Everyone in town has a story to tell and opinions to share. In this feature, we shine the spotlight on one resident to learn more about them and their connection to town.
Meet: Dick Germaine
Hopkinton Independent: What brought you to Hopkinton?
Germaine: “I came [to Hopkinton] in 1972 to become pastor of the [First] Congregational Church and was pastor for 30 years. Then I began a parachurch ministry reaching out to pastors, which was called ‘Barnabas Ministries.’ Our goal is to provide support groups for pastors. And I stayed in town because we owned our own home here and it was more convenient. Plus, most of the friends my wife and I had were in the church and in the community, and we did not want to leave, either. We loved the town, and we loved our friends.”
HI: What do you do for a living?
Germaine: “After having founded and led Barnabas Ministries for 14 years, the ministry had grown to the point where we were able to hire a new executive director and I became just the chairman of the board. That gave me opportunity to do things I had not been able to do, for the most part. Notably, oil painting. I had secretly been doing oil painting since I was a pastor in Waterbury, Connecticut, in the 1960s, but I only did about one painting a year because I didn’t have much time. So, when I retired from Barnabas Ministries, I then had the time to really commit myself to oil painting. So I started painting in earnest, I took some courses that helped me immensely. I still take courses, and I love doing the painting. I came out in the open as a painter last March when we had my first art show [in town].”
HI: What activities do you enjoy in your free time?
Germaine: “I used to hunt. I can no longer do that. I used to fish. In fact, I used to come to Hopkinton before I moved in to become the pastor of the church here to fish on Lake Whitehall. Every spring I came over to trout fish, because they used to stock Whitehall with trout. So, I knew the town from that perspective. One of my sons, Steve is his name, got his master’s in ornithology, and I was fascinated with his study of birds. And with his encouragement and help, I became a [bird watcher]. So, I’m very avid in my bird watching, and every February I’m part of a large group of people online called the Great Backyard Bird Count. I spend four days watching all the birds come and go, recording them here on our property. … Just about anywhere I go, I take my binoculars with me so I can continue to watch birds.”
HI: What makes Hopkinton unique?
Germaine: “I got to know many people in the town, partially because I was pastor here. And many of the people have roots that go back generations in this town. I found that fascinating. I loved getting their stories, because I like history, and I studied the history of the church all the way back to when the first people came [to Hopkinton] from Framingham in 1715 to settle out here. What we especially appreciate about the town at present, even though [we’ve had] no children in the school system for a long, long time, we appreciate the quality of education the kids get in this town. It is really great. It’s gone so, so far beyond the little, almost semi-rural education people were getting when we first moved in. Another thing I like is the friendliness. In our neighborhood in particular, we built a new home in one of the developments … back in 1991, and a whole generation of people have come and gone. Now we have a whole generation of young families with little kids in the neighborhood, and we’re really enjoying getting to know our neighbors again.”
HI: What is your favorite Hopkinton memory?
Germaine: “When I first moved in, Hopkinton was a very small community. Somewhat rural, had a number of small family farms in it. [It had] a few commuting businesspeople, but very few. I think the population was something like 5,900 back then. I loved the quiet space of Hopkinton. Believe it or not, it used to be you could walk across Main Street at any time of the day or evening — weekdays, even — without being bothered by traffic, except at about 3 in the afternoon when the commuting traffic from the old General Motors assembly [factory] in Framingham used to come back this way. It was really small. We loved it.”
HI: What are some of your favorite places around town?
Germaine: “One of my favorite places is Hopkinton State Park. I go in there, and because I have to use mobility scooters to get around now, I take a scooter with me over there, and when I have my quiet days — I still have a day of prayer periodically — I like to go over there in warm weather and [be in] the outdoors. I meditate, I pray. And also, guess what? I have the binoculars with me. So I birdie over there! I like the center of town, that sort of early New England feeling it gives you. I love my church, I worship with others at Faith Community Church. My wife and I really enjoy the Dynasty restaurant. We also enjoy Carbone’s Restaurant — that was here in town when we moved in in 1972. Long history in this town.”
— Interview conducted by Gethin Coolbaugh