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John's Story

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GLOUCESTER: John A.S. McGlennon passed away peacefully at home in Gloucester, Mass., on December 17, 2015, surrounded by his loving wife and three daughters. John was born on August 10, l935, and grew up in Newton and Salem, Mass., where he attended local schools and spent summers on the water there, and in Southport, Maine, acquiring a lifelong love of the outdoors and fishing. After boarding at Trinity College School in Ontario, Canada, the original home of his family, he graduated from Bowdoin College, Class of l957. After active duty in the Army Corps of the U.S. Army, serving as a lieutenant in a tank training battalion, he worked at Aetna Insurance Company, for several years. In l959, he married the love of his life, Mary Jane Bullard. Starting in l962, John held staff positions with the Republican State Committee and was Appointment Secretary to Governor John Volpe. In l966, he was elected as the Massachusetts State Representative from the Concord/Carlisle district. During his four years in the Legislature, he authorized several of the Commonwealth’s first environmental laws and initiated Article 49 of the state’s constitution, the Conservation Bill of Rights, which assures every citizen the right to a clean environment. After a close, but unsuccessful, run for the U. S. Congress in l970, John was appointed as the first New England Regional Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), newly-created by President Richard Nixon. In six years as Regional Administrator, John organized and led the first comprehensive clean up and protection of New England’s natural resources, including efforts to restore Boston Harbor and New England’s major rivers. After the EPA, John founded and built a successful environmental consulting company, ERM-McGlennon Associates, which became a leader in solving New England’s environmental problems, particularly in the area of hazardous waste and Superfund sites, where he often served as a mediator among conflicting parties. He also helped to found the New England Environmental Business Council, where he served as President.

John and his family had moved from Concord to Gloucester, Mass., in l986. After retirement in l997, he continued to be active in public affairs for the remainder of his life, serving on the Board of Directors of the Chewonki Foundation in Maine, the Gloucester Conservation Commission, and the Board of Governors and Treasurer of the Annisquam Yacht Club. Most recently, he served as a founding Board Member and Treasurer of Maritime Gloucester. A collector of maritime art, John served as a member of the Collections Committee of the Cape Ann Museum.

John’s great passions were his family, fishing, and protecting the environment. He was able to pursue all three for many years in Gloucester and at his winter house on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. Whether hauling his lobster traps with a grandchild or fishing the Bahamas flats with family and friends, John was happiest in the natural world he loved and helped to preserve. He will be remembered as a true leader of the first generation of Americans to respond to the enormous challenge of protecting our planet.

John is survived by his wife of 56 years, Mary Jane; by a sister, Caroline Stride of Gloucester; and predeceased by his brother, Richard Darroch McGlennon; and step-brothers, Joseph Parker and Albert Parker. He is also survived by his three daughters, Jane Remsen of Gloucester, Lindsay McGlennon of Raleigh, N.C., and Holly Treat of Durham, Conn.; by sons-in-law, Bill Remsen and Matt Treat; and future son-in-law, Craig Lowdermilk; by grandchildren, Sara, Allie, and Peter Remsen, Eliza Mariotti Buckman, and Britton Wheeless, and Amelia and Andrew Treat; and by great-grandchildren, Liam and Lila Buckman.

A service will be held on Monday, January 4, at 1 p.m., at Trinity Congregational Church on 70 Middle Street in Gloucester, MA. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made in John’s memory to Maritime Gloucester, 23 Harbor Loop, and/or Cape Ann Museum on 27 Pleasant Street, both in Gloucester, MA 01930. For online condolences and register book, please visit www.pikenewhall.com.
Gloucester Times
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