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The grand old lady of Westport politics

By   /   October 19, 2012  /   Be the first to comment

To the editor:

Mention the name Ann Chandanais in Westport and you will get an immediate reaction … a smile followed by vigorous comment. Ann brought out the best in all of us when it came to politics. Even though she has also been referred to as “Mrs. Democrat,” Ann was respected, even admired, by members of the Grand Old Party in Westport.

I knew Ann years before I became Westport town administrator in 2002. I fondly recall one incident when I was the town administrator, reminiscent of many, that occurred regularly at Town Hall Board of Selectmen meetings. The subject was recruiting Westport citizens to volunteer their talents in promoting Westport. I was expounding on the great success of the Fall River Regional Task Force, chaired by now-Westport citizen Joe Feitelberg in promoting Fall River advancement in diverse areas such as economic development, government, and education.  

A familiar voice came from the audience: “Mr. Gonyon, we don’t care what they do in Fall River!” Some laughter from others was heard. I looked over to see the smiling face of Ann. Following the meeting, I could not help but give her a hug. I admired her so. At other meetings, some of Ann’s spontaneous outbursts also got mixed reaction. Sometimes more laughter, sometimes choked groans of “ouch!” as Ann’s biting comments landed on an issue or person. Ann held nothing back.

When I left the position of town administrator in 2004, one of the people I said farewell to with a lunch at White’s of Westport was Ann. I was supremely honored by her presence. We kept in contact over the years since.

Ann, in life we encounter people such as yourself who enrich our lives. You are that kind of person. May God bless you with eternal reward as you now rest in peace.

Capt. Daryl Gonyon, USAF-Ret.

Fall River.

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