DRACUT — It’s the spot where Joe Tully Jr. could often be found, enjoying his lunch and the company of residents from the Dracut Housing Authority who would stop by.
The pond behind the DHA office on Mammoth Road, where Tully served as executive director for 21 years until a massive stroke in 2006 forced his retirement a year later at the age of 53, was dedicated in his honor Sept. 19, under a cloudless, sunny sky.
More than 100 people were on hand as a stone and plaque were unveiled dedicating that tranquil waterway in his name. Tully, slim and tan, greeted well-wishers with his left hand and smiled broadly, saying only “Thank you. This is nice.”
State Sen. Sue Tucker told the crowd that when she first ran for office in 1998, she was told she had to meet Joe Tully Jr. if she expected to do well in Dracut.
“He was kind. He was warm, and, I’ll say it, he was cute,” Tucker said. “What impressed me the most was that he knew every resident’s name. Joe, you remembered them and now this town remembers you.”
Longtime friend Bob Cox, a Dracut selectman, said as a member of the Housing Subcommittee, he witnessed Tully’s dedication firsthand.
“He paid attention to the details that dealt with the quality of life for the seniors who live here,” Cox said. “And he loves this pond. What a fitting tribute this is and thanks go out to whoever came up with the idea.”
Before the stone and plaque were unveiled, Town Manager Dennis Piendak said the dedication was a reflection of the great work Tully did during his 21 years at the helm.
“I don’t know if anyone told you, but when you dedicate a building, you cut a ribbon,” Piendak said. “When you dedicate a pond, it’s similar to a Greek baptism; full immersion.”