, Salem, MA

September 27, 2012

Letter: Farewell, and thank you

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

Within a matter of days, Danvers and the region have lost two good friends: T. Frank Tyrrell Jr. and Glenn Mairo; one a through-and-through townie, the other an adopted son.

There are few residents of Danvers who weren’t either a friend of, or at least knew about the legend of, Frank Tyrrell. I cherished his friendship, especially in that he was one of the few living people who knew and talked to me about my grandfather, Albert Dupray, who died years before I was born. Frank was always into Danvers politics, and whenever his name came up in the 1960s or 1970s, my aunt, Alberta Bass, would always emphatically declare, “He’s a friend of the working man!”

Frank held more elected and appointed positions in town and the region than seemed to actually exist. As School Committee chairman, he presented me with my high school diploma in 1965. As a member of the executive board of the Danvers Historical Society, I worked with him; and as a member and long-serving clerk of the board of trustees of the Peabody Institute Library, I worked under him. I think Frank had served as a Town Meeting member since the late 19th century, and even into his old age Frank was a vibrant personality, always with a smile on his face and an impish twinkle in his eye. There wasn’t a free lunch in town Frank ever seemed to miss; and his stories, memories and jovial spirit lit up wherever he was. He indeed deserved the title “Mr. Danvers,” and I will miss his teasing and camaraderie.

Glenn Mairo was neither a native nor a resident of Danvers, but his impact here and elsewhere was very significant. Glenn was a lover of music, history and education. Attending the Boston Conservatory of Music, Glenn was an accomplished drummer. He became head percussionist with the United States Air Force Band, playing for presidents and fallen heroes.

A musical historian who melded research with performance, Glenn participated as an 18th-century re-enactor drummer in the 200th anniversary of the Yorktown Victory celebration in 1981, and marched and drummed in multiple Danvers Memorial Day events with the Danvers Alarm List Company. As a frequent volunteer at Mount Vernon, Va., he drummed the funeral procession on the 200th anniversary of the death of George Washington, and I watched him on a cold 5 a.m. March morning at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, as he musically commemorated the bravery of its defenders.

His interests were myriad. Glenn’s path crossed with such diverse people as actor Jeff Daniels and Defense Department Undersecretary Paul Wolfowitz. He did research and writing in Colonial history, 19th-century coinage, aboriginal history and archaeology, and was researching for a book about sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

He became an adopted son of Danvers by serving many years with the Danvers Alarm List Company and the Rebecca Nurse Homestead; being an active trustee of the Danvers Historical Society and chairman of its education committee, teaching hundreds of Danvers school kids a love of knowledge and history; and, most recently, Glenn was founder-director of The Essex Harmony, a musical ensemble performing New England music of the pre-Civil War era. Regionally, Glenn volunteered with the Essex Heritage Commission and was a fervent supporter of the Towne Family Association.

With his passing, I have lost a personal friend who shared many of my idiosyncrasies and a man who was full of ideas, enthusiasm and knowledge.

Richard B. Trask