was not until many years later that I discovered he was a hero. The paper for his Purple Heart said that while under enemy fire, he risked his life to save one of his men who had fallen in an exposed position. David was wounded as he tried to save a young man. His scars from Vietnam were usually covered by clothing and bravado.

He was always brave. He held himself to extraordinarily high standards. He came from a family accustomed to accomplishment.

His parents, the late John and Bobbi Cutler, started the Duxbury Clipper 60 years ago. He grew up understanding the difficulties of a weekly newspaper.

David was a graduate of Holderness School in New Hampshire and Colby College. His grandmother, the late Cid Ricketts Sumner, was the author of several books. She wrote “Quality” a story made into a movie called “Pinky” about the topic of interracial marriage when there were still states that outlawed those marriages. She wrote the “Tammy Out of Time” which became the movie “Tammy and the Bachelor” starring Debbie Reynolds. His maternal grandfather, the late John Sumner, won the Nobel Prize in chemistry. His father’s family were Greek immigrants, making the fact that his father graduated from Harvard and authored a number of books of his own, all the more impressive.

In the spring of 1972, when David was not yet 30, he, his wife, and a partner, Mike Stearns – who had a small amount of cash – started the Marshfield Mariner.

Most of his friends in the business thought his parents backed that venture. We weren’t surprised he didn’t sink. The truth was what saved him was hard work, commitment, and a community that wanted its own local paper. He and his partner were just about out of money when the election season began and the Marshfield politicians began showing up looking for advertising space.

That wasn’t his only close call financially. David grew his business from one paper to 17 when he sold the operation to Cap Cities ABC in the 1980s. He stayed on at the green building in Marshfield’s industrial park for a few more years.

When he left, he partnered with John Coots, who had been his boss in the corporate structure. The pair bought the Southbridge Press which included the Southbridge Evening News and several smaller papers and David was on his way to creating his second newspaper empire. They also owned Salmon Press, a venture that publishes several newspapers in New Hampshire. He once told me he was amazed at the low sale price of some weeklies. At the time of his death, his holdings included 23 newspapers in three states.

David took over the ownership of the Duxbury Clipper after his father’s death in 1998. For more than 10 years, his son, Josh has run the Clipper. Under Josh’s leadership, the Clipper opened several sister papers, called the Express in Hanson, Whitman, East Bridgewater and Pembroke. Josh is no longer serving as the publisher of the Clipper since he decided to run for state representative in the district.

David is survived by his wife, the Rev. Catherine Cullen, of Duxbury; two sisters, Margaret Chandler of Maryland and Gail Cutler of Pembroke; three sons, Josh S. Cutler of Duxbury, Benjamin D. Cutler of New York and Jonathan M. Cullen of West Roxbury; three, daughters Carolyn M. Cutler of Georgia, Rebecca W. Cutler of Duxbury and Amanda C. Benard of Hingham, and seven grandchildren.

He leaves a large extended family, including ex-wives, former step children and many friends.

A graveside service at Mayflower Cemetery was held March 4 at 10 a.m. A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 13 at 5 p.m. at First Parish Church, Duxbury.

Donations may be made to the Cutler Family Scholarship in care of the Trustees of Partridge Academy, P.O. Box 2552, Duxbury, MA 02331.