|Sally Rich, 1941 – 2019, Town of Hawley Selectman|
|In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene (August 2011), Sarah “Sally” Rich stands in front of a Town Truck with other officials and participants in Hawley’s response. Left to Right: Richard “Dick” Desmarais; Sally Rich; Lisa Turner; Richie Gould; Darwin Clark; Hussain Hamdan.|
It is with great regret that I inform you that Hawley Selectman Sarah J. “Sally” Rich (formerly Sarah Jones), passed away surrounded by her family a little after eight o’clock in the evening on Tuesday, March the 26, 2019, at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. She was 77 years old.
She was presently also serving on the Hawlemont Regional School Committee and the Hawley Conservation Commission. As many people in Hawley know, she was also my grandmother and one of my best friends.
Sally was Hawley’s first and, thus far, only woman to sit on the Select Board, serving on and off from the 1980s and being elected to her current term in May of 2018. She left the Board in the ’90s for health reasons, but when her health improved and the Town needed her she answered the call and came back. She liked to be called by the traditional title “Selectman”; not “Selectwoman,” “Selectperson,” or “Select Board Member.”
Over the course of her service to Hawley, she filled a number of local and regional roles, including Polls Constable, Town Clerk (briefly, having been written in without her knowledge), representative to the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, and member of the Mohawk Municipal Advisory Committee. She also played a role coordinating the response in West Hawley to Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.
Beyond her public service and political activism, Sally was also a loving mother, grandmother, wife, and friend. She was loved by many and respected by all, even those with whom she had disagreements from time to time. Sally exemplified selfless service. She also exemplified the virtues of decency, sincerity, integrity, kindness, civility, moderation, and honor. Not many people could set an example more deserving to be followed.
Sally will be sorely missed by all of us. She cannot be replaced, but what we can do is to continue moving forward and pick up where she left off. Having known her for 27 of those 77 great years, I know without a doubt that is what she would have wanted.
As a side note, Sally was fully aware and mentally competent while at the hospital before she passed away. As a result of this, I had the opportunity to communicate many messages of love, prayers, and support from her friends and members of this community. She really appreciated it. To those of you who reached out and asked me to convey your thoughts and prayers to her, THANK YOU!!! Your messages got through and were heard loud and clear.
Sally did not want an elaborate funeral or fanfare. She told me so many times. What we are going to do is to have a celebration of her life. The celebration will occur at Hawlemont School on Friday, June 14th, 2019 from 1:00 to 5:00 PM. It will be an outdoor event, weather permitting.
In lieu of flowers, our family would recommend that you donate to the Hawley Volunteer Fire Department or the Charlemont Ambulance Association. Sally always had great respect for the emergency services, supported them however she could, and was grateful to have been assisted by them more that once in her own times of need.
God bless Sally Rich. She is with us and we are with her.
Hussain A. Hamdan
Chairman of the Hawley Board of Selectmen