Three years after his passing, I have strong, positive memories of George Kidder (1927 – 2019).
Many locals remember him as Postmaster, 1974-86, especially for playing tricks on persons collecting mail from their boxes. That was before my time.
I met George a few years ago in the morning Council on Aging walk in the Proctor Field House. He was a sociable walking partner, as was his good friend, Frank Haley, also deceased. While walking or taking a sitting break, George shared a fund of memories. Those ranged from his days as an enlisted man in Berlin to recollections of growing up in Concord.
George was a person of regular habits. One was visible to all driving past his modest home on the Franklin Highway. Many mornings he would collect the Concord Monitor from its tube, sit in his car at the end of his driveway, and read the paper, as the engine warmed. Perhaps he intended to drive across the highway to visit Frank. Three years after his death, I still have a nostalgic moment when I pass by his former home.
George loved fishing and being with people. Although he died before we could go fishing, he took me on a tour of parts of Andover that were unknown to me. As he drove, he regaled me with stories about Andover, past and present.
I remember, too, the day we accepted Donald Hall’s invitation to visit him at his home in South Danbury. George and Don were friends over many years with shared interests in the Lions and baseball. Hall and I had a University of Michigan link because he taught poetry there when I was a graduate student, and I knew a few of his colleagues in the English department. Reminiscing came easily. Possibly we were among the last guests at the home of our resident national poet laureate.
George stands out in my memory for what he contributed to Andover’s civic life. I came to appreciate George as the volunteer without equal. He enthusiastically gave his time, especially when called on to raise money. Only in his last years did he decline those invitations.
The Lions, the Fourth of July Committee, and other civic groups benefited from his good will and energy. I rank George high among the town “worthies” as he would have been known in an earlier era. The town is blessed with many successors to George’s commitment to Andover.