January 09, 2013JEFFERSON — Former District Court Judge Paul F. Donovan, who served as the town's moderator from 1988 to 2012 for a remarkable 24 years, resigned last month. Former WMRSD school board member Lynne Holland was appointed to fill the post by the Supervisors of the Checklist — chairman Cheryl Meehan, Sally Corrigan Brooks, and Diana Lizak — in consultation with the board of selectmen. Town Clerk Opal "Polly" Bronson, who has served in her key position since 1967, swore her in on Thursday afternoon, Jan. 3, apparently noting that she was the first woman to hold the prestigious post.
Born in Cambridge, Mass., and raised nearby in Braintree, Donovan earned his A.B. in 1955 at Harvard College and his law degree in 1958 at Columbia Law School. Donovan maintained a private general law practice in Lancaster, where he worked until his retirement in 2004. In 1965, he was appointed a Special Justice to the Lancaster District Court.
Former state Sen. Charlie Bond of Jefferson pointed out in an e-mail exchange that he was sorry to see Donovan go. "Jefferson has some people with pretty strong opinions, and he has done a masterful job, over the years, of keeping debate pleasant and on subject," Bond wrote. "I think we've set records for Town Meeting brevity for the past couple of years."
Holland, who retired in 1999 to the North Country after serving for 34 years working in Department of Defense Dependents' Schools, mostly in Germany, earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Missouri and her master's degree at the University of Southern California. She also earned a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) at Boston University and following a teaching career spent some years as an administrator. Holland is fluent in German, plays French horn and piano, has served as a parliamentarian, active at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Lancaster, works seasonally at Santa's Village and recently stepped down as president of the Weeks State Park Association.
"It's humbling to take on the duties of moderator, especially in succeeding Judge Donovan," Holland explained in a Friday afternoon interview.
According to Rupert E. Corrigan who edited "Jefferson, N. H. — Before 1996," Donovan's predecessors were Frank C. Stone (1926 to 1929), John D. Eastman (1930, 1934 to 1944), Edward D. Parker (1932 & 1933), Paul E. Thayer (1945 to 1963), Forrest W. Ingerson (1964 to 1973), Coleman D. Kenison (1974 to 1979), and Alain J. Chardon (1980 to 1987).