SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

December 23, 2013

Stewards stepping down

Longtime caretakers of Endicott Park to retire Jan. 1

(Continued)

“We are in our 70s, and we’ve been here 41 years, and it’s time,” said Dave Townley. “We need some new, fresh ideas.”

“Theirs has been a labor of love for these past 40-plus years at Endicott Park,” Marquis said. “They have done a terrific job as caretakers and advocates for the park. We owe them a very big debt of gratitude for their work in making Endicott Park one of the true gems here on the North Shore.”

Dave, who has been on the job for 41 years, is retiring as park director and chief ranger, while Joan is retiring as the wildlife biologist and interpreter. In their early years at the park, Joan was raising her children but was also a full-time “volunteer.” She worked the family’s Christmas tree business for a number of years and became a full-time ranger in 1996 when an opening became available. Five rangers oversee the park.

As park rangers, they are law enforcement officers and trained EMTs, responding to medical aid calls within the park. They also greet schoolchildren and give educational talks.

Because they live at Endicott Park, there is technically no time off. But no matter.

“We have never gotten tired of it,” Joan said.

The town acquired the property from R.S. Robie Realty Co. and Richard Robie in 1961 for $330,000 under former Danvers Town Manager Robert Curtis. It was Curtis who hired Dave Townley.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Danvers had large truck farms along Route 114.

“There were people in town who did not really see the value of buying an old farm,” Joan said. Those at the time like Ralph Goodno, who was a member of the Conservation Commission and a teacher at Essex Aggie, and others had the vision that open space would someday be valuable, she said.

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