Faith, Gifts and Joy: An Easter Epiphany

by Maureen Gillum

This is a story about faith; utilizing God’s gifts in service; and the glory of Easter.  It’s also about the promise of spring, evidenced by the amazing diversity of flora of all shapes, colors and sizes in bloom.

Some fortunate people in life know early on what they want to be and fully utilize their gifts -- like Anne Grohosky-Marshall, co-owner and designer of Anne’s Country Florals.  The Hudson native recalls, “I wanted to go into floral design back at Alvirne in the late 1970s.”  Following her life-long dream, she studied at Rittner’s School of Floral Design in Boston.  “Anne has a special gift,” offered her mother, Claudette Grohosky, “as an artist, her canvas is her flowers.”

With the help of husband (Tim) and originally backed by her in-laws, Alden and Carolyn Marshall, Anne opened her 3,000 square foot shop in Market Basket Plaza in 1984.  “It was a little scary starting this business at 24,” admited the slender and soft-spoken Anne in reflection, “but Alden helped a lot to design much of the store’s interior, based on my floral design needs.”  A year later, Anne and Tim financially invested in the business and incorporated.

Among Anne’s many long-term employees are much of her family, including her parents (Claudette helps manage; Ed delivers); Tim and Alden (‘Mr. Fix Its’); and their only child, 17-year-old Ben, who helps on the PC.  Even their Golden Retriever, Radar, serves as “official greeter,” when he’s not munching on carnations.  “As a ‘family business,’ it’s always been great (having) everyone pitch in to help,” she thankfully added smiling, “with faith, we’ve grown over the years.”  Anne’s Country Florals now employs 20 part-time staff and in 2000 extended its reach with a Nashua shop in Crowne Plaza.

Anne also readily gives credit to her many great employees.  These include three designers (Linda M., Shirley M., and Linda L.), as well as Shanon C., Laura B., Heidi J., Maddy M., Ann Marie G., Cindy M., Ron G., Laura F., Tracee L., Chantel F., Kat G. and Jeff St. O., who’ve been instrumental in her success.  “This is a real family atmosphere,” shared Shanon Chaput, who has worked at Anne’s for ten years and will reluctantly depart soon due to her family’s relocation.  “It’s going to be really hard to leave.”  “Anne is extremely caring,” described Heidi Jakoby, a Crowne Plaza employee.  “Whether it’s for a wedding or funeral, she hopes her flowers are enjoyed by everyone and serves her customers’ emotional needs.”

From the start, Anne’s Country Florals has worked with local churches and developed their relationships.  “We do a lot of weddings and funerals,” explained Anne.  “We’re honored to do much of the floral work for St. John’s, Immaculate Conception and Saint Kathryn’s, including the latter two parishes’ dedications in 2000.”

Anne also experienced a professional and personal “epiphany.”  “While working on a Good Friday at my own parish (St. Kathryn’s) around 1994, I realized what I was doing was my real gift from God,” shared Anne sincerely.  “Finally, everything blended together for me; this wasn’t just a business or job, but an opportunity to serve my church and community.”  She modestly admits she typically donates two urn arrangements most weeks and gives more than a hundred hours of floral design time to her church annually, which she finds “very satisfying” and “meaningful.”  “Anne is most joyful and tranquil when creating for churches,” observed Heidi.  “She is truly divinely inspired with her Easter floral designs, which are always unique and awe-inspiring.”

Humble Anne defers praise, redirecting tribute to Gayle Marcotte, Saint Kathryn’s architect of “liturgical environments” and her dedicated volunteer team.  “This is really what St. Kathryn’s is all about,” commentd Anne as she creatively arranged a brilliant spear of pink ginger.  “As parishioners, we worship and work together in faith throughout the year.”

Gayle Marcotte has been a Hudson resident and active parishioner at Saint Kathryn’s Catholic Church for 24 years.  She and husband, ‘Deacon Ray,’ have raised their four children (Jon, 28; Alan, 26; Lynn, 22; and Robyn, a senior at Alvirne) here.  For 12 years, Gayle’s passion is to prepare the church for Holy Week, especially the tomb of Christ.  “The tomb is a wonderful Slavic tradition that no other parish around here does,” she offers ardently.  “It draws many people from all over to reflect on Christ’s death and resurrection.”  Constructing the tomb, the team starts with “humble beginnings” of rock, paper, PVC pipe and tarps early on Good Friday morning.  By dusk, the team of dozens transforms the Transept Chapel into a lush garden sepulcher, complete with the life-size replica of Christ at rest amidst greens and flora, which remains open in an “unending vigil” through Saturday.

As Father Gary Belliveau, who has led St. Kathryn’s flock since 1993, explained, “The Lord’s tomb is actually an old Polish tradition I learned from Father ‘Kaz’ (his hometown mentor from New Bedford, Massachusetts).”  Father Gary believes the “highly visual re-enactment” he brought to Hudson enables everyone, especially children, to better understand Christ’s ultimate sacrifice and victory.  He also acknowledges his church’s beautiful Easter transformation as “a great labor of love” by the team, led by Gayle and Anne, “as their way to share their special gifts and serve our church.”

After weeks of planning and work, the end results on the bright Easter morning at St. Kathryn’s were spectacular.  The gorgeous front wall and arrangements throughout of predominately white and yellow flora, accented by pink, were compelling.  The now vacant tomb was moved from the chapel into a sanctuary alcove.  “Seeing the empty tomb on Easter -- with just the shroud, crown of thorns and nails left -- is extremely moving,” Anne earnestly states.  In essence, the “empty tomb” represents Christ’s Resurrection and celebrates his Easter victory over death for some 2 billion Christians (Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, etc.) worldwide.

Late Easter evening -- with dim lights, soft music, incense, and candles -- St. Kathryn’s remains open for quiet reflection.  One of only a handful remaining, Gayle viewed her team’s complete “environment” near the back water fountain and quietly exuded, “we were thrilled everything came together so well.”  “While tiring, these are the important efforts of many gifted people doing what they’re called to do,” Gayle shared with a satisfied and weary smile, “we recreate this most holy place to help bring people closer to the Lord -- to see and feel the joyful celebration of Easter.”

Anne and her crew also need a respite after the busy Easter week, but it’s doubtful they’ll get it.  Anne will revisit churches this week to “replenish and arrange flowers as needed” and thankfully details, “terrific people, like Gayle and Denny Iby, who faithfully volunteer to water and care for the flowers daily throughout the Easter Octave.”

Anne’s flower and full-line gift shop now gears up for Secretary Week (4/23-29), prom season, weddings, and the “busiest day of the year -- Mother’s Day (May 14) -- which now surpasses even Valentine’s!”  Drop by Anne’s Country Florals in Hudson (212 Lowell Road, 889-9903), Nashua (2 Somerset Parkway, 577-9095), or visit their extensive website ( to see how, as one of their many customer testimonials stated, they’ll put their “heart and soul” into the next floral or gift order.

Benson’s Wild Animal Farm’s Gorilla Passes Away

by Doug Robinson

“Tony,” the 6-foot, 500-pound gorilla who lived for many years at Benson’s Wild Animal Farm in Hudson, passed away at the beginning of April.  When Benson’s Wild Animal Farm closed it doors, Tony lived out his remaining years at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Born in Africa in 1966 the 40-year-old gorilla’s death will leave a void that will never be able to be filled.  He passed away while undergoing a root canal and a routine physical.  He never came out of the anesthesia. 

While at the Cincinnati Zoo, Tony was renamed, “Colossus,” as it was learned that he was the largest gorilla in captivity.  Colossus was considered “the showcase gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo” stated the Cincinnati Enquirer.  The 40-year-old western lowland silverback was only one of 346 western lowland gorillas in captivity in North America and “less than 75,000 lowland gorillas survive in the world” according to the zoo’s website.

Teri Roth, the zoo’s vice president, stated, “That’s the risk you run with older animals and anesthesia.  Our veterinary staff has already done the necropsy and sent out samples for analysis.  They won’t be back for weeks, but we expect them to confirm our initial findings of simple cardiac arrest,” reports the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Dr Al Conti, Hudson Animal Hospital, fondly recalls taking care of Tony for many years while Tony was at Benson’s Wild Animal Farm.  “He was a well-loved character and he had his antics.  In 1984 or 1985, he got out of his cage one night and we had a difficult time getting him back into his cage.  We tried to administer drugs orally to him; however, he refused to take the drink.  After several hours, he did not move far, and he did return to his cage on his own.  While at Benson’s, we did dental work on Tony, physical exams, and some blood work too.  He was always in good condition.”

When Benson’s Wild Animal Farm closed its doors in the late 1980s, Tony was sold to the Gulf Breeze Zoo in Florida.  From the Gulf Breeze Zoo, the Cincinnati Zoo purchased Toni in 1993, in hopes that Tony would be able to help propagate the gorilla population in the Cincinnati Zoo.  

Because of his unconventional upbringing and his isolation from an early age, Tony was never taught the social skills needed and he quickly gave the female gorillas the “brush off” and took on the responsibility of becoming a father figure to the troupe of three females.  The zoo was able to “harvest and freeze some sperm, so there is still hope that he’ll be able to produce offspring, probably by in-vitro fertilizations,” reported Roth.  Tony’s unique genetics are still hoped to be introduced to the zoo population.

For days after Tony’s death, hundreds of children lined the paths throughout Gorilla World with signs stating, “Good luck in the trees of monkey heaven,” “You was big good,” and “We were one day too late.” 

Zoo officials state, “He was our ambassador.  There were so many people who came here because of his charisma, and that helped us educate people on the bigger picture, the plight of gorillas in the wild.”

Tony leaves no next of kin.

Editor’s Note: Hudson Historian Ruth Parker graciously provided the following story about Library Park to us.  At a recent Hudson Board of Selectmen meeting resident Marilyn McGrath requested that the board rename Library Park to honor the memory of Ann Seabury.  While her sentiment to keep Ms. Seabury’s memory alive is valid, it would also diminish the memory of the Hills family who purchased the property.  Even though this story has run in the Hudson~Litchfield News before, the request from Ms. McGrath prompted us to share this history of the park in hopes of giving insight into its background. 

Library Park has a Rich History

by Ruth Parker

The beautifully maintained, triangular park area bounded by Ferry, Derry, and Library streets was a gift to the Town of Hudson thanks to the efforts of Dr. Alfred Hills and Mary Creutzborg.  A granite boulder located near the intersection of Ferry and Derry streets contains a bronze tablet with the following inscription:


The gift of Mary Field Creutzborg 1911

For several years prior to 1911 this triangular piece of land, which contained about 1.25 acres, had been under discussion among the residents of that section of Hudson as a possible public park.

Just prior to 1911, this tract of land was owned by parties living in Nashua.  They had divided it into 11 house lots and had offered them for sale.  Only two of the lots were sold; and a house was being erected on one of them.

People began to realize that a potential of 11 houses on this small tract of land would be of no real benefit to the town.  There had been much discussion about acquiring this land for a public park; but, no action had been taken.  In fact, an article was placed in the 1911 Town Warrant to see if the town would vote to purchase this tract of land for a public park.  This article was indefinitely postponed.

In the meantime, work was progressing quite rapidly on a small house being erected on one of these lots.

A special town meeting was called May 15, 1911; the purpose being to see if the town would authorize the selectmen to acquire this land by eminent domain for the purpose of a public park.

Dr. Hills, who had always been interested in acquiring this land for a park, offered the following resolution to the town:

Resolved, That the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Hudson, are hereby authorized to acquire by condemnation or other proceedings, and grade the triangular piece of land, bounded by Derry Road, Sanders and Ferry Streets for the purpose of a public park, to be known as Library Park, provided there shall be no expense to the town.

This resolution was passed by a unanimous vote.  Dr. Hills proposed to bear all expenses for the purchase of the land and the grading of the park, with assistance from Mary Creutzborg.  Creutzborg was the mother of Ida Virginia Hills, beloved wife of Dr. Hills.  The selection of the name Library Park was quite deliberate.  Mrs. Hills had passed away and the nearby library had been presented to the town in her memory.

The land was purchased at the expense of Dr. Hills and Mary Creutzborg.  The owner of the house which had been erected on the small lot was compensated with a much larger lot in a more desirable site.  A little later, the tract of land was surveyed, laid out for a park, graded, and seeded.  At the corner of Ferry and Sanders (now Library) streets an ornamental and enduring structure was erected.  This served as a waiting place for those awaiting the electric car which ran along Ferry Street.

There is a tendency by public officials and the local media to refer to this tract of land as the Town Common.  This is not the Town Common; it is Library Park.

According to Kimbal Webster's “History of Hudson,” this town had two commons.  The South Common was located in the vicinity of the Blodgett Cemetery.  The North Common, or Common at the Center, is located at the intersection of Kimball Hill Road and Route 111.  This Common, and adjacent burial ground, still exists today; but the size of the common was significantly reduced when the State of New Hampshire improved Route 111.

Library Park was and is greatly appreciated by the citizens of Hudson who are grateful to the donors for their foresight and generosity.  It is important that residents honor this public place and its donors, by calling it by its rightful name:  Library Park.

Police Investigate Arson at Darrah Pond Playground

by Lynne Ober

Litchfield Recreation Committee Chairman Howard Seymour told selectmen that more than $1,000 worth of damage had been caused by arson at the Darrah Pond playground.

According to Seymour someone set a fire under the slide canopy on Friday.  The gasoline can was left behind.  The fire got so hot that it melted the slide.

Litchfield Police have an open criminal investigation.

Hudson Police Searching for Bank Robbery Suspects

On April 18, at about 2:06 p.m. the Hudson Police Department received a phone call regarding a robbery at St. Mary’s Bank on 3 Winnhaven Drive, Hudson. 

Two male subjects, one white and one possibly Hispanic, both of slim to medium build and approximately 5 feet 8 inches tall, forced a bank employee into the bank from outside.  One suspect was brandishing a firearm.  Both subjects wore ski masks and had dark clothing.  There were no customers in the bank at the time.  An undetermined amount of cash was taken.  A Hudson Police Department Canine Unit and the Hudson Police Department Crime Scene Unit were contacted and responded to process the crime scene.  The FBI responded to the scene of the robbery. 

The Hudson Police Department Criminal Investigation Division is investigating the incident in cooperation with the FBI.  If anyone has any information regarding this crime, please contact Detective Sergeant Charles Dyac at 886-6011.

Rabies Clinic is Well Attended

by Lynne Ober

Once again the annual Hudson Rabies Clinic was sponsored by the GFWC - Hudson Junior Woman’s Club.  Once again students from Alvirne’s Vet Tech program were on-hand to help with the registrations. 

“All of the proceeds from this event go into our scholarship program,” said Lisa Nute.  “We support the Vet Tech program with annual scholarships and last year’s was $1,000.”

Although there was a long line when the clinic opened, it didn’t take long to reach the table where the shots were being given.  All paperwork necessary for a dog license was supplied at the clinic. 

Alvirne teacher, Liz Sabean, who teaches in the Vet Tech program, also helped with registrations.  From the program were Chelsea Henderson, Randi Salisbury, and Kayla Goff.

As always Dr. Conti and the staff of Hudson Animal Hospital made this happen.  Dr. Conti has been doing this so long that he knew some of his four-footed patients by name.

Next year the Rabies Clinic will move to the Hudson Animal Control Facility after years of being at the Hudson Fire Department.  “It will mean that Town Hall will not have to open to support this activity,” said Nute.  “We are starting to tell people now.”

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