July 13, 2004



Homecoming senior royals chosen


NEWBURYPORT -- A local historian from Newbury and an active advocate for seniors from Newburyport will be crowned the 2004 Yankee Homecoming Senior King and Queen this summer.

Richard Cunningham, a lifelong resident of Newbury, and Newburyport native Fran Munroe were picked for the annual honor based on their long-standing involvement and commitment to the local area.

Cunningham is a historian in the genealogy rooms at the Newburyport and Newbury public libraries. He has taught an adult education program on local history at the Newburyport library as well.

He has volunteered his time to work on the Intergenerational Banner Quilt Program with third-graders at Newbury Elementary School as well as at local libraries.

Cunningham also leads Tuesday morning historical walks in Newbury. He is a longtime member and officer of the Quascacunquen Grange of Byfield. He is also instrumental in the First Friday's Men's Breakfast at the Council on Aging in Newbury, which he routinely helps out with every month.

Munroe, meanwhile, was appointed to the Newburyport Council on Aging board in 1999, and immediately took on the role of special events director. She has directed her talents to the table decorations and treats that accent the monthly birthday parties and holiday events at the senior center. She has served as chairman of the Council on Aging board since 2002.

In an effort to expand the services and programs available through the Council on Aging, Munroe offered to teach a rug braiding class, attracting several residents to one of her most creative and challenging pastimes. She has also volunteered her time to help judge the annual Baby Contest at Country Manor Nursing Home during Yankee Homecoming.

As a charter member of the Newburyport SALT (Seniors And Law Enforcement Together), she works with representatives of law enforcement agencies to design and deliver programs that will enhance the safety and security of senior citizens in Newburyport. She has helped seniors acquire new photo identification cards and complete Yellow Dot forms for driving safety. She has also helped to raise necessary funds for the "R.U. OK" program and participated in a mock trial to educate elders about scam artists.

Munroe regularly lends her enthusiasm and energy to fund-raising dinners to benefit a future senior center in Newburyport and can be found peeling potatoes, setting tables and preparing raffle prizes.

Her involvement with local events is a lifelong trait. Over the years, she has volunteered her time on behalf of her children, her church and the community.

Cunningham and Munroe will be crowned at the Yankee Homecoming Senior Celebration on Wednesday, Aug. 4, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Merrimack Place, 85 Storey Ave. (Route 113). The Senior Celebration Committee includes Chairman George Cashman and Vice Chairmen Shirley Lattime and Linda Fonseca, as well as all past kings and queens.

Tickets for the Senior Celebration, which includes dinner and music, are $5 and are available at the Newburyport and Newbury councils on aging as well as at Merrimack Place.


(This article replicated online with permission of the Newburyport Daily News, an Eagle Tribune Newspaper.)

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