Every generations has leaders that leave their mark on a community. During the past several weeks, Chatham has lost two such people.
A few weeks ago, cancer took Jean Young, a former board of health member and consummate volunteer whose passion for making life better for children found expression in almost every aspect of her life. From her work at both the elementary and middle schools, organizing the after-prom party to help keep teens safe, to the application of her formidable organizational skills to the Art of Charity, Mrs. Young tried to make sure that every child had his or her needs met and felt special, the way a kid should feel in a small community where everyone knows your name. Even if that might no longer be true, she made you feel that it was at least possible. Even her work on the board of health looked to the future, when the children of the day would be adults and smoke-free environments would be accepted as the status quo.
Just this past weekend Thomas R. “Tim” Pennypacker also succumbed to cancer. A former police officer and long-time selectman, Mr. Pennypacker had the enviable ability to easily put people at ease. This came in handy in his job as a justice of the peace. He officiated at countless weddings, marrying people in parks, on the beach, in a tree and even a hot-air balloon, always with the right words and manner to make the couple feel comfortable and special. His family history in Chatham went back more than a century, and along with a passion for local history he carried on the spirit of the community through his quiet efforts to help his neighbors in any way he could.
Both Jean Young and Tim Pennypacker leave a void in the community. While others will eventually fill the space their absence has created, we're thankful they were here and know their legacies will continue to be remembered for a long time.