Mary Ann Abuisi displays an image of the bronze plaque that will be added to the statue 'Read to Me.'
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The late Judith Ann "Jody" LaFortune Gottwald will be remembered for her love of books, reading and libraries.
The city native was memorialized on Thursday with the unveiling of a bronze statue of two children reading a book set by the East Main Street entrance of the North Adams Public Library where she began her long career as a librarian.
The bronze was a gift from Mary Ann LaFortune Abuisi, who remembered how she and her sister would walk from their East Main home to the library on a regular basis.
"She walked to this library almost every day from the time that she was 4, and continued to be so interested in reading that she ended up becoming a librarian, she was so inspired," the former city clerk said.
Her desire, will read an accompanying plaque, was "to inspire everyone, young or old, to enjoy the adventures, imagination and knowledge books can provide."
Gottwald, who died on March 2 at age 77, so impressed the staff at the library with her voracious reading habits that became a page there in high school. She went on to earn a master's degree and work as a librarian at colleges in Maryland and Indiana, finishing her career at the University of Indiana at South Bend after 22 years.
"It was a long, significant career but she always remembered North Adams, she started here when she worked as a youngster in the library," said her husband, Richard, in thanking Abuisi and the city for the memorial.
Abuisi said previously she had been considering how to give something back the city and thought the bronze the right fit. It now sits near the memorial paver to the sisters' parents, Leeward and Ozelina LaFortune.
Also attending the unveiling were here daughters Katrina Gottwald of South Bend, Jennifer Gottwald of Gaithersburg, Md. and Melissa Gottwald of China Valley, Ariz., a couple grandchildren and her great-grandchild Tobias Carrillo.
"North Adams has always been an important part of our family," said Jennifer Gottwald. We would come out here twice a year usually when we were kids, so we always knew the library and how this is where mom started.
"So to have a memorial here feels really special, and tp have the opportunity to all come out as a family and see it and share it with the next generation is awesome."
The unveiling was followed by a tea party in the library's formal rooms with several dozen members of the community, friends and family, and local officials.
Abuisi thanked those who helped make the memorial happen, particularly retired Library Director Mindy Hackner who "kicked it off" in sending it to the mayor.
"It's clear from what you've told me and from what we read in the story of Jodi's life, how much this library meant to her how much reading meant to her, and how much it inspired her her life and her career," said Mayor Thomas Bernard. "And what's also clear is that she never forgot North Adams and with this gift, North Adams will never forget her."
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to email@example.com.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Drury High School graduates will be getting their diplomas via a car parade on June 11 but school officials confirmed there will be a celebration later this summer.
Several other schools are holding their graduations or a celebration after July 19, the date set by the state Department of Education to allow for outside ceremonies that abide by health guidelines because of COVID-19.
Last week's announcement of a car parade led to grumbling over the weekend from parents and students who had also expected a delayed graduation ceremony.
Principal Timothy Callahan said he and class adviser Christopher Caproni had met with the class officers to assure them that an outside graduation continues to be in the plans.
The governor noted that people had been demonstrating outside the State House last week over their frustration with the slow pace of the reopening, and that several protests had been going on peacefully all day Sunday.
click for more