Send Us Your Memories of Stoneham Town Clerk John Hanright

Town Clerk John Hanright passed away on Monday.

Longtime John Hanright passed away Monday night at an area hospital.

As we gather more information about Hanright's passing, we'd like you to share with us and our readers your memories about the town clerk.

You can post a comment in the comments section below or email Stoneham Patch Editor Mark Ouellette at mark.ouellette@patch.com.

Tuesday morning, we received this letter from Stoneham Fire Chief Joseph Rolli recalling his experiences with Hanright:

Members of the were saddened Monday morning as news came to the firehouse of the passing of Town Clerk John Hanright. John Hanright was a true friend to the Firefighters of Stoneham. A fire buff in every sense of the word, John would engage with Firefighters with what was going on, how they were doing, etc.

John would listen to his scanner like a teenager listens to their ipod.  Many times when we would converse John would ask me, “What did Quincy have last night?” or “Did Melrose just get a new piece of apparatus?” I will humbly admit that John knew more about what was going on with Fire Departments outside of Stoneham than me.

I would often visit John in his office to shoot the breeze about the Fire Department, the Town, and many other issues. He was a true Townie in every sense of the word. At first I would visit his office when I had a couple of minutes to waste and soon found out if I was going to his office I better have an hour to waste. He was joy to talk to and boy could he talk.

If you looked up Town Clerk in the dictionary, it should just say John Hanright. A robust man who did nothing but serve the citizens and help as many people out as possible.

It is customary for the Fire Department to lower its flag at half staff for active and retired members of the Fire Department who have passed on. Many Firefighters came to me when learned of John’s passing and asked if we could lower it for the first time for a non-member of the Fire Department. We all agreed John was more than the Town Clerk; he was a member of the Fire Department. It felt like John was every member of the Fire Departments older brother. offering advice, support and loyalty.

I, along with the member of the Fire Department are emotionally hurt to lose John Hanright, but we all know how lucky we were to have John as part of us. Godspeed to you our friend, we miss you already.

— Chief Joseph W. Rolli

Paul Rotondi July 13, 2011 at 12:55 PM
First and foremost, the Town of Stoneham owes John a debt of gratitude for his thirty-eight years of service to the Town. John served 14 years as Town Clerk and 24 years as an elected member of the Board of Assessors. Of the 715 citizens who have served Stoneham in elected office since 1725, only six have served a greater time than John. Personally, I have known John for over fifty years and his priorities never changed family, friends and Stoneham. John had a great sense of humor and loved to tease. Who hasn’t been a target of one of his “zings”, said with a straight face and twinkle in his eye. As it seems to be with long time friends, our favorite memories seem to be our most recent memories. My fondest memory of John is sitting down with him and talking about the history of Stoneham, what it was, what it is and what it can be. The picture, taken at the library Mystery Night, captures the John’s personality and shows that great smile. Paul Rotondi
Catherine Flanagan Stover July 13, 2011 at 01:45 PM
I have lost a "brother" and dear friend. John and I shared the same birthday. We were "twins" by different mothers. There will be an unfillable void in the New England Clerks' family. I have never known a man more dedicated and devoted to his community and family than John Hanright. He and his darling wife Janie doted on their son John, his wife Nancy, their precious baby granddaughter Alexis Christine, and their adopted granddaughter Mia. As grievous the loss of John is to the New England clerks, the loss of John to his wonderful family is so much greater. Our love and prayers will always be theirs. Catherine Flanagan Stover, MMC, CMMC Nantucket Town & County Clerk
rita maffeo manuel July 13, 2011 at 01:59 PM
There aren't enough words one could say about John Hanright. He was the Salt of the Earth. John was always smiling and truly helped everyone. Our sincerest sympathy goes out to his family. Rita and Ed Manuel
Joyce A. Bradshaw July 14, 2011 at 12:14 AM
The world has lost a truly great man whose devotion to his beloved Stoneham and his esteem for the position of Town Clerk was only surpassed by his love for Janie and his family. John was always there to offer his expertise and lend a hand to help us all. I remember John driving to North Andover as I anxiously prepared for a 3,000+ Special Town Meeting with all his stamps and supplies that would help me as he knew I was "too busy" to come and pick them up. All the conferences and planning meetings for the New England Clerk's Asociation and our Massachusetts Town Clerk's Conferences you always look to find John and share all the latest news and laughter. John was a dear friend and colleague and will always be in our memories and hearts. Joyce Bradshaw,CMMC, Town Clerk North Andover
Jodi October 11, 2011 at 03:41 AM
Town clerk John Hanright was part of a very special day for me, as he married my husband and I earlier this year. I was so nervous that I burst into tears during the ceremony, but John was so kind to us. He just made it an even MORE special day for us than it already was. He spent a great deal of time chatting with us afterward as well...he wasn't rushed at all but took the time to get to know us. He really added to the feeling that Stoneham is more than a town, it's a community. He really went out of his way for us, and the both of us are so appreciative. We just found out that he passed, and we are both heartbroken. Thank you, John. Although we only met you briefly you really made your mark on us and we will remember you.


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