- Category: Current Issue
PUTNAM — The Putnam High School “Wall of Honor” committee, which was established in September 2016, recently announced the initial group of individuals who’ll be inducted. According to the group’s by-laws five individuals will be honored as members of the inaugural class.
“Wall of Honor” committee chairman Ronald P. Coderre said the initial class is composed of the late John N. Dempsey former governor of Connecticut, noted author the late Gertrude Chandler Warner, and business person and education advocate the late Rose Bove LaRose.
The remaining two inductees are William H. Mansfield III, who enjoyed a career in the United States Foreign Service and former Putnam Mayor Daniel S. Rovero.
The group will be inducted in a ceremony May 6 at the Black Box Theater in the newly renovated Putnam High School. The evening will include a reception followed by a catered dinner and induction ceremony.
“We’re looking forward to a very special evening. The individuals in the first class have all distinguished themselves as citizens in their respective fields. All are great examples of the type of person that have attended Putnam High School,” said Coderre.
“The honorees are people who have not only contributed to their communities but have also risen to great heights in their careers. They have demonstrated qualities of leadership, ethical conduct and service to society,” he added.
Rovero graduated from Putnam High School in 1955 where he was a standout athlete. Following a stint in the U.S. Army he established himself as a successful businessman before assuming the position of mayor of Putnam. He served the community as its longest tenured mayor. He currently serves in the Connecticut State Legislature as the 51st Assembly District Representative. He and his wife, Judy live in Dayville.
Mansfield, a 1950 graduate of Putnam High School, is a member of one of Putnam’s long established families. A graduate of Dartmouth College, he served as an officer in the U.S. Navy. As a member of the US Foreign Service he specialized in African studies and affairs with an emphasis on international environmental program development. A resident of Bethesda, Md., he currently serves as an assistant secretary general of the United Nations and deputy executive director of the UN Environment Program.
Dempsey, who is best remembered as the 81st governor of Connecticut, graduated from Putnam High School in 1934. He emigrated from Ireland with his family as a young man. Prior to serving as governor from 1961 to 1971, he served as mayor of Putnam for 13 years, playing a major role during the devastating flood of 1955 and later in the redevelopment of Putnam. His legacy remains at the John Dempsey Hospital in Farmington. His wife Mary lives in Dayville and his four children are residents of Connecticut.
Mrs. LaRose is remembered for working with Dempsey on the redevelopment of Putnam. She was a prime developer of the Putnam Shopping Center (currently Riverview shopping plaza) following the flood of 1955. In addition to a successful business career, Mrs. LaRose served on the Putnam Board of Education for 30 years, eight as the chairperson. She also served on the Connecticut Board of Education for many years. She was conferred a Papal Medal for her service to St. Mary Church. Her memory is preserved at Day Kimball Hospital through the Rose Bove LaRose Oncology Center. She graduated from Putnam High School in 1930.
Miss Warner is remembered as the author of the 19-volume series “The Boxcar Children.” She left Putnam High School in 1906 due to personal health concerns but later went on to become a beloved teacher in the Putnam school system for 32 years. Active in the Putnam community, she was named the “Woman of the Year” by the Emblem Club for her dedication to education and the American Red Cross. The Boxcar Museum in Putnam was dedicated in her memory in 2004. Her grave marker sums up her life, “She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
All honorees or a family representative will receive a photo plaque symbolic of their acceptance in the “Wall of Honor.” Additionally, a duplicate plaque will be displayed for a one year in a prominent location at the high school before being moved permanently to the Wall of Honor in the school.
Tickets to the induction dinner and ceremony are $40 and are limited. They may be purchased by calling the office of the Superintendent of Schools at 860-963-6900 or by calling Coderre at 860-928-6772. Tickets will not be sold at the door.
Member of the committee in addition to Coderre are Nelson King, Susan Johnston, Jeanne Benoit, Lee Konicki, Robert Garceau, Stuart Neal, Sandra Ames and Fabiola Cutler. The Board of Education is represented by Superintendent William Hull and member Carrie Blackmar and Dr. David Gaudreau.