It is altogether fitting to be seated in the Montville Town Chambers meeting room interviewing John Geary today. The Montville Town Hall is John’s second home, his “home away from home.”
“I have been a member of the Montville Town Council for nine years, four as chairman, a commissioner on the Water Pollution Control Authority for 13 years, a member of the School Building Renovation Committee for six years and President of the Montville Historical Society for 14 years,” John shares with me.
The Montville Town Hall is the former Uncasville School where John entered kindergarten in 1939.
“I recall an incident when as a first grader I disrupted a seventh grade class by entering and describing in colorful language bullying tactics of a student and his threats to dunk my head in the toilet! The class roared with laughter.”
Born in 1934, John is the younger of two sons born to Edward and Aurette Fournier Geary. Following first grade at Uncasville School, John transferred to Palmer School.
“When I was in the fourth grade, my teacher, Dorothy Brown, came to live with my family. I liked her and this was not a problem for me. Returning to visit my family about ten years later, she said to me, ‘Remember the time you came into my classroom and said, ‘Dot, I just lost my tooth!’?’”
After the eighth grade John spent two years at Norwich Free Academy. He then attended La Salette Seminary in Hartford to finish high school. He dropped out of his second semester at La Salette College in Altamont, NY. Military service followed with three years in the Army stationed in France.
“Even though I was a lazy student in French, my background in French provided an advantage for good jobs in installation security. When I got home I used the GI Bill and graduated from Central CT State College in 1963 earning a BS degree with a major in Social Science and minor in English.”
“After graduating from college I taught mostly English for two years in Durham and then worked four years with the CT State Welfare Department in Public Assistance, and 20 years as a Family Relations Counselor for the Superior Court, retiring in 1990.”
John was instrumental in helping to bring about extensive renovations to Palmer School which has been renamed Palmer Academy and which is now home to the Montville Alternative High School. He also worked to have Palmer School listed on the State Registry of Historical Places.
“Members of the Palmer family participated this past August at the rededication of Palmer School,” John tells me.
John may be spotted working in any one of several abandoned burial grounds of Montville. He devotes many volunteer hours to maintaining the plots.
John and his wife Donna reside on Depot Road and have one son, Scott, who is a nuclear engineer living in Knoxville, TN.
“I think every citizen should obey the laws, vote in elections and volunteer for some national and local service if he can,” John remarks.
John is a good role model for all of us.