MacIntire honored posthumously
SHOREHAM —Wilson MacIntire is gone but far from forgotten in his hometown of Shoreham, a community that last week conferred two posthumous honors upon one of its foremost civic volunteers.
Town selectmen confirmed the two tennis courts located behind the local elementary school will henceforth bear MacIntire’s name. The board also named MacIntire — who died on March 14 — Shoreham’s “citizen of the year” in recognition of the many civic and philanthropic efforts he pursued on behalf of the town.
Among those efforts was the successful construction of Shoreham’s municipal tennis courts. MacIntire was a longtime tennis enthusiast who believed the town could use some courts to enable people to practice, and teach children, the popular sport. MacIntire and fellow residents George Wilcox and Deb Kelly gathered financing and materials to complete the project, which a new sign heralds as the “Wilson MacIntire Courts.”
MacIntire’s civic resume also included service on the boards of the Tri-Town Water District, the South Lake Champlain Trust, the Shoreham Historical Society and the Counseling Service of Addison County. But he took particular interest in the restoration of Newton Academy, a 200-year-old, town-owned building on School Road. MacIntire and many fellow townspeople shared a vision of renovating the building for use as a community center and potential new headquarters for town offices.
MacIntire and his wife, Susan, spent many hours successfully applying for thousands of dollars in grants to pay for Newton Academy renovations. Tragically, the old building was hit by lightning and burned to the ground just weeks after MacIntire’s death. Townspeople will soon be asked to weigh in on whether to rebuild Newton Academy where it once stood; opt for construction of a more modest town office building; or do nothing.
Shoreham selectboard Chairman Paul Saenger said MacIntire not only volunteered tirelessly, but went about his business in just the right way.
“He was a gentleman,” Saenger recalled. “There were times we disagreed, but we always left (a disagreement) as friends.”
Sue MacIntire received a “citizen of the year” plaque from the selectboard during the Shoreham Festival on Sept. 4 on behalf of her late husband. It hangs in the household den with the many other plaques MacIntire earned for his activities. MacIntire’s picture and name will be featured in next March’s Shoreham annual report.
“I think he would have been pleased,” Sue MacIntire said of her husband’s likely reaction to the recent recognition. “He put a lot of effort into a lot of different organizations.”
MacIntire’s work on behalf of Newton Academy will be revisited at a special town gathering on Tuesday, Oct. 12. There, an architect will present basic plans for new town offices as well as a Newton Academy rebuild. Voters at the Oct. 12 meeting will be asked to OK an Australian ballot referendum on the three scenarios (new town offices; rebuilt Newton Academy; or do nothing).
Residents will also be asked to transfer more than $20,000 from the town’s Newton Academy reserve fund into the town office reserve fund.
If things proceed according to the selectboard’s plans, townspeople will vote on the town office/Newton Academy options in early December, according to Saenger.
John Flowers is at [email protected].