Longtime town personality named Applefest Grand Marshal

Northborough – Elaine Kelly never saw it coming.

A 43-year resident of the town, Kelly has participated in many Applefests and attended the Applefest parade on many occasions.

She'll attend again this year, and she'll have the best seat on the parade route, too – atop the car that will carry the Grand Marshal of the Applefest Parade.

"It was a total, total surprise," Kelly said about learning that she had been voted in as the Applefest Parade Grand Marshal. "It's something I never imagined. I'm very honored. I'm amazed I got so many votes, if that's what you call them."

It is.

The votes – more than 70 in all – were a result of an aggressive write-in campaign by longtime friends Lois Millar and Susan Sartori. The pair spent more than six weeks collecting signatures from fellow residents endorsing Kelly as their choice for Grand Marshal. Both Millar and Sartori both wrote eloquent letters of support on Kelly's behalf.

"It's not out of character that they would do this – they're both very thoughtful people, but still I'm surprised," Kelly said. "This came as a total shock."

Good friends that they are, both Millar and Sartori called Kelly within minutes of each other on the day the identity of the Grand Marshal for the Sept. 20 Applefest Parade was announced.

"Lois called first, and then Sue about five minutes later," Kelly said. "They were both so happy I received this honor. They told me I was very deserving."

She has served the town of Northborough in a multitude of ways since entering politics in 1969 when she successfully ran for School Committee.

"It just kind of happened," Kelly said. "I was at a social function at a friend's house and we were all sitting around talking about education when another friend at the function asked me if I'd ever be interested in running for the School Committee. I told him I would have to think about it, and I went to some School Committee meetings, found myself interested and decided to run."

Kelly stayed for 12 years, deciding to retire in 1981. The retirement didn't last long – but through no fault of hers.

"A friend called me in 1984 and told me that my friends were running me for my old seat on a sticker campaign, and I didn't have anything to say about it, and there was nothing I could do about it," Kelly said. "That was that."

She won, but Kelly stepped down after that term because of a multitude of outside obligations that were cutting into the time she thought she needed to properly serve as a School Committee member.

"That same year I was elected to the Assabet Valley Vocation Technical School Committee on a write-in vote," Kelly said. "I didn't stay very long, though, just a few meetings, because I couldn't devote the time to it that it needed."

Kelly has also served on the town's personnel board for many years as well as the Appropriations Committee, of which she is the chair.

"At one meeting in the late 1990s, four of the six people on the Appropriations Committee resigned," Kelly said. "The town moderator asked me if I wanted to serve and I figured, why not? It interested me, I'm good with budgets and they needed people."

Kelly was raised in Boston and lived in Westborough for a time before moving to Northborough, where she has been with her husband, John, and sons Stephen and Brian, ever since.

"We were looking for a house we could aff ord to buy and we found one in Northborough," she said. "We learned that the town had a good reputation and was a nice community, and we've been here ever since."

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=2986

Posted by on Jul 25 2008. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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