The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 20, 2006


Memorial will honor Vivian Chaput

It has been almost two years since Carlisle lost one of its best (Mosquito, March 12, 2004, p. 1). Since the day when Selectman Vivian Chaput died in an auto accident in Hollywood, Florida, many of her friends and colleagues have worked to honor her life through a fitting memorial. Now plans are well underway to create just such a tribute to Chaput, who gave so much to this town.
Vivian Chaput (Photo by Rik Pierce)

Spearheaded by Pat Loring of Duxbury, a friend of the Chaputs, and Jay Luby and Marjie Findlay of the Carlisle Conservation Foundation (CCF), the Vivian Chaput Memorial is taking shape. The memorial site will be on the Conant Land adjacent to Town Hall, on a rocky slope near the trailhead.

Nationally known sculptor Joe Wheelwright has been retained to create a memorial comprised of boulders, both natural and carved, and beautiful woodland views. Two large boulders from the area have been moved to Wheelwright's studio in Dorchester for his unique and subtle carving. (To see a sample of Wheelwright's work, go to In the spring, the carved and natural boulders will be assembled into an outdoor memorial that will be a place for quiet contemplation, appreciation of Carlisle's natural beauty, occasional programs, and celebrating Chaput's life.

A Carlisle resident for 30 years, Chaput tirelessly advocated for the town's goals — land preservation, open space initiatives, passage of the Community Preservation Act, development of pathways — among many others. She served on the Planning Board for 17 years, was elected to the Board of Selectmen in 1996 (her third term would have expired in 2005), and she was appointed to countless committees. Her care and concern extended to all Carlisleans —the children, their parents and the elderly. Just before her death, she was actively involved in CCF's plan for the town to acquire Benfield Parcel A for conservation, recreation and housing. On July 3, 2004, at Old Home Day ceremonies, Chaput was awarded a posthumous Honored Citizen Award.

Carlisle Conservation Fund

In the aftermath of Vivian Chaput's death, her husband Ron suggested that her friends contribute to the CCF in lieu of floral tributes. A substantial amount of money — $18,000 — was ultimately raised, and Ron Chaput was interested in "something permanent" as a memorial. Marjie Findlay said, "The CCF was honored to receive these funds, and we began to collaborate with Vivian's friends and family to memorialize Vivian in a tangible way." It was CCF member Scott Simpson who suggested contacting Wheelwright, whose work he knew from the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln. With the involvement of Wheelwright, the memorial project took flight, and Marjie Findlay, Ron Chaput (who was also a CCF member), Jay Luby, Pat Loring and Deb Belanger collaborated to make certain it would reach a successful conclusion. This collaboration represents the best part of Carlisle, said Findlay.

Loring and Findlay both praised the extraordinary efforts of DPW Superintendent Gary Davis and his crew in moving rocks and boulders at the site. Their involvement will be crucial this spring when the rocks and boulders are permanently placed.

The proposed memorial touches every part of Vivian Chaput. Its natural setting celebrates the environment that she loved and worked hard to preserve; its location at Town Hall commemorates her volunteerism and long service to the town; and the boulders are especially appropriate. Findlay said, "Vivian loved big boulders and there are several around her house." According to Loring, one of the rocks at the site is moon-shaped, and "one of Vivian's interests was the moon. And she was very much a rock person."

Now dedicated friends of Vivian Chaput — Deb Belanger, Pat Loring, Ann Kirk and Bette Rose — are raising the balance of the funds needed to complete the memorial project, approximately $10,000. Their goal is to dedicate the memorial at Old Home Day this summer. Those interested in contributing to the project can send a check to the Vivian Chaput Memorial Fund, c/o Larry Barton, Finance Director, Carlisle Town Hall, 66 Westford Street, Carlisle, MA. 01741.

2006 The Carlisle Mosquito