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September 1, 2009

Danvers native becomes N.H.'s top legal eagle

DANVERS — A line in a college recommendation letter from St. John's Prep foretold the role Danvers native Michael Delaney now plays as New Hampshire's newest attorney general.

"Mike is conscientious and most deeply committed to principles," read the Oct. 17, 1986, letter penned by Bill Mackinson, who taught Delaney in a freshman religious-studies class.

Delaney also used to manage the freshman basketball team Mackinson coached.

A week ago Monday, New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch swore in Delaney as chief legal and law enforcement officer.

Lynch's former legal counsel once served as chief of the homicide unit in the state's attorney general's office. Delaney prosecuted the high-profile murders of Dartmouth professors Half and Susanne Zantop in January 2001, for which the FBI commended him.

It was that line about his conscientiousness in Delaney's recommendation that struck Mackinson today.

"This is Michael," Mackinson said.

Back then at St. John's Prep, Delaney was involved with community service projects and was active with campus ministry.

Delaney graduated with the Class of 1987 and then graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree from the College of the Holy Cross in 1991. Delaney received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1994.

"My education at St. John's Prep really instilled in me a deep appreciation in public service," said Delaney, 40, who lives in Manchester, N.H., with his wife, Caroline, and three children, Margaret, 10, Kathleen, 7 and William, 5.

He grew up on Danvers' Irving Street in a large Irish-Catholic family; his parents still live in the same house today. He was the youngest of five, including three older brothers and a sister. He went to St. Mary of the Annunciation School through eighth grade.

Today, Danvers is also where his brother Frank and his wife, Kelly, own the bakery Cakes for Occasions on Maple Street in the Square.

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