Remembering Carl Kusch and Founders Day

In loving memory of Carl Kusch

Carl J. Kusch passed away Monday, March 1, 2010, following many years of dedicated public service and community volunteer activities that included 30 years as chairman of the Foxborough Historical Commission and 18 years as Veterans Agent for the town. He was the husband of the late Elizabeth Randall Kusch.

The son of the late Estelle and Daily Kusch, he was born in Saugus Sept. 29, 1925. He came to Foxboro 55 years ago while serving in the United States Navy Submarine Corps, attaining the rank of Torpedoman’s Mate Second Class. He was the recipient of the American Area Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal and the Occupation Service Medal. Following his military service, he became a member of the Lawrence W. Foster Post 93, American Legion in Foxboro, serving in a variety of positions including that of Commander and heading up many projects for veterans, their families and the community.

Immediately following the war, he worked for the former Foxboro Coal and Oil Co. on Wall Street before joining the United States Postal Service. He would rise to the position of Postmaster, one of the first two individuals appointed nationally under the new merit system. He retired in 1980 but not before he was ceremoniously “tarred and feathered” as the ranking federal official in town during the town’s Bicentennial celebration of 1978.

He was a member of the Bicentennial Committee and the longest serving member of the Founder’s Day Committee, which he created and chaired for many years while helping to plan the annual parade and activities at Booth Field.

A long list of town positions included serving on the Municipal Parking Committee, Zoning Notice Committee, Council for Human Services, the Post Office Relocation Committee, Criminal Justice Citizens Advisory Committee and the Historic District Study Committee.

Many hours were spent providing services to veterans and their families as well as helping to arrange volunteer drivers under the FISH program for individuals needing transportation to medical appointments. Through his activities on behalf of veterans, he was instrumental in moving the town’s World War I monument from the traffic island opposite Memorial Hall to its present location on the Common, and the erection of memorials for those who served in Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Granada, Panama and the Persian Gulf.

An opportunity that meant a great deal to him was to participate in hosting volunteers in the Wreaths Across America as they made a stopover at Gillette Stadium on their journey from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery to place Christmas wreaths on the thousands of graves located there.

The Boy Scouts of America honored Carl in 2009 with a Good Scout award in recognition of his many years of assisting local Scouts with their Eagle Projects in the community. He was also recognized by his colleagues on the Foxborough Historical Commission for his work on the Paine School project, moving the remaining original one-room school houses to a new location behind Town Hall and for his years as Chairman of the Commission when he stepped down in 2009 and was named Chairman Emeritus.

Carl’s passing is a great loss to Foxboro, but his memory and good works live on. May he rest in peace.


Carl Kusch gets his own New England Patriots jersey from team owner Robert Kraft at Founders day in 2004. (File photo)
Carl Kusch gets his own New England Patriots jersey from team owner Robert Kraft at Founders day in 2004. (File photo)

“I got to know Carl around 1987. I was involved with the Foxborough Historical Society. At that time, the soldier atop Memorial Hall and the lantern above the front door had both been refurbished. The Historical Society wanted to make note of the accomplishments and met with the Historical Commission to propose a program to thank those involved. Historical Society President Ruth Nowlan, Karen Mordaunt and I met with the Historical Commission to plan the event. Carl was the Chairman of the Historical Commission.

The day of the ceremony came and I parked my car at Town Hall and walked to Memorial Hall cutting through the bank parking lot and trudging up the incline at the rear of Memorial Hall. When I came around the building, I was astonished at the number of people waiting for the ceremony. Carl and Jack Authelet were beaming. It was quite apparent that the townspeople were eager to celebrate “Foxborough.”

With the success of the rededication ceremony, the Historical Society and the Historical Commission met again and decided to plan a “Founders Day” for the next year. Carl became the Chairman of the Founders Day Committee.

With each year, Founders Day grew bigger and better under the leadership of Carl. Whatever had to be done, he would do it. If he could not do it himself, he always found someone who could. He added people to the Committee whose expertise was needed … and they stayed for years. He was VERY persuasive!

It was a good Committee. We worked hard but we had a lot of fun and that was all due to Carl. He appreciated everyone’s effort and always gave credit to the entire Committee for the success of Founders Day. He was a humble, hard-working, self-effacing, dedicated man and a real gentleman. That was the secret of his success.

Carl Kusch embodied the spirit of community. It was a pleasure to work with him and an honor to be his friend.”

—Ginny Coppola


It goes without saying that Carl Kusch will be surely missed here in town. I personally will miss the little things he used to do, mostly behind the scenes, as well as his sense of humor.

How many flags did he personally place on veterans graves over the years?

How many New England Patriots night lights did he create and donate to causes around town, always stating it was donated anonymously?

How many Memorial Hall soldier statues did Carl make to give out as prizes for the Founders Day Parade Float Competition?

One great memory of Carl took place during a rainy Founders Day. Even though Carl had always reminded us that it never rains on Founders Day this one particular year, the weather fooled even Carl. I had volunteered to chair the Foxboro Jaycees Float. We worked hard on the float and dealt with heavy rains for a few weeks.

The parade had to be postponed because of the weather, and because of the date change I was unable to secure the horses to pull the float. Instead we had a pick up truck pull it. During the field activities it was announced that the Jaycees had won the most creative in the “small” float category.

Several weeks later Carl jabbed at me saying, it was the first time in all his memory that the Jaycees hadn’t won the “large” float category — something about the chair of the project “not giving their all.”

I gave it right back to him, as he always expected, we joked back and forth asking if he was getting too old to make the soldier awards or do they only go to the “large” float winners. (We had received a nice wall plaque, nicely engraved, but not home made.)

Well, a couple weeks after our conversation, he called me over to my neighbor’s house and presented me with the ultimate award. It was one of his Memorial Hall soldier casts on a plaque. It read: Lynda Walsh Foxboro’s Finest Founders Day Float Designer/Builder.

He gave a little speech, ad-libbing as he went on and on. We all laughed at his standup comic skit. Now, looking at that plaque on my wall will always remind me of what a character Carl was.

That’s just one of the many memories of Carl I will keep forever.

—Lynda Walsh


The final roll call

Unlike Gen. Douglas McArthur’s proverbial old soldier, Carl Kusch, who died early Monday morning at age 84, will never fade away. At least not here in Foxboro, among those who best knew and respected him. The indelible mark he leaves on this community is far too broad for that.

Kusch wore many hats in Foxboro – all of them comfortably; postmaster and long-time veteran’s agent; past commander of American Legion Post #93 and Historical Commission chairman; key player on the Bicentennial Committee back in 1978 and its successor, the Founders Day planning committee. He also was instrumental in relocating the one-room Paine Schoolhouse behind Town Hall to serve as a living museum of sorts.

Some people are talkers by nature. Still others are dreamers. Carl Kusch was a “doer,” plain and simple. He displayed a hands-on approach when tackling projects, establishing goals and planning logistics, but always shouldering more than his share of the workload. He also had a low tolerance for grandstanding or personal agendas, and was more than willing to puncture hyper-inflated egos – especially those on the town payroll.

But arguably Kusch’s most poignant, and important, role involved a somber springtime ritual. Every year at the town’s Memorial Day observances Kusch, who until recently served as perennial master of ceremonies, would solemnly recite the “Roll Call of the Dead” – a list of local veterans who had died over the past 12 months and the conflict in which they had served. Followed by familiar notes of “Taps” and an honor guard salute, this eloquent statement remained the emotional focus of Foxboro’s small-town ceremonies – one that he approached with a prideful mix of resolve and resignation.

Over the past decade, in particular, that solemn duty became much more personal, and difficult. The final roll call not only grew in length with each passing year, as growing numbers of the so-called Greatest Generation passed from the scene, it also swelled with the names of personal acquaintances, friends and colleagues. That this was the natural consequence of a life well lived offered little solace. But the one-time submariner soldiered on, his familiar presence always lending an eloquent dignity befitting the occasion, and enriching the experience for all those within earshot.

Now his name will be added to that hallowed list. And on May 31, when townspeople gather at the foot of the Common to reaffirm a long-standing commitment to the memory of those who served their country, here’s hoping that all pause to let the words linger in the still morning air – and in that moment remember just how much this Saugus native enriched the fabric of life here for more than a half-century.

In dedicating the military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pa. on Nov. 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln famously observed: “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.” The same could be said of Carl Kusch. He was a doer, and the mark he leaves will never fade away.

—Foxboro Reporter Editorial


COMMUNITY VISION — Carl Kusch stands on top of the Reservoir overlooking the site to which the Paine School would be moved, the Town Hall from which he served veterans for so many years, and the community where he was involved in a wide range of volunteer activities. This image was taken by, and used with the permission of, Kristin Hovey, who writes, “This photo is particularly special to me as only Carl and I were on top of the Reservoir on Powder House Hill and it is the last photo I took of him. This photo is my tribute to Carl and all the volunteer work he did for our town. I spent nine years on the Historical Commission with him and I miss him dearly.”


Founders Day, Carl Kusch forever linked

Town historian Jack Authelet talks about the late Carl Kusch during Saturday’s dedication ceremonies with Cub Scouts, from left, Josh Maynard, James Krauss and Liam Sweeney. SEE THREE FULL PAGES OF FOUNDERS DAY PHOTOS IN THIS WEEK’S REPORTER. (Photo by Bill Stedman)

By Bill Stedman {used with his permission on the Founders Day web site}
Published: Thursday, June 14, 2012 9:55 AM EDT

Founders Day 2012, which drew big crowds to the parade, field day and fireworks thanks to near-perfect weather, started with a small, simple ceremony behind Town Hall honoring the late Carl Kusch.

But for those who attended, it was what Town Historian and featured speaker Jack Authelet called a “reaffirmation” of what Founders Day is all about.

“We have so much to celebrate today, and much of it is right here this morning,” Authelet said.

The occassion was the official dedication of a stone marker and plaque honoring Foxboro’s former longtime veterans agent and member of the Founders Day committee. It is placed at the foot of a flagpole outside the restored Paine School, which Kusch had a hand in saving.

The flagpole was placed in front of the school two years ago as a service project by members of Boy Scout Troop 7 and dedicated on Founders Day with members of Kusch’s family in attendance.

The memorial marker, created by Morse & Beggs and unveiled Saturday, was the culmination of a service project by members of Cub Scout Pack 70, led by James Krauss, Josh Maynard and Liam Sweeney, as well as Troop 162.

“This marker represents the very first public service project from some of the youngest people in town — Cub Scouts!” Authelet told the gathering. “This is what Foxboro is all about — a sense of community.”

Authelet said about the marker that these Cub Scouts could come back to the Paine School many years from now “and show their children what daddy did.”

He also pointed out that the marker will make many aware of what Carl Kusch did for the town.

“It is appropriate here, behind Town Hall, with which Carl is forever linked,” Authelet said of the many civic endeavors in which Kusch was involved. “Now, strangers will be coming by and see a name and be curious.”

Authelet spoke of Kusch as “many, many things to many people,” but said he was, first and foremost, a veteran.

“Carl served with distinction, but after the war he did all he could for veterans,” he said. “He took every opportunity to rise to the occassion to do something for our veterans,” and their family members.

Kusch’s daughter and her family members, including two of Kusch’s great-grandchildren, attended the dedication, along with members of the board of selectmen and Scouts. It was filmed for Foxboro Cable Access by volunteer Paul Godin, who was a driving force with Kusch to save the historic, one-room school building.

Scout leader Bob Hickey served as master of ceremonies, as he did two years ago when his troop dedicated the flagpole and raised a 13-star flag in honor of the year the Paine School opened in Foxboro. That flag was brought out for the Pledge of Allegiance.

“Founders Day is the perfect day to finish this project,” Hickey said as he acknowledged Godin and spoke of Kusch’s role in bringing Founders Day into being.

Authelet, noting that all in attendance had to move on to take part in the parade and other activities, ended by tying the ceremony and Founders Day together.

“This is a day of celebration,” he said. “Let us go out and celebrate — proud of the history of the town and as a reafirmation of our faith in the future of the town.”

(Visited 652 times, 1 visits today!)