Wednesday June 12, 2013

BELLOWS FALLS -- The 108th Annual Bellows Falls Alumni Association Weekend will be a family affair for the Potters.

Malcolm and Diane Potter have been selected as this year's grand marshals for the festive occasion and will cruise through Sunday's alumni parade in a convertible directly in front of the alumni association president -- their son, Jeff.

The three-day weekend celebration will begin Friday and conclude Sunday. The elder Potters were chosen as grand marshals due to their commitment to serving the area. The alumni president, a one-year term, gets to pick the grand marshal(s).

"I chose them because, if you're from Bellows Falls and if you know them, then you know they're probably the most giving people in town, both personally and in their business," Jeff Potter said, adding that the criteria for the honorary positions is to be community-minded people who go the extra mile to help out.

The Potters are most known for owning and operating the Fenton & Hennessey Funeral Home in Westminster. Malcolm, a graduate of the Bellows Falls High School Class of 1963, has worked there for nearly 50 years and has owned the business for 27. He said he is a humble man but didn't want to disappoint his son by declining the privilege to be a grand marshal.

"It came as a little bit of a shock," he said in a telephone interview.


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"I think it's quite an honor."

Diane grew up across the river in New Hampshire and moved to Vermont after marrying Malcolm. She, like her husband, said it was a shock to be named grand marshal.

"This is my opinion -- my husband is more than deserving of this than myself," she said Monday. "He does so much for so many people just don't realize. He's very quiet, very compassionate."

Jeff Potter, Bellows Falls Union High School Class of 1989, said longtime alumni association treasurer Gail Brandon was last year posthumously named the grand marshal after years of declining the offer.

The parade will begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday at the Morgan's Field area. There will be a collection for the scholarship fund conducted throughout the parade route. The annual business meeting will be at the newly renovated Bellows Falls Middle School at 4 p.m., following the alumni parade. Awards will be presented for class attendance, long distance, floats and bands.

As part of Alumni Weekend, dances will be held Friday from 8 p.m. to midnight at the Bellows Falls Waypoint Center with music by Intercept at the American Legion with Peter Golec providing disc jockey services. Dues of $8 and a $5 cover charge are necessary for admittance to the dances (which are strictly for alumni). People can pay their dues and cover charges online with PayPal. More information can be found at www.bellowsfallsalumni.org.

Tickets can be purchased at the Dari Joy the night of the dance from noon to 8 p.m.

Class reunions will be held at various locations. The 50-year class reunion will be held at the Saxtons River Inn.

The 2013 Bellows Falls Alumni Association Queen will be named in The Square at 12:30 p.m. shortly before Sunday's parade. The nominees are Jessica Tatro, Corina Stack, Enny Mustapha, Lauren Rowell and Ashley Palmisano.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.