Honoring the wisdom of Dartmouth’s elders
Everyone has a story, no matter their age.
That is certainly true for a special group of Dartmouth seniors. The stories of 14 residents over the age of 85 was given full attention at a special lunch on August 18 hosted by the Dartmouth Friends of the Elderly and the Dartmouth Wanderers. Here’s who was honored.
Born in 1934, Mary Cadieux worked in the garment industry and was, at one point, a single mother bringing up six children. When she remarried in 1983, twelve children called her “mom.” Her extended family includes 27 grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren. She has volunteered at St. Luke’s Hospital for two decades, and is a foster grandparent at Coastline.
From the age of 18 to 22, John Silva drove a supply driver on the Red Ball Convoy in the U.S. Army, and drove just a half-mile away from the front lines during World War II. After leaving the service, he enjoyed a safer profession as a truck driver until 1986. He is the oldest member of the Dartmouth VFW Post, and, just last year, finally made the trip to Washington, DC to visit the World War II Memorial on an Honor Flight.
For those who call North Dartmouth home, Cecelia Whipp is likely a household name. She has been involved in politics north of the railroad tracks for years, and raised awareness and opposition to a controversial plan to cap the Cecil Smith landfill with contaminated soil. The plan was eventually defeated in court.
Frank A. Allen, III
The son of a high-ranking military general, Frank A. Allen, III graduated from West Point before serving in the Korean War as a rare first lieutenant company commander. He spent decades serving his country, and, upon returning to Dartmouth, was one of the first board members of the newly-formed Dartmouth Veterans Advisory Board.
Edith Andrews can call her family the first family of Dartmouth, as she is an Aquinnah Wampanoag and for many decades was involved in Native American affairs both locally and nationally. She helped gain federal recognition of the tribe, protect the Boston Harbor Islands, and represented Wampanoag Nation at the 1976 DC Folklife Festival.
Raymond Souza spent two decades serving in the Navy. He rose in the ranks before retiring in 1966 at the rank of master chief petty officer. When he returned to Dartmouth, he continued his service, this time on the Zoning Board of Appeals for 46 years.
When Robert Zeida fired up a ham radio and connected with people across the world, he discovered the power of voice. For the better part of three decades, he has lent his voice to creating audiobooks for the visually impaired. He’s narrated hundreds of books to date, and is still at it.
Thomas and Eleanor Brooks
The Brooks have been happily married since 1949. Thomas was a District No. 1 firefighter and former chief, and is still involved in town affairs as one of the town’s longest serving Registrar of Voters. Eleanor was a staple of Dartmouth High School’s guidance office for the better part of 40 years before fully retiring in 2008.
After returning from fighting in World War II and the Korean War, Joseph Barbero joined New Bedford Voc to further his passion for vocational education. He was a teacher there for ten years, and a principal for 11, where he oversaw the transition to a regional school system.
Growing up, Barbara Plant’s Norweigian elkhound introduced her to her lifelong passion of caring for animals. As an adult, she began breeding elkhounds, and traveled across the country to compete in dog shows. She took in rescue elkhounds, and introduced pet therapy to the South Coast with frequent visits to Brandon Woods.
In the Air Force, Robert Markin traveled all over the southwestern United States. Upon leaving the service, he returned to Dartmouth where he eventually made partner at a major insurance company. He has been involved in town politics for decades, having served as a poll worker and member of various boards.
Doris Davenport still remembers growing up when Smith Mills used to be a sawmill instead of the busy interchange it is today. She has a lifelong passion for education, having volunteered as a scout leader, alumni association member, is a deacon, and still makes a weekly drive to Wheaton College to teach a knitting class.
John Bettencourt, Sr.
At the age of 96, you’ll still find John Bettencourt, Sr. on the tractor at his hay farm -- one of the few remaining decades-old, truly family-run farms in the state. Once a dairy farm, Bettencourt now grows produce and raises hay with two of his sons.