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Former Select Board chair Harrington dies at 86

by | Dec 23, 2022 | Featured: News, News

Mary E. Harrington, whose 35 years of volunteer service in Hopkinton included a stint as chair of the Select Board, died Friday at the age of 86. Her death was announced by Callanan Cronin Funeral Home, which indicated she died at Milford Regional Medical Center.

According to a biography for her 2015 induction into the Top of the Hill Program, which honors alumni from Hopkinton High School, Harrington was a fifth-generation Hopkintonian who graduated HHS in 1954. She was one of the founders of the Hopkinton Youth Commission and served as a local Girl Scout leader, running the Hopkinton chapter for several years. During her time as a volunteer in town government, she served on the Planning Board, Zoning Board and Affordable Housing Committee as well as the Select Board (back when it was called Board of Selectmen). She also worked with local agencies to offer rides and meals to assist neighbors in need.

“Mary was the original townie,” said another former Select Board chair, Brendan Tedstone. “She knew everybody and everything about the town. Her family and our family rival each other for who’s been here the longest.

“She was initially my treasurer when I ran for Select Board the first time. She schooled me on local politics and what to do. Any time I had a question about anything, rather than research it, I would ask her what she thought about it and she would research it and get the answer. She knew Hopkinton inside and out.”

Tedstone said Harrington was known for being direct and unafraid to share what was on her mind.

“She would never hold her tongue,” Tedstone said. “If you asked her a question, you were getting an unabridged answer, honest, concise, no beating around the bush.

“There’s not enough time for me to say what an awesome person she was,” Tedstone added. “Politically, she was great for Hopkinton. For me, she was a steadfast, solid supporter from back when I was stealing pumpkins with Dave, her youngest child [she and husband William also had three daughters]. She did a great job of bridging — keeping old Hopkinton but welcoming some of the new stuff long before all the new stuff came in.”

3 Comments

  1. Catherine A. Collins

    She was my second cousin and I knew her and the family cause Nana Beattie like visiting Hopkinton and loved family. In later years Mary and the family made me feel welcome when I started at FUSON. Remember my first trip to the Redwood Drive- In. Later I would return to the area and pal around with her Dad Uncle Jack and permanently settle and marry and live in Douglas, MA . Very fond memories of their warmth and hospitality. Can’t be matched!

    Reply
  2. Tim Kilduff

    While Mary loved Hopkinton she loved her family above all else. Mary was always ready to share a update on the grandkids with a smile.
    My introduction to local politics was when Mary schooled me at the first Hopkinton Annual Town Meeting I attended.
    The lessen was delivered in her straightforward and frank style.
    Despite the initial difference she was always ready to listen and ultimately support ideas that added to Hopkinton’s
    well -being.
    In short, Mary is irreplaceable. The best we can ask for is for her family and the community is to remember how much she loved both.
    Rest In peace, Mary Harrington!

    Reply
  3. Robert Phipps

    I may be a few years behind Mary but we always recognized each other as fellow throwbacks. Brendan said it best, in so many words, that Mary was as candid as they come and you could take whatever she commented on to the bank, as anyone familiar with the proposed Emerald Lane can attest. She was a master of eye contact and the full frontal hug, back when sincerity was the measure of a relationship. I will forever be grateful for the unwavering support she and her `sidekick`, fellow Selectwoman Maureen Dwinnell, gave to me and the town during the logistically harrowing days before the 100th BAA Marathon. Mary was a dynamo, who found a way to balance her commitment to the town with love of family and respect for friends and compatriots. She was very aware of her family`s `founding` status and did nothing to diminish the legacy she inherited. Mary was a sparkplug that never misfired and I will miss her smile and especially the hugs.

    Reply

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