Shoreham volunteer leaves lasting legacy
SHOREHAM — Shoreham residents continue to mourn the passing of one of their community’s most dedicated volunteers, Wilson MacIntire, whose many good works included establishment of municipal tennis courts and the ongoing renovation of Newton Academy.
“It is a big loss for the town of Shoreham,” said Deb Kelly, who with MacIntire spearheaded construction of the two outdoor tennis courts installed behind Shoreham Elementary School in 2007.
MacIntire, 75, died at his home on Main Street on March 14.
Kelly recalled how she had walked into the school one day with a tennis racket and exclaimed she wished Shoreham had a tennis court.
“He made it happen,” Kelly said, recalling how MacIntire had masterfully located funding sources to help make the new courts a reality. They raised $92,000 for two courts with lights.
MacIntire was a big tennis fan whose support for the sport had earned him accolades through the United States Tennis Association. He instilled his love of tennis in other community members, including local school children, according to Kelly.
“He brought a lot of people together to celebrate good things,” Kelly said.
With the tennis courts firmly established, MacIntire shifted his focus to another, larger community project — Newton Academy, a 200-year-old, town-owned building on School Street. MacIntire and many fellow townspeople share a vision of renovating the building for use as a community center and potential new headquarters for town offices. Town officials this week were scheduled to meet with representatives of a medical clinic that could move into a portion of the building. Newton Academy currently hosts the Shorewell Clinic. The owner of that practice, Dr. Allan Curtiss Jr., is contemplating retirement, perhaps within two years.
MacIntire and his wife of 48 years, Susan, spent many hours successfully applying for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of grants to pay for Newton Academy renovations, with the thought of having a community celebration inside the historic building during this, its bicentennial year. MacIntire shared that aspiration with the Addison Independent during an interview only a few days before he died.
“He was the driving force,” Newton Academy Restoration Committee Treasurer Nick Causton said of MacIntire.
“He was a fabulous, wonderful person,” Causton added. “He was very modest, but very driven. He got things done.”
Causton said the loss of MacIntire will leave a big void in the renovation effort, but his memory will also provide volunteers with added inspiration to get the job done.
“We have lost him, but the effort will continue,” Causton said.
Restoration committee Vice Chairman John Sullivan agreed. He said MacIntire set an important example in civic involvement that others could only try to follow.
“Wilson and Sue did the heaving lifting (for Newton Academy),” said Sullivan, who called Wilson MacIntire a perennial citizen of the year. “I can’t tell you how valuable they were.”
Giving his time and efforts to his town was nothing new to the father of four.
Before he and his family moved to Vermont in 1976, MacIntire was active in the upsate New York community where he farmed. He was president of the Cortland County Farm Bureau; a selectman in Homer, N.Y.; Cortland County Fair chairman; and chairman of the All State Awards for the New York State Holstein-Friesian Association, in addition to being a scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts.
Shortly after moving to Vermont, MacIntire helped organize the Addison County Association for Retarded Citizens in 1977. He was a past president of the Shoreham Historical Society; a board member of the Counseling Service of Addison County; and a past president of Community Associates.
At the time of his death, MacIntire was also chairman of the South Lake Champlain Trust.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 27, at 2 p.m. at the Congregational Church in Shoreham.
The family has asked that memorial donations in his honor be made to the Newton Academy Restoration Corporation, in care of Nick Causton, 1342 Smith St., Shoreham, VT 05770.
MacIntire will also be fondly remembered by his fellow commissioners on the Tri-Town Water District, which serves Bridport, Addison and Shoreham. He was chairman and a senior member of the board at the time of his death.
Longtime fellow board member Darwin Pratt recalled MacIntire as a dedicated, easygoing person who always got results.
“Whether it was a big problem or a small problem, he always worked it out,” Pratt said.
John Flowers is at [email protected].