Honoring A Town 'Jewel'
By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union, Tuesday, March 27, 2007
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
[Photo by Patrick Cronin]
HAMPTON -- Arleen Andreozzi never imagined 24 years ago that when she walked into the town clerk's office at the old Town Hall to register her car that she was going to walk out with a job.
"I asked her if she wanted to be deputy town clerk," former town clerk Jane Kelley recalled. "She said OK.' So I asked what her qualifications were and she told me she was a nurse. I said oh good, because we can use a nurse around here."
Kelley, along with many others, came out to honor Andreozzi at her retirement party Saturday night at the Inn of Hampton. She is officially retired after serving the town first as deputy clerk and then town clerk for the last 12 years.
Former town moderator Col. Paul Lessard, one of the first speakers of the night, called Andreozzi the "jewel of Hampton." He talked about his experience working with Andreozzi during the town and state elections.
"Arleen, I mean this from the bottom of my heart, I've seen a lot of Marines work hard, hard, hard in my 38 years in the Corps," Lessard said. "But nobody worked harder, was loyal and dedicated as you were to the town of Hampton. So I salute you."
Her accomplishments as a town clerk included working with the state to revise voting procedures, managing a multimillion dollar office and topping the ticket in every election she ever ran in.
Andreozzi's daughter Christine O'Keefe said not only was she a great town clerk but also a great mother.
"I don't know all her plans for retirement, but here are a few things she's not going to do," O'Keefe said. "She won't be losing her keys to the town clerk's office. She won't be able to test 17 desserts at the Seafood Festival in the name of volunteering. And she won't be speeding down Winnacunnet Road anymore. OK, she will, but she won't be getting off on the speeding ticket anymore."
Her other daughter Jennifer Clark said the only reason why her mother felt comfortable retiring is because she knew Deputy Town Clerk Jane Cypher could take over her job.
Cypher thanked Andreozzi for everything she has done from training her to helping her win the election to take over her former position.
"I think I can speak on behalf of our staff at the town clerk's office that you have been absolutely wonderful to work with," Cypher said. "I know you didn't want a big to-do over your retirement, but I think, your family thinks and everyone who knows you thinks you deserve this gathering and more."
Cypher said the "girls" are going to miss her accent and her famous quotes that she would say on a daily basis.
"When we would make a mistake and would bring it to her attention, Arleen would always say "Did anyone die from it? If not, no big deal.""
Andreozzi said she was humbled by everyone who came out and the nice words that were said.
"I'm just overwhelmed by everyone coming out," Andreozzi said. "I know you are probably looking for something profound to come out, but it's just not coming out right now."
And while Andreozzi is retiring as town clerk, she is not retiring from politics. She was elected supervisor of the checklist at the March election.
Andreozzi said her first official "act" of retirement is going on a European cruise with her husband, Joe.
O'Keefe said her mother will also be working on her photography hobby, as well as taking courses at the University of New Hampshire.
"We also hope mom will spend some time baby-sitting our children," O'Keefe said. "I know my mother is up for the challenge of retirement. She is a cancer survivor, just recovered from double knee surgery. She lost weight and her hair is blond again. She is not retiring, she's rebuilding."