Hampton Beach Dedicates Bench to Diana and Arthur LaMontagne
Ex-selectman, Husband Were Longtime Town Supporters
By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union, Tuesday, June 14, 2011
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON -- The Hampton Beach Beautification Committee recently unveiled a granite bench with a memorial plaque in memory of former precinct commissioner and selectwoman Diana LaMontagne and her husband Arthur.
While a blue spruce tree has already been planted in the couple's honor in the south end of the State Park, the beautification committee and friends of LaMontagne added a four-foot granite memorial bench on Memorial Day. Diana died last year at the age of 84 and her husband Arthur died in 2002 at the age of 77.
The LaMontagnes built the Blue Jay Motel at Hampton Beach, which they operated for 34 years before passing the business on to their daughter, Mary.
"The LaMontagnes have always been a strong supporter and advocate for Hampton Beach," said Linda Gebhart, a member of the Hampton Beach Beautification Committee. "They lived a life of service to our community and were wonderful role models. We wanted to do something to honor that."
Arthur LaMontagne built the Blue Jay Motel in 1950 and served as a call fireman for the Hampton Beach Fire Department for 25 years.
Diana LaMontagne served as a precinct commissioner until she was elected as a selectwoman in 1978. She worked to bring the interests of the town and beach together.
Over the years, she volunteered her time to many groups, including the Beach Women's Club and Stephen Ministries, an organization that assisted Hampton's senior citizens and those who were battling illness.
"She loved the community and would do anything she could to help," Gebhart said. "Even when she was frail and not going out, she still kept active by watching all the board meetings. She wanted to be involved and wanted to know what was going on."
The bench was donated by Edmund St. Pierre, who refurbished it from recycled granite curbing. A resident on M Street provided the tree, which was replanted last year. Gebhart said the blue spruce was chosen because Diana loved Christmas trees.
Mary LaMontagne, Diana's daughter, said the bench was a fitting tribute.
At the unveiling, Mary shared with the group how her mother used to live on White's Island, Maine until her family cottage was swept out to sea in the Great Flood of 1929.
"My mother and her three siblings had to be rescued by the Coast Guard," Mary LaMontagne said. "After that, my grandmother decided to no longer have oceanfront property. It's a fitting tribute that the bench is at the state park. It's like mom's life has come full circle."
Mary LaMontagne was so touched by the committee's efforts she presented the group with a check for $400 to help with its beautification endeavors.