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.”