An Appreciation: John McCulloch

The flag on Bedford Common, flying at half-staff to honor John McCulloch's service to Bedford as a Selectman, a member of the Finance Committee - Image (c) Bob Bass, 2016 all rights reseved
The flag on Bedford Common, flying at half-staff to honor John McCulloch’s service to Bedford as a Selectman and a member of the Finance Committee – Image (c) Bob Bass, 2016 all rights reseved

By John Gibbons and Elizabeth Hacala

John McCulloch, on a trip to Greece - Courtesy image (c) all rights reserved
John McCulloch, on a trip to Greece – Courtesy image (c) all rights reserved

Long-time Bedford resident John McCulloch died gently on Friday, April 22, following a brief hospitalization, and starting on Friday afternoon, Bedford’s flags flew at half-staff in honor of his service to the Town.

As a three-term Selectman and a member of both the Finance and the Capital Expenditures Committees, John served the Town of Bedford for many years.

He also served as a member and chair of the Parish Committee at First Parish; he was active on the Democratic Town Committee and was the long-serving Treasurer of Bedford’s League of Women Voters. He once ran for State Representative.

Town Manager Richard Reed said, “John served as a Selectmen for 9 years from 1985 through 1994 and prior to that was a member of the Finance Committee.  He clearly demonstrated excellent citizenship and a concern for the well-being of all Bedford residents through his service to our local government. He always was concerned with keeping the Town’s expenses in check; at the same time, he worked hard to give all a voice.  Having been one of the Selectmen who first appointed me in 1988, I will always be appreciative of the personal help John gave my family in getting settled here.”

Betsey Anderson, Bedford’s recently-retired Town Moderator added, “John McCulloch was a colleague, a person devoted to public service and the Town of Bedford, and most of all, a dear friend.  We served together on the Finance Committee for about seven years and in 1985 both ran for and were elected to the Board of Selectmen.  We reminisced just recently about the night that we were elected.  Unlike today with our voting machines, counting ballots took much longer then and we didn’t know until about 10 PM that we had both won our respective races.  John was a dedicated Selectman, always listening and asking questions, and making thoughtful decisions that he felt were in the best interest of the citizens of the Town of Bedford.  Following his years as Selectman, he returned to the Finance Committee and continued to serve there for several more years.  I am honored to have served the Town with John and to count him as a friend.  He will be greatly missed.”

Current Town Moderator Catherine Cordes noted, “John was a good friend, a mentor and a thoughtful, caring politician. He believed in public service that served the common good. He was a gentle person who made his point firmly but without any offense to someone with a different point of view. He was a model for me and for all who wanted to be in public life in an authentic way. I will miss his counsel and his friendship.”

And State Rep Ken Gordon (D-Bedford) concluded, “John was one of those people who really cared about Bedford. He worked hard to make our community a better place and because of his contribution, we are all better off for it.”

Always informed and engaged, John was worldly and convivial; skeptical and seeking; kind and caring; a good listener who chose his words carefully and was listened to. He was a gentle man and a gentleman, who captured the hearts of babies and dogs wherever he went. His interests were vast: history, theology, politics, and most especially, his own family of whom he was infinitely proud. John and Meredith traveled far and wide, often regaling companions with stories and photos of their adventures.  They spent their time at home with their countless friends and extended family. John and his wife Meredith have been residents of Bedford since 1968, members of the First Parish in Bedford since 1971, and the couple raised four children in in town. John worked at Instrumentation Laboratories, then headquartered in Lexington, for twenty-five years; later he contracted as a database manager at the Wetlands Division of the EPA.

John McCulloch is survived by his wife Meredith McCulloch, their four children Elizabeth, George, Edward, and Anne, their spouses, and six grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister Isabella Shahin.

A memorial service at First Parish in Bedford Unitarian Universalist is being planned for 3 pm on Sunday, May 15.

Should you wish to make a donation to honor John’s memory, the family suggests two organizations

  • American Civil Liberties Union:  ACLU  accepts online memorial donations,  donations by telephone 1-888-567-ACLU, or by sending a check to ACLU Membership Department, 125 Broad Street, 18th floor, New York, NY 10004.  In general, donations are not tax-exempt.
  • First Parish in Bedford, 75 The Great Road, Bedford, MA 01730.  Checks should say “McCulloch Memorial” on the memo line.  First Parish is a tax-exempt non-profit organization.
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