J.D. Colcord and Chan Perkins left big marks on their communities
Two more who will be missed
Happy New Year! With 2020 upon us, it promises to be an interesting year. As it begins, it is good to reflect on the thousands of talented people who work in our state every day, to make it the great place it is. These citizens are smart, determined, friendly, successful and often anonymous.
Two such people, who worked for the good of the state, left us late last year, both from the same part of New Hampshire. J.D. Colcord of Warner and Chandler M. Perkins of New London will be missed, but their accomplishments remain.
Dudley Colcord was born in Sunapee in 1935, went to school there, worked on Lake Sunapee and was a standout student. He went to UNH, met his wife, was in Air Force ROTC, and began a career in the Air Force upon graduation and commissioning, and served in various locations in the U.S., Vietnam and Germany, retiring as a full colonel.
Upon retirement from the Air Force, Colcord returned to New Hampshire, and the town of Warner was fortunate he and his wife chose to locate there. They established a farm where they raised horses and bred dogs. He also dove head-first into town affairs, becoming a selectman, eventually chairing that board for 13 years and getting involved in renovations to town facilities, building a sidewalk to connect the town’s center and supporting the school system, as Warner evolved from a small, rural community to a sort of “suburb” of New London and Concord.
Colcord also served in the New Hampshire House, although he reportedly was frustrated by its systems and size and gave that up after two terms. He turned instead to county government. He was appointed to an open position on the Merrimack County Commission, and then was reelected for a total of three terms.
Unlike legislators, the county commissioners are the executive branch of county government, and that gave him the opportunity to help develop the facilities of the county, including a new county jail in Boscawen and the new Merrimack County Nursing Home, an excellent facility that many said would not have been constructed without the leadership and diligence of Col. Colcord.
He also served on the board of New London Hospital during a pivotal time in its history, when it affiliated with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. His cool, wise counsel was a key element in assuring the survival of the local hospital.
Chandler Perkins, who died in late December, grew up in Newport and was a star athlete at Towle High School. From there, he went to UNH, where he received a degree in engineering. He met and married Deborah Lamson of New London, whose father ran the New London Agency, a real estate and insurance business, which Chan Perkins joined and took over upon the retirement of his father-in-law, Seth Lamson.
Perkins built the agency into a major real estate business that is now run by his daughters Pam Perkins and Stephanie Wheeler in New London. The insurance arm of the business is run by his son Todd.
He was a dedicated and creative real estate professional who took on the task of serving clients’ needs and was as disappointed as they if a deal they wanted did not take place.
In one such situation, involving my wife and me, when a property we were attempting to buy did not work out, he suggested an alternative opportunity, which resulted in our building a house in New London, which we enjoyed for over 25 years. There are thousands of other testimonials to his ability to solve business problems.
A humble and unassuming man, Chan was friendly and wise. He participated in many local civic activities, was on the board of local banks, treasurer of the local Outing Club and a founding director of the Pleasant Lake Protective Association, among his many activities.
This is the first column in years without Sharron McCarthy as publisher of this newspaper. Her frequent comments and encouragement have been appreciated over her years at the helm. Her new job as CEO of Girls Inc. is an important one, and she has this writer’s thanks and good wishes both for what she has done before, and for what she is going to contribute in the future.
Brad Cook, a shareholder in the Manchester law firm of Sheehan Phinney Bass & Green, heads its government relations and estate planning groups. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.