The good natured joke in the front office at AE/MS used to be that the
school should put Cherry Fenton on the payroll. This fond memory comes from
Gail Parenteau, former Administrative Assistant, as she related other
memories about the woman she knew as someone who was completely dedicated to
her family. “Her family was her love. She took care of them … they came first.”
Jane (Cherry) Howard Fenton passed away on June 22, leaving behind a large
family of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and her husband Paul
Fenton Jr. She will be missed by those who knew and loved her. Gail said
that “she was a real nice person. Always had something nice to say about
people. She had the greatest laugh and smile – it lit up the place.”
During Cherry’s numerous trips to AE/MS over the years to bring some needed
or forgotten item to one of the children, she would stop by the office to
chat. She was there so often that Gail started telling former principal Jane
Slayton that they should hire her.
According to Gail, Cherry took time for herself in the mornings to sometimes
go to the gym at Colby-Sawyer College. Then, the afternoons were spent
ferrying kids here and there, baking, and caring for her family in general.
“She was very generous with her time with the kids.” She also took the time
to drive her dear friend Josephine (Jo) Crisp, a former employer when Cherry
worked at the Andover Preschool, to AE/MS for volunteer work.
Jane Slayton, the recently retired principal of AE/MS also had a lot to say
about Cherry: “Paul and Cherry Fenton were some of the first people I met when I started
working at Andover Elementary/Middle School 24 years ago. They went
out of their way to make me feel welcome!
“Cherry was a frequent visitor to AE/MS, first when her grandchildren attended and more recently with her great-grandchildren there. She always had a humorous remark to make.
Those of us in the office always found it entertaining. I really enjoyed
Cherry’s sense of humor! We looked forward to Cherry’s visits. Sometimes the
visits were more often, depending on whether her great-grandchildren forgot
something at home or she was picking them up for an appointment.
“Cherry and Paul were always in attendance for Grandparent Thanksgiving, concerts, and
any events involving the children. The love and pride Cherry had for her
grandchildren were always evident.
“Also, I always admired the longstanding
friendship between Cherry and Jo Crisp. Cherry was dedicated to Jo. Everyone
should be lucky enough to have a friendship like that. Cherry will be missed.”
On the career side of her life, her husband Paul Fenton, Jr. explained that
while she worked for Stephen Winship at The New England Guide, a travel
magazine, her main role was to do the exacting “paste up” work to lay out
pages in preparation for printing. She retired from there in 1975.
Later, Cherry was a key part in helping to publish The Andover Beacon when it
was first created in 1991 by Paul Fenton Jr. and a group of other people,
including Irene Jewett and Paul Fopiano, among others. She did
all the paste up work for the articles and ads, plus doing the graphic
design work on the ads. She did this for 12 years, until the newspaper
stopped its first round of publication in 2003.
Jane Slayton summed it up when she wrote, “She was a fun person and a
dedicated grandmother.” And Gail Parenteau stated that it will take a long
time for Cherry’s family and friends to get used to losing their mother,
grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend.