Remembering Alderman Paul J. Spencer

paul-spencerThe City of Melrose mourns the loss of former Alderman and Cemetery Commissioner Paul J. Spencer. Alderman Spencer took great pride in his family’s rich history in Melrose. His service spanned four decades, including 17 years on the Board of Aldermen. He first came to the board in 1972 when his predecessor, James Milano, became Mayor. After serving two terms, he left the Board and returned in 1990.

In addition to his role in local government, PJ, as he was known to his friends, served in the Air Force during the Korean War and later was a contract administrator for Raytheon.

“I am saddened by the passing of PJ Spencer, a colleague and a friend who spent decades serving the city,” said Board of Aldermen President Donald Conn. “He was a true Melrose original who will be missed.”

Alderman Spencer epitomized the term “Ward Alderman.” He was a fierce advocate for his Ward 7, which is a beautiful ward, rich in natural resources, with tough geography and in many ways separated from the lower, more populated lands of Melrose. He made sure that the interests of its residents were always well represented and was instrumental in preserving its beautiful natural resources, from Swains Pond and Towner’s Pond to Mount Hood. PJ Spencer and his dear friend (and former Ward 7 Alderman) Ken Foss worked hard to ensure that the people of Melrose would be able to enjoy these green spaces to this day.

When I became mayor, one of my first crises was dealing with the problem of water pressure in Ward 7. At the time, the pump station in the area was functioning poorly, meaning that not only were residents plagued by low water pressure but firefighters had difficulty putting out fires. It was through Paul’s advocacy that a new pump station was built and an aggressive infrastructure project was implemented to ensure fire protection and water pressure in every neighborhood in Ward 7. Paul was incredibly supportive of me during my early years as mayor, as someone who knew the city far better than I.

Indeed, very few people in Melrose did not know Paul Spencer. He was quick with a joke and a smile and was engaged in local issues almost till the end. He will indeed be missed.

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