The Year In Review: Remembering Those In Passing
Belmont lost a number of notable citizens this year.
Jonathan Curtis' mother, Pamela, said her son Jonathan was a quiet person in the crowd who was never one to seek out attention. He loved animals, films and had a wonderful, and sometimes odd, sense of humor.
"He was very kind, very loyal and very decisive," she said, noting he decided that his future wife, Samantha, was "the one" after knowing her for only five days.
That decisiveness saved the lives of countless fellow soldiers as Curtis and Pfc. Andrew N. Meari of Plainsfield, Ill., prevented an insurgent suicide bomber from entering their outpost in Afghanistan. Curtis, 24, leaves his parents, brothers, wife and young daughter, Tessa-Marie.
A teacher and respected administrator, Denis Michael Fitzpatrick was the school's assistant superintendent after serving as the district's English Director for 15 years. A public school teacher for 33 years, he was also at home in front and behind the footlights as a theater actor and director associated with the Arlington Friends of the Drama and the Concord Players.
Robert J. LaPierre was well known for his 27 years as town Water Commissioner and as a long time Town Meeting member. But it was his contributions in the civic arena that made Belmont a better place to live. LaPierre was the VFW Commander, president of the Kiwanis, a Scoutmaster, member of the Historical Society and Council on Aging, co-chairman of Belmont's 125th Anniversary celebration and even sponsor of the "Miss Belmont" contest for many years.
Martin Duffy was a Town Meeting member and long time soccer coach who worked as an economist at prestigious firms and taught at local colleges. But boy, could he run. No plodder, Duffy ran hard year in and year out. So it was little wonder that Duffy is noted for running 40 Boston Marathons … consecutively. His final Boston was in 2009 after being diagnosed with cancer and having started treatment weeks before. He finished.
Nicholas K. Marrama loved playing soccer and being with his friends at the Burbank School. He was only 9 when a branch of a tree broke off on an especially windy day in April and struck him as he was playing with neighborhood friends.
Dorothy K. Burnett, a graduate of Smith '45, lived for many years in Belmont as her children grew up. While an executive secretary by profession, Burnett true vocation was teaching countless Belmont children how to play the piano, giving private lessons at her home for many years. She was a member of the First Church in Belmont where she played the piano for services and was involved with committee work. Also active in the community, she was a volunteer with the local Head Start Program and in the public schools.
Dorchester born and bred, Robert "Rocky" Bridges moved to Belmont as a young man after serving in Korea and stayed for more than 60 years. Rocky working as a firefighter on Engine One in the Waverly Station for 30 years from 1962 to 1992.
A star athlete at Belmont High School, Brian Edward Mahoney graduated into the Long Grey Line in 1967, a West Point officer who served as a Ranger in Vietnam where he was awarded an array of honors including the Silver and Bronze stars, Purple Heart with an oak leaf cluster and the Air Medal. He came back to his hometown after retiring as a Captain to earn an MBA and serve his community as a Town Meeting member. Two of his four children are serving as captains in the US Army.
Gordon Henry Sellon was born in Watertown and grew up in the Depression. While fighting in France during WWII, he was so badly wounded that he spent two years recovering and was awarded the Purple Heart. With his wife, Sarah, he raised four children and award-winning roses in Belmont. Like so many vets, he started his business career at the bottom – a teller at Shawmut Bank – and retired as a vice president at the same bank while earning a law degree.