By Susan Gonsalves, Contributing Writer
WESTBOROUGH – The man known as the “Dad of the Westborough Department of Public Works (DPW)” retired March 31, after 48 years of service to the town.
Born and raised in Westborough, Dan Moynihan was a foreman in the DPW’s Highway Division. That made him responsible for the maintenance and paving of roadways and “any other emergencies that come to us,” he recently told the Community Advocate.
A long career in Westborough
Prior to this role, he spent 10 years in the Water Department. He served as the town tree warden, and worked as an engineering inspector in the highway division.
“I’ve always been told I’m a people person,” Moynihan said. “I can talk to people whether they are irate about something or have concerns. The DPW is an excellent place to spend time doing something that benefits the community of Westborough.”
A community member, however, Moynihan’s identity extends beyond the DPW.
Those familiar with Central House Tavern on South Street may recall when it was owned and operated by Moynihan’s parents. At the time, it was simply called “Moynihan’s.” Shortly after graduation from high school, in turn, Moynihan joined the U.S. Navy, where he served for two years, including a one-year tour in Vietnam on the USS Shangri-La.
Now entering retirement, Moynihan expects to devote more time to doing projects around the house and fishing.
“I’m going to relax a little bit, but I want to keep busy,” he said.
A history of snowstorms and process
Moynihan credits the close relationships he shares with co-workers with making his long career enjoyable.
“Over the years, they’ve shown me respect and a lot of patience,” Moynihan said.
Working alongside his colleagues, one event that stands out in Moynihan’s mind, he says, is the Blizzard of 1978 that “crippled all of New England.”
Plowing operations are well planned these days, thanks to technology that allows the DPW to view weather radar visualizations on phones and track storms on computers.
But that wasn’t the case in 1978.
“Back in the past, I had to watch the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. weather reports and rely on that,” Moynihan said.
A team of colleagues making work worthwhile
Reflecting on his friendship with Moynihan, Highway Division co-worker Steve Winchell said that the two are like “ping and pong,” or “Mutt and Jeff.”
“If I have a question, I can talk to Dan and ask his advice,” Winchell said. “I’ve learned a lot from him. He’s a very dedicated guy, a class act.”
Winchell joked that if it were up to him, he would vote to put up a statue of Moynihan in the middle of town.
DPW Business Administrator Maria-Elaina Riggieri recently echoed the praise.
She pointed out that Moynihan and three other potential retirees have a combined 120 years of service to Westborough.
“He has 48 years of service, and that is longer than some of [our] employees have been alive,” she said.
Describing the DPW as a “close-knit family,” she added, “Dan is like the Dad.”
Riggieri said that her co-worker has a wealth of knowledge about the town. That knowledge even transcends some of the DPW’s department records.
Most of all, though, Riggieri expressed “love and respect” for her “amazing” co-worker and friend.
At the end of each day, as Moynihan left work, Riggieri said she would tell him, “See you tomorrow, Dan.”
“God willing,” he would reply.
In retirement, Riggieri sends the following message: “See you when we see you, God willing.”