Everett O. Rockwell

WESTFORD:  Everett O. Rockwell, 95, (1923-2018) passed away on July 15th.  No-one who met him will be surprised to hear that Everett managed to get fired from his first job. The fix was in to let a school board member’s son play ball with failing grades – just tell the teacher to pass the boy. But Everett just couldn’t do it. No contract renewal either. All children were equally special to him.

It was Everett’s joy and privilege to spend his career as an elementary school principal in Tuftonboro, Amherst and Wolfeboro, New Hampshire; with a grand wrap-up in Granville, Massachusetts. He was a hands-on kind of principal, which put a lot of the administrative paperwork on his secretary. This gave him the luxury to spend most of his time with the kids – not always popular with superintendents, or school boards, but it always seemed to work for the students.

It also seemed that the school year just wasn’t long enough because many summers were spent directing summer camps or running bus trips. Those bus trips were the stuff of legends. Mim and Everett packed the gear, loaded a couple dozen 10-16-year olds with a couple chaperones and set off on a cross country trip through the national parks and wonders of America – or maybe ten weeks to Alaska. A generation of Granvillites share a priceless heritage.

Everett was born in Boston, and raised in Oakland, Maine with 7 sisters and brothers in the Baptist Church parsonage. In 1943, he enlisted in the Army Air Force and was based in Bury St. Edmunds, England. His father was stationed in France as a chaplain. He found out that a plane was flying from England to a landing strip near his dad, so with the help of the flight crew, Everett went AWOL to visit for a couple days and then returned to his base with no one the wiser.

Everett returned to Colby College after the war to finish his education under the GI bill. After being refused readmission based on his prior poor record, he convinced the dean to accept him, simply saying that two and a half years in England had made him a different man. He was, and he graduated in ’48, married his childhood sweetheart, Miriam Tobin, and began his career.

Everett worked as an educator for 36 years, but he taught his entire life. Half of his career was spent in Granville, MA. Upon his retirement, the town shut down Main Street for a parade in his honor. Sixty people lovingly created a quilt commemorating his activities in town. Mim and Everett moved to Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, and Betmar Village in Zephyrhills, Florida. They shared more than twenty years of active retirement and travel.

In addition to his children: Becky Bent and Toby, his grandchildren: Samantha and Chris Bent, and his brother Paul; Everett has left innumerable kids of all ages enriched.

AA Milne’s donkey, Eeyore, helped encourage millions of kids to live in the moment; our EOR did the same, up close and personal, for thousands.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Everett O. and Miriam T. Rockwell Scholarship Fund, Granville-Tolland Dollars for Scholars, PO Box 214, Granville, MA 01034. Alternatively, honor Everett by taking a young one for a walk in the woods and explore the mysteries of this wonderful world.

A service was held Friday, July 20, 2018 at Bridges in Westford, MA, Everett’s home for the last 5 years.

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