By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson – The life of former Gov. Argeo Paul Cellucci was celebrated Sept. 20 in his hometown as the Hudson Rotary Club invited family, friends, colleagues and residents to attend the dedication of his memorial parklet in front of the Town Hall. The memorial features two granite benches with inscriptions, one of which reads: “His life was dedicated to the principle of public service and the people of Hudson were forever in his heart.”
The other inscription describes his political career: “Paul Cellucci began his lifelong devotion to public service in 1970 as a member of Hudson’s Charter Commission and Board of Selectmen. After service as a state legislator and senator he became governor of the commonwealth from 1997 to 2001. He culminated his 35 years in public service as our nation’s ambassador to Canada from 2001 to 2005.”
The ceremony began with raising the American, Massachusetts and Hudson flags, which are a permanent part of the memorial. The Hudson High School Band, under the direction of Jason Caron, played “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the Canadian national anthem.
Selectman Joseph Durant spoke about Cellucci’s devotion to his hometown.
“Hudson was always Paul’s base and he never forgot that, no matter what office he held,” he said. “When Paul was elected governor, he invited the entire Hudson Board of Selectmen to his inauguration. While this was a wonderful gesture in itself, the most telling part of it was that he sat us in the very front row of the House Chamber. To me, this always symbolized how highly he thought of his hometown and how he would never forget his roots.”
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito described the memorial as representing community.
“It’s a place where people in this town can come, sit, and be inspired by the words that are presented here on these beautiful benches,” she said. “This community is where he got his start, it’s where he formed his values, and it’s where he felt his ties no matter where he travelled in his journey of community service. That’s not only a testament to Paul Cellucci, it’s a testament to all of you.”
Lee Dinner, a Hudson Rotarian, spearheaded the idea of creating the memorial with help from architect Glenn Davis and Charles J. Precourt & Son, Inc. A walkway leading to the memorial is constructed with inscribed bricks, purchased with donations from Hudson residents and businesses.
Kate Cellucci confirmed that her father would approve of the memorial’s chosen location.
“If we had been able to ask my dad where he would want a memorial of himself, I can say without a doubt that it would be at the Hudson Town Hall,” she said.
Anne Cellucci Adams shared that she and her sister will bring their children to visit the memorial.
“This spot will help them remember his great accomplishments, but also remember the Grampy they knew and loved,” she said. “This spot will remind them of his genuine love for people and how he always saw the best in everyone.”
Jan Cellucci noted that she’ll always cherish the memorial honoring her husband.
“This memorial dramatically demonstrates the values that Hudson nurtured in Paul: a respect for all of our neighbors and a compassionate, shared sense of responsibility for the success of our own community,” she said.
On behalf of the Hudson Rotary Club, Lee Dinner and Justin Provencher surprised her with a $10,000 check for the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund. After a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Cellucci launched the UMass ALS Champion Fund in 2011. ALS took his life at age 65 in 2013; his renamed campaign continues as the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund.
Photos/Ed Karvoski Jr.