In 1909, under the savvy ownership of Edwin Grozier, the Boston Post engaged in its
most famous publicity stunt. The paper had several hundred ornate, gold-tipped canes
made and contacted the selectmen in New England's largest towns. The Boston Post
Canes were given to the selectmen and presented in a ceremony to the town's oldest
living man. The custom was expanded to include a community's oldest women in
1930. Many towns in New England still carry on the Boston Post cane tradition with the
original canes they were awarded in 1909. Wikipedia, The Boston Post
Alice C. Dalton
(November 16, 2014) at Genesis Healthcare of Milford after a period of declining health. She was
the beloved wife of William J. Dalton, who died in 1998. Mrs. Dalton was born in Leicester MA, the
daughter of the late John H. and the late Rose Anne (Trainor) Daly. She was a graduate of
Commerce High School in Worcester MA and also attended Becker Junior College. Mrs. Dalton was
a devoted housewife and mother for most of her adult life, and after raising her family she was first
employed at the former Cahills Store and finally at Commonwealth Gas Company, from which she
retired. Mrs. Dalton was a longtime communicant of St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Milford for
most of her adult life. During her retirement years in West Yarmouth MA, she attended St. Pius X
Church and most recently had been attending Sacred Heart Church in Hopedale, while residing in
Hopedale MA. Mrs. Dalton is survived by her 3 Children: Carol M. Tomaso and her husband Biagio
of Milford MA, William J. Dalton and his wife Judy of Georgetown TX and John C. Dalton and his wife
Colleen of Lutherville MD; 8 Grandchildren: 13 Great Grandchildren; 1 Great Great Grandchild; also
several nieces and nephews. Her funeral wil l be held Saturday (November 22nd) at 9AM from the
Edwards Memorial Funeral Home, 44 Congress Street, Milford MA followed by a Mass of Christian
Burial at 10AM in St. Mary of the Assumption Church, 19 Winter Street, Milford MA. Burial will follow in
St. Marys Cemetery in Milford MA. A visiting hour will be held Saturday morning (November 22nd)
from 8:30am to 9:30am, prior to her Funeral Mass.
Rita T. Sullivan
Nursing & Skilled Rehabilitation in Northbridge, MA after a period of declining health. She was the
beloved wife of the late John L. Sullivan, who died in 1978. Mrs. Sullivan was born in Milford MA,
the daughter of the late Luigi and the late Cecelia (Carpentieri) Paradiso. She attended Milford
public schools as a young girl. She had been employed for many years as a cafeteria worker at
the former Draper Corporation in Hopedale MA. Mrs. Sullivan was a longtime communicant of
Sacred Heart Church in Hopedale and had been very active in the church's Rosary Sodality for
many years. Upon the death of her late husband, she would spend various times of the year with
her daughter and son-in-law in various parts of the country, most recently in North Carolina. She
would donate her time serving as a volunteer for many worthy causes, including helping out
military families. Mrs. Sullivan was an incredible Red Sox fan and was the proud owner of an
autographed baseball from David Ortiz. Mrs. Sullivan is survived by her Daughter: Maureen, wife of
Gus Moran of Hayesville NC; her Son: Atty. Dennis Sullivan and his wife Joanne of Hopkinton MA;
5 Grandchildren; 5 Great Grandchildren; 2 Great Great Grandchildren; and many nieces and
nephews. Her funeral will be held Tuesday (October 7th) from the Edwards Memorial Funeral
Home, 44 Congress Street, Milford MA followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11am in Sacred
Heart Church, 187 Hopedale Street, Hopedale MA. Burial will follow in Sacred Heart Cemetery in
Milford MA. A visiting hour will be held Tuesday morning (October 7th) from 9:30am to 10:30am,
prior to her Funeral Mass. Visit www.edwardsmemorialfuneralhome.com for condolence book. In
lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Sacred Heart Church, 187 Hopedale Street,
Hopedale MA 01747.
Hopedale resident, nearly 100, receives Post Cane
By Zachary Comeau/Daily News Staff
HOPEDALE - Mar. 1, 2015 According to Doreene Nizzari, the keys to living a long life are simple:
don't drink or smoke, get plenty of exercise and have fun.
Her parents gave the Independence Day baby the nickname “firecracker” when she was born in
1915, but she concedes that she was actually born on July 3. Nizzari, who will turn 100 this
summer, received the Boston Post Cane last week at her home for being the oldest living person
The former Post newspaper began giving gold-tipped canes to selectmen in the largest New
England towns in 1909 - six years before Nizzari was born. Those canes were then given to the
town’s oldest living man, but in 1930, women became eligible to receive the cane as well.
According to Carole Mullen, Hopedale’s Council on Aging director, the town hadn’t awarded a
citizen with the cane in “a million years” before the tradition was revived in 2012. Although the cane
remains at the Hopedale Senior Center, where the ceremony was held last year, Nizzari was
presented with an official proclamation from the Statehouse, and a commemorative plaque.
Nizzari was also given a pin modeled after the cane.
Selectwoman Sandra Biagetti, reading from the proclamation, highlighted Nizzari’s life, which
includes four children, eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Nizzari credits her long life with good health, good decisions and having a busy social life.
“I was never quiet,” said the Hopedale resident of 29 years.
Nizzari was also an athlete in her younger years, competing as a dancer and swimmer.
“I loved all sports,” she said.
Nizzari becomes the third Hopedale resident to receive the cane in nearly three years. Tradition
states the cane is passed to each community's oldest living resident.
The clippings above refer to the original cane given to the town by the
Boston Post. Those below are from 2012 and after when the custom
was revived by the Hopedale Council on Aging.
There's no mention of Manda Sears
receiving the cane, although women
were eligible for it since 1930, and
she was more than a decade older
than Henry Needham.
While there's no mention of the
cane in the obituary for Mr. White, it
appears that he was eligible for it.
His death is listed in the Hopedale
town report for 1938, so he must
have still been a resident.
There's no mention found so far of Mr. Draper receiving
the cane, but according to the news article, he should
have. He was one of the "other Drapers."
Hopedale resident, 98, receives Boston Post Cane
HOPEDALE - Joe Leoncini, 98, credits his status as the town's oldest resident to being born into a family
with longevity in its genes, but those who know him credit it to his positive attitude.
An attitude that Council on Aging Director Carole Mullen says is like “sunshine from the inside that radiates
People with a positive attitude tend to live the longest, according to Mullen, which is why she is not surprised
that Leoncini is the new recipient of Hopedale’s Boston Post Cane - one of the 700 canes made by the
former Boston Post Newspaper in 1909 for selectmen in New England towns to give to the town’s oldest
Hopedale’s original cane has been “lost in someone’s attic” for many years, according to Mullen, so
Leoncini is only the fourth to receive it since 2012, when a duplicate cane was made and the tradition was
The replica cane remains in a glass box in the Council On Aging to avoid being lost again, but Leoncini did
receive a pin of the cane and several citations from officials including Hopedale selectmen, Sen. Ryan
Fattman, R-Webster, former Sen. Richard T. Moore and State Rep. John Fernandes, D-Milford, at a
Family and friends gathered to celebrate Leoncini’s life, one that Mullen says she is “jealous of,” because
“he has accomplished everything in life that really matters,” including finding the love of his life, having
children (daughter, Susan and son, Steven), fighting for his country and surviving.
In fact, Leoncini was lucky to make it to 30, let alone 98, as he was the only one in his unit in WWII to survive,
fighting in significant battles such as the Normandy Landings (D-Day) and Battle of the Bulge.
According to a proclamation read by Selectman Robert Burns “On D-Day he crossed the Chanel in a landing
ship holding twelve tanks and was hit by sporadic fire over the next few days.”
“I was happy I got out alive,” said Leoncini.
He was able to do so, according to Leoncini’s daughter-in-law, Renee Leoncini, again, because of his
“He told me every single day he’d tell himself that he’d be coming home to his wife Anita, and he did,” she
Neighbor and friend Bob Moore said he once took Leoncini to the Museum of World War II in Natick, which is
home to the tank that belonged to Leoncini’s unit and “his eyes lit up.”
For 42 years, Leoncini worked for the Draper Mill in Hopedale, where he began as a machine operator,
eventually becoming the assistant superintendent in charge of all cast-iron manufacturing.
“I was running the place,” said Leoncini.
In the early 1950s, he became one of the founding members of Hopedale Country Club, a place where he
still golfs today. It is also where he celebrates his birthday (July 20) every year, and where he plans to
celebrate several more.
Which means that Hopedale’s next recipient of the Boston Post Cane may have a while to wait. Leoncini
says he plans to live to at least 104. Milford Daily News, September 25, 2015.
Photos from the event
Was Stimpson the oldest, or "one of the oldest?"
This obit leaves the matter unclear.
Viens awarded Hopedale’s Boston Post Cane
HOPEDALE – Three days before his 99th birthday, Hopedale resident Elmer Viens symbolically received the town’s
Boston Post Cane.
“I knew I was getting to be the last one in Hopedale,” he said Thursday, during a party in his honor at the Council on
Aging. “Time flies.”
The Cane, in long-standing tradition for communities across the state, is given to the town’s oldest resident.
Board of Selectmen Chairman Louis Arcudi III presented Viens a proclamation from his board, and said he
remembered seeing the 98-year-old World War II veteran walking around town, often on either one of his many trips to
pick up books, or on one of his famous cookie mail deliveries.
“When my daughter Jessica was going to school, I sent the cookies once,” Viens said. “Then (I became) the cookie
He kept doing it for years, sending the sweet treats to his children throughout college, to his friends, and eventually to
“I’ve never seen Elmer with anything other than a smile on his face,” Council on Aging Director Carole Mullen said.
Viens has been a resident of Hopedale for 65 years, having moved to Hopedale to work at the Draper Mill after serving in
World War II as a medic. He has three children, 11 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
“I think it’s exciting,” Viens’ daughter, Jessica, said. “It’s neat to be the oldest person in town.”
Viens recommended consistent activity in order to happily reach the late 90s. He still does a lot of walking, he said, and
motion is a habit he kept from his service in the military.
“Keep moving,” he said. “Never stay still.”
The 98-year-old was a model in marital health Thursday, too. His wife of 69 years, Peg, 94, grinned by his side at the
“I’m his chauffeur,” she half-joked.
She does drive him around, the pair said. Viens still has a license, but stopped driving about three years ago.
What’s the secret to a long marriage?
“Her,” Viens said, pointing to his wife and laughing.
Boston Post Cane honorees in Hopedale don’t actually receive the Cane itself, which was on display at the Council on
Aging Thursday. Viens took home a pin instead, as well as a proclamation from selectmen, and Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018
– his birthday – was named in his honor.
His name was also added to a plaque listing the town’s Boston Post Cane awardees.
Viens takes the Cane from its previous holder, Joe Leoncini, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 101. He
picked up the cane in 2015, also at 98.
“I grew up next to him,” Council on Aging Chairman Cheryl Moreci said. “He was such an interesting and wonderful guy.”
A founding member of the Hopedale Golf Club, he played the sport until he was at least 98.
Hopedale’s bylaws require the Cane recipient to be a resident for at least 10 years. That means Viens gets the honor
instead of 100-year-old Joe Manella, who moved to the assisted living facility in town more recently.
Selectmen will honor Manella with a day of his own – today.
of Melrose, as he arrives Thursday at the Hopedale Community House Senior Center for a
presentation ceremony. Viens, who turns 99 of Sunday, worked as a draftsman at Draper
Corporation. Milford Daily News photo - Ken McGagh
was married to Margaret (Protz) Viens for 69 years. He was born in New Bedford, MA and was the middle son of the late
Henry and Hedwig (Heuberger) Viens .
He lived in New Bedford and Medway before moving to Hopedale in 1953. He was a graduate of the New Bedford
High school class of 1937.Elmer served in the Army in WWII in the 113th Evacuation Hospital Unit and participated in
various campaigns as a medic in Europe. He served in the German Occupation Army after the war and received
numerous awards for his service. Upon arriving home he graduated from the New Bedford Textile School in 1949.He
retired in 1975 from the Draper Corporation in Hopedale where he was employed as a textile engineer. He then worked
at Dennison Corporation in Framingham as an engineer for another 20 years.Opa (as he was referred to by his great-
grandchildren) was an avid card player and loved to play cribbage and pitch at the Hopedale Community Center.
He was often seen walking up Freedom Street to get a coffee at Honeydew (his favorite drink). He read the Wall
Street Journal from cover to cover daily and loved to strike up a conversation with strangers on any number of subjects.
He was an active member at Planet Fitness, although may have frequented the juice bar more than the exercise
equipment. He was recently awarded the Boston Post Cane award as the oldest resident of Hopedale.
In addition to his wife, Elmer is survived by his children, Andrew E. Viens and his wife Linda of Kalispell, MT; Jessica
M. LeMarbre of Hopedale, MA; Ann V. Peyser and her husband William Peyser of Bethesda, MD; eleven grandchildren;
and eighteen great-grandchildren.He was predeceased by his son-in-law Philip LeMarbre, a brother Henry Viens and a
sister Jeanette Wilkinson.
A funeral home service will be held Thursday, January 3, 2019 at 11 A.M. at the Consigli Ruggerio Funeral Home 46
Water St. Milford MA. The burial will follow in the Hopedale Village Cemetery in Hopedale.
Calling hours will be held prior to funeral home services from 8:30 to 10:30 A.M.