Jeff and Lynne Stone

Jeff and Lynne Stone -- Volunteers

Jeff and Lynne StoneVolunteering, offering your services, your time, and your expertise to help others, is frequently suggested as a way for retired people to keep busy, and to give back to their communities. But volunteering is for everyone. Towns couldn’t function without them, people of all kinds and ages, doing all kinds of things, including serving on committees.

Jeff and Lynne Stone are two of those people. For Lynne, it’s been everything from helping plant 4,000 spring bulbs this past fall, being a Friend of the Library, or on a medical mission to Jamaica.  Jeff assists the Conservation Commission, has looked out for trees significant to the community, taught rock climbing in Massachusetts and software in Peterborough.

“It keeps me active, learning new things,” Jeff said. “The intent is to be useful.”

“I like meeting people I might not otherwise meet,” Lynne said. “Doing something useful, like assisting at the food pantry.” Lynne grew up in Ohio and holds a degree in nursing from Ohio State University. She fell in love with New England, she said, when she moved to Cambridge, Mass., with her first husband.

“I went back to school in the mid-90s to be a nurse practitioner.” She has worked at Monadnock Community Hospital and is now happily retired. Jeff grew up in Newton, Mass., and studied engineering at Boston University.

“I was a science teacher in the Peace Corps in Malawi,” he said.  As a software engineer, he said he held “two honest jobs, first working for other people,” then became a consultant, “my own boss.” He is also retired.

They have been together since 2005, Lynne said, “but we’ve known each other since 1968. He was ‘Uncle Jeff’ to my two sons.”

Jeff and Lynne's houseLynne has lived on Tremont Street for about 50 years, in a house with its own colorful history. It was built in the late 19th century as a town barn and converted about 1916 to an Episcopal Chapel, the “Church of the Transfiguration.” For many years it was “The Little Red School House,” the town’s early version of special education before the federal mandate. Helen Witty was the beloved teacher.

Lynne is currently a Trustee of the Wilton Library and serves on the Design Committee for Main Street Association, and previously volunteered with the Wilton-Lyndeborough Ambulance Service. Until COVID changed everything, she assisted at the Open Cupboard Food Pantry. She is one of the Main Street volunteers who planted and maintains the plantings on Main St., and assists with the annual Luminaria lighting.

 “All those things, I’ve been doing them for years.” Some of her most satisfying stints were working in the Peterborough-Jamaica two-week medical missions. “They were wonderful, amazing people,” she said. “How they live, in what we might call abject poverty. They were so generous, happy, and so thankful for what we could do for them.”

Jeff is currently a member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment and, until a few years ago, a member of the Conservation Commission and still volunteers with them. For 8 or more years he was the Dam Monitor at the Frog Pond until that position was changed by the town to an employee job because of liability concerns. The Significant Trees Committee grew out of a desire to preserve special trees and included listing all of the memorial trees around the town, at the school, the library, and in Whiting Park. It still exists, but is “in remission,” he said.

Jeff worked with the maker-space, MAxT, in Peterborough, teaching software classes using single board computers. For years, he was with the Appalachian Mountain Club teaching rock-climbing in Massachusetts. He has rock-climbed on Mount Monadnock, in New York state, the Wind River Range in Wyoming, and in Joshua Tree National Monument.

“Volunteering and working here in town is a way to get along comfortably with all the people, the old timers and the newcomers like me,” he said.

For Lynne, a long-time resident, it is a way to get to know people better.

But Wilton is home. “I’m here and I’m going to stay,” Jeff said. “When I leave, it will be feet first.”

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