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Service worth roaring about

John H. "Jack" Williams, a Rowe resident, was recently recognized for his 55 years of service with the Charlemont Lions Club.  Recorder/Paul Franz

John H. "Jack" Williams, a Rowe resident, was recently recognized for his 55 years of service with the Charlemont Lions Club. Recorder/Paul Franz

ROWE — John H. “Jack” Williams is not just a “lion” in the town of Rowe but a 55-year member of the Charlemont Lions Club. Recently, he was honored by fellow Lions and by the organization’s district governor, Todd Cromack of Amherst, at a ceremony at the Gracy House Senior Center.

“Fifty years (of membership) is an honor, but 55 years is most unusual,” said Cromack, who gave Williams a 55-year Lions Club Pin and other memorabilia. “As district governor, I oversee 41 clubs in four western Massachusetts counties. Out of 1,200 members, Jack is only one of three who are 55-year members. And he’s still an active member, which is most incredible. He still goes to the meetings.”

Williams, 85, grew up in Connecticut and was in his early teens when his father bought a farm in Rowe, where the family began going as a summer getaway.

In 1955, Williams married Nancy “Nan” Ann Newton. Williams founded the Massamont Insurance and Real Estate Agency and was its president for 40 years.

Throughout the years, Williams has held many town offices: selectman (for 15 years), moderator, School Committee member, and parks commissioner. He was instrumental in getting the picturesque gazebo built near the pond by the Town Hall entrance and donated the English-style red phone booth outside of Town Hall. (The phone booth is now missing its pay phone, but it was much-used in its heyday.).

Cromack said Williams started the Charlemont Lions Club’s eyeglass recycling program in Charlemont, Heath and Rowe, and has been president of the Charlemont Lions Club numerous times.

“Jack really cares deeply about this town and about many things,” said Noel Abbott, who was encouraged by Williams to run for a seat on the Board of Selectmen when Abbott moved to Rowe in 2005. “The wealth of (Williams’) knowledge and experience has been an invaluable asset to this town over many years.”

Abbott spoke at the event, along with Cromack, Beverly Greenough, president of the Charlemont Lions Club, and David Sheilds, club secretary. Williams also was given a certificate from Lions International President Barry J. Palmer, in recognition of his service.

About 20 people attended.

The Charlemont Lions Club serves members in Rowe and Heath as well as Charlemont.

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at: dbroncaccio@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 277

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