Two Salem Employees Retire 61 Combined Years of Dedicated Service

by Doug Robinson

Robert Dennis

Robert “Bobby” Dennis, Administrative Superintendent for the Highway Department and Ron Paul, Foreman for the Parks and Properties, recently retired after serving a combined total of 61 years of service to the Town of Salem.

Robert Dennis, a Salem native since birth, began his career with the Highway Department in 1969.

“I began as a meter reader for the water department.My father had passed away and my three older brothers were in the service.I left high school to help out with the expenses at home.I went to night school and got my diploma,” said Dennis.With a smile on his lips, Dennis went on further and said, “I have worked for 20 of the 21 Town Managers in the Town of Salem.”

During his career with the Highway Department, Dennis spent his first 15 years with the water department, which resulted with his promotion to become the Water Superintendent for the Town of Salem. 

“I remember the mid 1980’s going house to house in the winter time.We had five sewer crews in the town and during that time we had a pretty bad freeze up of the water system.We worked round the clock going house to house as we attempted to thaw out the pipes.”

When an opportunity to become a Highway Foreman opened, Dennis applied and was appointed to that position.He has also held the position of Highway Superintendent for a period of six years, managed the Parks and Properties Department, and has been in charge of Salem’s Cemeteries for a period of five years.

“When that position was eliminated, I began my current job as the Administrative Assistant, responsible for the processing payroll, review of purchase orders, and maintaining the proper flow of paperwork.”

“It’s time to move on and time to focus on my family” continued Dennis.Dennis and his wife, Dolly, have been married for 39 years and have raised two children, Robert, Jr., and Kevin, and are enjoying the beauty and blessings of three grand kids.Together, they intend to spend a lot of time together hunting, fishing and enjoying the beautiful mountain area of Pittsburg, where they own a home.

“We’ve never taken a vacation or a cruise.While I am going to enjoy retirement, I do think I am going to miss my friends here at the Department of Public Works,” said Dennis.

Friend and co-worker Ron Paul expressed the same sentiments when asked about what he will miss most as he enters retirement.

“I will miss the people and I will miss the friendships that I have had over the years,” said Paul.

For 22 years, Paul has worked for the Town of Salem in the Parks and Properties division of the Salem Public Works Department.He brought to Salem a rich résumé of construction, heavy equipment operation and common sense.

“My first job as a child was working at a shoe shop in Kennebunkport, Maine.As I grew older, I then learned the construction business and eventually learned how to drive 10-wheelers.My uncle worked for the Salem Highway Department, and I was fortunate to be hired by the Town of Salem 22 years ago.I remember that I took a cut in pay to join the team at the Highway Department, but in time, I earned it back.”

As the Foreman for Parks and Properties, Paul spent a significant time organizing, arranging, and managing Salem’s cemeteries.

“We bury people 12 months of the year,” said Ron.“My toughest days that I can remember are the days when the heavy winter storms attempted to interfere with us at the cemetery.They never did.”

Paul’s position as Foreman of Parks and Recreation also included the responsibilities for the maintenance of all town buildings.“I can remember the long hours of snow plowing, shoveling, and even cleaning the bathrooms to keep our town going,” said Paul.

Paul has been married to Kathleen for 36 years and together they have raised seven children:five girls and two boys.Their children range in ages from ages 46 to 32.Their children have afforded them 22 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.When asked of Kathleen what she will miss the most, she quickly and immediately responded, “The paycheck.”

As both Robert Dennis and Ron Paul begin their “new now,” in regards to their retirement, each spoke very highly of the other.For 22 years, Robert Dennis and Ron Paul have been close friends, comrades, co-workers and most of all, have served the Town of Salem.

“My fondest memory of Ron,” Paul said, “is that he was always there for me.When I had my heart operation, he came to visit me every day in the hospital, and he even brought me my paycheck.He is a good guy, nervous guy, who just wants it all to be done right.He is quite a guy.”

In speaking of Ron Paul, Robert Dennis recalls that Ron had a “very bad memory.I always had to remind him to do stuff.He is a hard worker and will do anything for you, including the cleaning of the ladies room at Town Hall.”

As they each enter the sunset years of their lives, they each have gained in their love of friendship for each other, the love of camaraderie, and the love of companionship.And who knows, just maybe we will see the both of them fishing or hunting together in Pittsburg, as they support each other as they have done for the past 22 years. 

Ron Paul proudly displays his commemorative Salem plate that he received at his retirement dinner

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Rock of Ages

The Field of Dreams had another concert on Thursday night featuring a well-known Salem band, Rock of Ages.Dan Genest (guitar and vocals), Keith Lord (bass and vocals), Mike Weston (drummer) and Chris Colella (guitar and vocals) made up this awesome band that has been playing together for over three years.Their music consisted of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s classic rock.There is a total of over 70 years experience with these band members and they showed it from the minute they started playing.

Raffles were held – soda, popcorn and ice cream were plentiful.Everyone left in a dancing mood – many smiles to finish the night.Rock of Ages – you were great!

The complete band - Rock of Ages

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Green Golly at the Kelley Library

The Kelley Library recently had an adventure with “Green Golly and Her Golden Flute”.This small crowd was blown away with the art of the flute and the magic of classical music.Barbara Siesel (the flute player) and Keith Torgan (singer, songwriter) from New York dedicate Tugboat Music to making great works of music accessible and available to children so that the future of classical music will be a healthy and vital one.

Rapunzel may have been horrified to spend her days trapped in that big old tower but not Green Golly.She was delighted.So inspired by all that whizzed past her window, she couldn’t help but make beautiful music.Here is the charm and magic of “Green Golly and her Golden Flute” – a funny, extra-ordinary music event – music of Mozart, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Elgar and Bizet, Chopin and Copland.When this program was finished, the parents and children were well versed in classical music without even being aware of what was happening.

Barbara and Keith were full of energy and comedy.

A show for all to see.Good job Kelley Library!

Barbara Siesel playing her gold flute

Barbara Siesel and Kieth Torgan telling the story of Green Golly

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Tea Senior Center

This week at the Salem Senior Center, a tea was held with people from the Division of Health and Human Services from Concord.This was set up with a head table full of Staff from the State, talking and teaching about the many services available to help seniors.Many questions were answered one on one with the seniors, and it was very evident that they had many questions from social security, housing, caregivers and funeral expenses.It was stated over and over again by many of the senior members that home care was getting to be the only optional solution for assisted living for the elderly.The general opinion was that the elderly want to be able to stay at home as long as possible.This meeting touched many hearts and opened up many suggestions from the seniors on what they really want and need.Many of the State Staff said they would look at solutions for the many problems.This tea had more members than usual attending – giving a good idea of how the seniors need and want to take control of their lives. This was an incredible session and many of the seniors got some of their problems solved or at least looked into.

Hattie Greenwood with her suggestion on cutting funeral expenses

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