March 2021 Newsletter

          March 2021 Newsletter

The end of March - how quickly time goes by.  Just over five months to go to our 50+1 Reunion.  We hope everyone is doing well and the vaccination process is either completed or well underway.

This month's Newsletter includes an update on our Class Gift & Donation Drive, a great classmate article about John Lynch, a Military service update and some key dates to keep in mind.

Class Gift & Donation Drive Update

February's Newsletter announced the Class Gift & Donation Drive.  Following that Newsletter, we received new Donations totaling $600.00.  Thanks so much for those who have contributed. We still have a long way to go.  We have received some inquiries regarding how much should I donate?  The simple truth, any amount is greatly appreciated, however, the current range is anywhere from $50 - $600.  The link below will take you to the website to sign in, then open the Class Donation Process for a quick and easy way to Donate.

If you have received this communication and have not signed up on the website, you have two options;

  1. Open the link above, click on First Time Visitors and follow the instructions.  Once you are registered, click on the Class Donation Process to make a contribution.
  2. If you choose not to register, but wish to donate, please send a personal check to;  Karen Better Carlin, 4 Harborview Rd., Hull, MA  02045

John Lynch - Four Terms and a lot more 

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Of all our ’70 LHS classmates, John Lynch—a four-term NH governor—has no doubt played the most prominent role in public service. Though John is too modest to share a personal profile, he kindly agreed to my doing so on his behalf. I greatly admire him and think it’s quite wonderful to have a dear friend who’s a former state governor!

—Kitsie (Eckert) Claxton                                                  

Asked to recall our high school years together, John has many wonderful memories, of both LHS and beyond. “My friends were really my family back then,” he recalls. He remembers the friendliness and connections among our  class of ’70; our skilled and dedicated teachers and coaches—from Gerry Jackson and John Durkin to Bill Rodan and Harry Jameson; the many activities like baseball, class plays and student council. And it was at Friendly’s restaurant in Saugus, where John worked during high school, that he and his wife Susan (a now-retired pediatrician) first met.

After our graduation, John majored in English at UNH, then went on to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School and a law degree from Georgetown University. After several academic and business roles, he became CEO of Knoll Inc., a high-end but financially struggling national office furniture company that John led into substantial profitability.  But profits were less important to John than earning the trust of each and every Knoll employee: he was proud to create new jobs at Knoll, share stock in the company with all employees when it went private, and establish a scholarship program for the children of employees.

After leaving Knoll, John took on “one of [his] favorite jobs ever,” serving as coach of his daughter Jackie’s Junior Olympic softball team. John also coached daughter Julia’s and son Hayden’s teams —including soccer, a sport he never played.

In 2003, after complaining loudly and often to his family about the poor leadership of the then-serving NH governor, John’s family told him to “stop complaining and do something about it!” John says that his decision to head out on the campaign trail to run for governor took him out of his comfort zone, and he wondered at times just what he was getting into. But he worked hard at it (as he had always done), and won the election, unseating the incumbent governor. John would eventually be re-elected three times, and is generally considered one of the most popular NH governors ever. Public leadership required the same skill set John had developed in business settings: creating a strong team, earning trust, asking a lots of questions, getting the facts right, and being willing to make hard decisions. ”Did I make a difference in somebody’s life today?” John would ask himself daily.

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While the role of state governor may sound glamorous, John describes it as 98% hard work, with a bit of glamour here and there. But he relished the work, and being with people nearly every minute of the day. NH is a small state in population and geography, “like one big family, and easy to know everyone,” John says. He frequently saw Gary Millen, who was involved in the Youth in Government program as a NH high school history teacher, and received many letters from Bill Rodan. (When John spoke at Gary Millen’s celebration of life in 2006, held in the jam-packed gymnasium at Kennett High School in Conway, I remember thinking how amazing it was that both John and Gary would have such remarkable careers, making such a positive impact on so many lives—K.).

During John’s years in office, New Hampshire was hit with three 100-year floods, presenting hugely difficult leadership challenges for him as the state’s governor. When southwestern NH was hard hit in the fall of 2005, John made the quick decision to cut short a European trade mission (in the process, inadvertently taking his wife Susan’s luggage and leaving her to scramble for a wardrobe) to situate himself there for weeks in order to coordinate the relief efforts. 

John’s favorite part of the governor’s job was greeting the fourth-grade students that visited the Statehouse as part of their NH history studies. Three times each day, he would excuse himself from whatever meeting he might be in to talk with the students. One of his treasured mementos from his years in office is a letter from a 4th-grader who thanked him for the visit before adding:  “I would have taken a picture of you but I wanted to save the film.”     

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After leaving the Statehouse, John taught at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business through last fall. And now, as many of us are enjoying more leisurely retirement pursuits, John is still looking forward to new professional challenges. He was one of the first elected officials in the country to come out in support of Joe Biden for president, and is now exploring ideas with the Biden administration about possible future  roles.                

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And just a few more tidbits about John: he treasures time with his 5-year old grandson George, plays pickleball, is getting a new puppy to join his golden retriever Spencer, and is looking forward to attending our 50+1 reunion in September!

(Thanks, John!-Kitsie)

Recognizing Military Service

In our November 2020 Newsletter, we recognized classmates who have served.  Since then, we can add Robert Swasey to that list.  Thank you Bob for your service!

Key Dates to Keep In Mind

As we move closer to our September Reunion, we will use the monthly Newsletter to keep you appraised of key dates and actions,

Now - August 30th:  Submit Donations for Class Gift & website operating expense
Now - August 30th:  Book rooms at the Four Points by Sheraton.  Refer to Hotel Blocks website page for details.  We encourage everyone to make reservations early.
June 14 - Sept 3rd:  Reunion Event Registration available on the website
Friday, Sept 17th:  LHS Tour, Four Points by Sheraton Meet & Greet (updated details to follow)
Sat., Sept 18th:  Four Points by Sheraton Main Event


The LHS 50+1 Reunion Committee