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Town mourns long time selectman and postmaster

December 22, 2010
CARROLL In a small town, few positions hold more prominence and responsibility than a town selectman or a postmaster and Bill Wright held them both for three decades.

As the news of his death on Tuesday night, Dec.14, spread through town, many remembered his celebrated longevity, easy-going civility and, most of all, for being a strong advocate for the small town values while his home town grew and changed substantially.

A life-long Twin Mountain resident, Mr. Wright followed his father's footsteps becoming the town's postmaster in mid 1960s. He was elected town selectman in 1977 and was elected to ten, three-year terms. His institutional knowledge became invaluable as the town grew from a sleepy, seasonal community with a population of 300 people to a year-round recreation destination of nearly one thousand and many more seasonal visitors. To his critics he was bulwark against change and especially expanding town government to meet the demands of a growing commercial and residential population. "His strong concern was keeping taxes down," said Select Board member Bonnie Maroney especially for the long-time, working class and elderly residents. She added that he was strongly aligned with the native population. "He was their stronghold," she said.

Ms. Marooney marveled at Mr. Wright's ability to balance his two high profile positions for so many years. As a selectman, he tackled many controversial issues and every day, he faced his constituents in the post office. Residents, she said, knew where to find him if they had a problem. "He was trapped," she said, "People could always find him." Fortunately, Mr. Wright, she added, had a "laid-back attitude" and "was well respected and well liked."

John Gardiner, who served as Twin Mountain's police chief for many years (and presently holds the same position in Lancaster), remembers that Mr. Wright always took an hour-and-a-half long lunch break from the post office and would go to the town hall gym and play basketball. Chief Gardiner once asked him why he took such a long break. Mr. Wright explained that by taking the longer lunch, he was allowed him to keep the post office open until 5:30 p.m. to accommodate the many people who worked outside of town.

Ray Chaput, who served with him as a selectman in the mid 1980s, said the two often disagreed, but it didn't affect their relationship. He said their votes would often "cancel each other out," but "he was a great guy [and] very easy going."

For Select board member Maroney the loss of Mr. Wright comes at an ironic time, as division seems to dictate town politics. It's "a passing of an era," she said, "unfortunately."

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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