October 2, 2018
Paul O. McGinnis
NEW SALEM- Paul McGinnis (88) died on October 1, 2018. In life, he had a ready smile and an amazingly positive attitude. Paul loved to square dance, sing, fish, canoe, eat homemade donuts, fix things, play cards, and to help others.
He was born on June 27, 1930 to Leo and Margaret (Morrison) McGinnis in the New Salem homestead where eight generations of his ancestors lived. Paul cared deeply for this farm and forested land where he lived all of his life and raised his family. Paul was a descendant of Jeremiah Meacham, the first settler of the Town of New Salem. He attended school in New Salem, beginning 1st grade in a schoolhouse in Millington and then attended New Salem Academy, from which he graduated in 1949.
As a man who loved to work, he began to help his father with draft horses in the woods when he was a child and continued logging after his father’s death in 1941. Paul started working in saw mills as a young adult, first for Fred Noble of Northampton, followed by thirty years with Robinson Lumber in Hardwick, both of whom he respected and valued for their generosity and friendship. He retired from full-time work in 1994.
Paul loved the Town of New Salem and served the town in many capacities. He was on both the volunteer fire department and the police department in the 60’s and 70’s. He sat on the zoning board from 1965 to 1972 and, for many years, was appointed to the Town Forest Committee and as the Surveyor of Wood, Lumber, and Bark. Paul was first elected as an Assessor in 1973 and remained on the board until 2004. In 2002 and 2004, he served as the town’s E911 Coordinator and Street Numbering Agent. He spent many years as a Ballot Clerk and Teller.
Paul was also an active member of the South Athol Methodist Church, coordinating many church, parsonage, and hall maintenance projects, including the construction of a cellar under the church building. He was a Church Trustee for many years and he volunteered for 50 years on fairs and for 70 years on suppers. He was a member of the South Athol United Methodist Men’s club, playing at their annual cribbage tournament for 20 years.
Paul and his wife Eleanor (Mealand), were married on October 4, 1958, celebrating 60 years of marriage this month. They had four daughters: Jenne married Oscar Lacwasan whose children are Leo (partner Abby Ingram), Quincy, and Maggie; Andrea married Charles Muller, whose son is Mason; Claire married Steven Blinder whose sons are Greg and James; and Marjorie married William Solomon whose daughters are Laura and Kathryn. He had two great grandchildren Oliver and Remi Lacwasan. He is survived by his sister Mary Lou Weathers, her husband Robert, and by many nieces and nephews and their children.
Paul and Eleanor liked to travel in their truck and camper and visited every state except Hawaii and every Canadian province except the Northwest Territory. Each fall, you could have found him at the agricultural fairs watching the horse pulls and the saw competitions, especially the crosscut.
A remembrance service will be held in the South Athol Methodist Church, 65 Morgan Ave., Athol, on Saturday, October 6, 2018 at 10:30 am.
In lieu of flowers, donations will be accepted by the South Athol Methodist Church Men’s Club.