Friends, family remember Framingham icon Mary Murphy

By Scott O’Connell
Daily News Staff
Posted Jan. 3, 2015 @ 6:36 pm

FRAMINGHAM – According to those who knew her, Mary Murphy was not the type who wanted eulogies for her passing.

“She didn’t want a service – she wanted a celebration,” said the longtime Framingham resident’s daughter-in-law, Annie Murphy. “She wanted people to tell their stories to each other. And everyone has a story about Mary.”

More than a hundred people gathered at Village Hall on Saturday afternoon to fulfill Murphy’s late wishes. Proving her daughter-in-law correct, nearly anybody who was asked lit up when talking about their beloved family member, friend, neighbor or colleague, who died at age 87 on Dec. 14.

“She did so many things in life – she mentored everybody she came into contact with in some capacity,” said Elsa Hornfischer, who met Murphy while working on a town history project in the late 1990s.

A native of Dorchester, Murphy settled down in Framingham with her husband, Phillip, in 1952, and from there became inseparable from the community. She served on the local school board, was president of the town’s historical society and worked as an English professor at Framingham State University.

“She had an impact on every piece of the community,” Annie Murphy said. “She had so many causes. But she was also just a great friend. She always listened to you, would remember your children’s and grandchildren’s names.”

“She made you feel confident, the way she spoke to you,” said Jennifer Toth, who worked with Murphy years ago on the Framingham History Center’s annual house tour. “And she was incredibly smart – just the most lovely person.”

Murphy also had a passion for her political causes, and was a staunch advocate for the Democrats, serving as a presidential delegate for the party on three occasions. For Hornfischer, Murphy was a trailblazer in that respect.

“She was just a great example” of a politically involved woman, she said. “She gave us a way to live.”

For all Murphy gave to her town, she got back as well, though, said her son, Edward Murphy.

“She was such a part of the community, but at the same time, the community was a part of her,” he said.

“She loved the town so much,” added Murphy’s daughter, Marianne Wilson, who said the family buried their mother’s ashes in a private ceremony earlier on Saturday.

Ernest Greenberg, who along with his wife, Libby, were longtime neighbors of Murphy, recalled how her house strategically faced down their street – “she could always see what was going on,” he said.

“She was just a wonderful lady,” he said. “Interesting, accomplished, a delight to talk to.”

The only thing she wasn’t, apparently, was willing to be the center of attention at her own memorial service. But Edward Murphy said her mother at least allowed for Saturday’s party, after he reminded her the gesture would be important “for the people (she) cared about.”

“It was her engagement with all the people that are here (today), that’s what made it so special” for her in life, he said.

Scott O’Connell can be reached at 508-626-4449 or soconnell@wickedlocal.com. Follow him on Twitter: @ScottOConnellMW

http://framingham.wickedlocal.com/article/20150103/NEWS/150109075/-1/json#sthash.M7rOiaOt.dpuf

Framingham Today – Dennision Exhibition

The Framingham History Center has unveiled the exhibit “The Dennison Manufacturing Company 1844-1990″. Barry and Dennis sit down with director Annie Murphy, curator Dana Dauterman Ricciardi and long time Dennision employee Burt Marmer. Watch as they discuss the exhibit and the rich history of this iconic Framingham business.

Framingham: Ex-Dennison workers reminisce about days at paper products giant

Nelson Gifford, center, former chairman and chief executive officer of Dennison Manufacturing Co. receives applause from former employees and their families during the Dennison employee reunion hosted by the Framingham History Center at Village Hall on Thursday evening.  Daily News and Wicked Local Photo/Kathleen Culler.

Nelson Gifford, center, former chairman and chief executive officer of Dennison Manufacturing Co. receives applause from former employees and their families during the Dennison employee reunion hosted by the Framingham History Center at Village Hall on Thursday evening. Daily News and Wicked Local Photo/Kathleen Culler.

By Danielle Ameden
Daily News Staff
Posted Dec. 5, 2014 @ 12:01 am

FRAMINGHAM – Just like generations from many other families, Pete Allen followed his dad, Dick, to work at Dennison Manufacturing Co.

They enjoyed good jobs, great benefits and a camaraderie that was second to none.

That bond between colleagues was as strong as ever Thursday as Allen reunited with nearly 200 of his fellow “Dennisonians,” more than 20 years after the company merged with Avery International and moved out of Framingham.

Gathering in Village Hall, employees hugged, heartily shook hands and teared up as they came together to celebrate a new Dennison exhibit at the Framingham History Center.

“You look around,” Allen said as the former co-workers caught up with each other and reminisced. “It was a place to earn your livelihood but it really was kind of a family.”

Employees proudly recalled their roles in helping Dennison, one of the town’s biggest employers from 1897 to 1990, make everything from its famous tags and labels to then-cutting-edge Elephant floppy discs.

Steve Jionzo, who worked at Dennison for 38 years, sings with his wife, Joanne, who worked at the company for eight years, during the Dennison employee reunion hosted by the Framingham History Center at Village Hall on Thursday evening. The couple met in 1962.  Daily News and Wicked Local Photo/Kathleen Culler.

Steve Jionzo, who worked at Dennison for 38 years, sings with his wife, Joanne, who worked at the company for eight years, during the Dennison employee reunion hosted by the Framingham History Center at Village Hall on Thursday evening. The couple met in 1962. Daily News and Wicked Local Photo/Kathleen Culler.

“What we did in innovation, creativity, technology, was to help businesses all over the world,” Bart Marmer, Dennison’s former general manager and vice president of retail systems, told the crowd. “We helped consumers satisfy needs.”

History Center Executive Director Annie Murphy said she was thrilled by the opportunity to preserve the company’s legacy. The exhibit, now on display, showcases so many “treasures,” she said, from scrapbooks to machinery to manufactured products.

“It’s important for us to know that Dennison has returned home,” Marmer said to cheers. “We can show the world, and more important, we’re damn proud of what we did.”

All together, the employees sang a song about the company to the tune of “Harrigan,” and applauded their beloved “Giff,” former chairman and CEO Nelson Gifford.

The 84-year-old, who led the company until the merger in 1990, fondly recalled wanting to take care of his employees, including by setting up a stock plan and giving them proper pay and bonuses.

“We had a wonderful company – unbelievable – with all these employees,” he said, and they deserved the rewards. “It wasn’t me – it was them. They earned it.”

Nelson Gifford, left, former chairman and chief executive officer of Dennison, and Jerry Tardif, who worked at Dennison from 1960 to 1996, enjoy the reunion hosted by the Framingham History Center at Village Hall on Thursday evening.  Daily News and Wicked Local Photo/Kathleen Culler.

Nelson Gifford, left, former chairman and chief executive officer of Dennison, and Jerry Tardif, who worked at Dennison from 1960 to 1996, enjoy the reunion hosted by the Framingham History Center at Village Hall on Thursday evening. Daily News and Wicked Local Photo/Kathleen Culler.

Arthur Bouley, 72, came from Woonsocket, Rhode Island for the reunion, proudly thinking back on his 35½ years on the job as a printer at Dennison. He made his living creating labels on wax paper that would stick to product bottles through heat transfer.

“I look back at how lucky we were to have a good job,” Bouley said.

The reunion was emotional for Dick Fotland, 81, of Franklin.

He was especially happy to see Gifford, who lent him a lot of support during his career.

“I’m almost crying,” Fotland said.

He worked in corporate research and development for Dennison for 17 years, helping create, among other innovations, a new printing process, and said people just “love this company.”

“You would love nothing better than to work for a company like this,” said Lou D’Amaro of Medfield, former president of stationery products. “You worked hard and you played hard.”

Burt Marmer, a former executive, speaks at the reunion Thursday night.  Daily News and Wicked Local Photo/Kathleen Culler.

Burt Marmer, a former executive, speaks at the reunion Thursday night. Daily News and Wicked Local Photo/Kathleen Culler.

Sushil Bhatia, of Framingham, said he worked on several patents for Dennison, and products including a glue stick, sticky convention badges and a binding system for books.

He left the company with “extremely fond” memories and went on to open his own business, JMD Manufacturing, in Framingham and teach at Suffolk University.

Bhatia happily reconnected with Fotland Thursday, calling him “one of the brightest lights at Dennison.”

“The links we had with each other, they all come back,” he said.

Danielle Ameden can be reached at 508-626-4416 or dameden@wickedlocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @damedenMW.

http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/article/20141205/NEWS/141208007

Caroling on the Common

Saturday December 13, 12:00-3:00pm

Edgell Memorial Library 12:00-1:00pm (shopping and exhibition)

Historic Village Hall 1:00-3:00pm

2 & 3 Oak Street, Framingham Centre

caroling 2014

We are hosting our traditional family holiday celebration!  Take part in a festive shopping event after viewing our Dennison Mfg. Company: 1844-1990 exhibition at the Edgell Memorial Library.  We’ll feature discounted items in our Museum Shoppe and our new Christmas ornament!

Then join the caroling inside the Village Hall with Voices of MetroWest and enjoy delicious treats and hot chocolate.  Santa will be here, so bring your camera!

Children can also craft a keepsake frame as a special memento.

‘Dennison Mfg’ back in business at Framingham History Center

Business is booming once again in “Dennison Mfg. Company: 1844-1990,’’ a nostalgic and informative exhibit at the Framingham History Center that explores the history and impact of the “largest tag works in the world’’ through memorable artifacts and hundreds of documents.

By Chris Bergeron / Daily News Staff

Posted Nov. 16, 2014 @ 5:00 am

Updated Nov 16, 2014 at 9:44 AM

http://bcove.me/6w1fiw2f —> Click here for a video of Executive Director Annie Murphy talking about the exhibit.

FRAMINGHAM – For most of the 20th century, the Dennison Manufacturing Company powered Framingham’s economy, shaping the town’s growth and social life while pioneering business innovations that still affect how Americans live today.

Longtime townies remember the signature Dennison tags that drove a global business empire, the crinkly crepe paper with a hundred uses and the imposing Howard Street buildings where generations of relatives worked in a different community in a different era.Business is booming once again in “Dennison Mfg. Company: 1844-1990,’’ a nostalgic and informative exhibit at the Framingham History Center that explores the history and impact of the “largest tag works in the world’’ through memorable artifacts and hundreds of documents.Entering the exhibit, visitors will see the familiar red brick building rising above the railroad tracks in Woolsey Conover’s atmospheric oil painting.At its considerable best, visitors will see a multifaceted family portrait of a company and community that grew up together until circumstances sent them in different directions.FHC curator and co-organizer Dana Dauterman-Ricciardi described the exhibit “as the most ambitious in scope and the number of objects and records that we’ve staged.’’Following prior shows about Shoppers World and the Civil War, “Dennison Mfg.” continues a strong streak by FHC staff who continue to present exhibits that explore Framingham’s history through residents’ stories.Co-curator Nancy Prince, whose father was a Dennison executive, sifted through more than 100 cartons of documents, giving the exhibit both a human touch and scope by documenting the experiences of workers at all levels and the company’s far-reaching innovations.The Newton resident described her work on the show as “a labor of love in honor of my parents.’’FHC Executive Director Anne Murphy said the company mastered the then-unknown art of “branding itself before anybody else’’ by making its products essential for business and celebrating the holidays.She credited former employee Paula Boulette for convincing Avery-Dennison to donate many boxes of archived Dennison documents to FHC, while others were sent to Harvard Business School.Visitors will see – naturally – hundreds of the signature tags that revolutionized how businesses around the world labeled their products and the modest cane chair once occupied by Henry S. Dennison in the early 1900s.They will see the jewelry boxes made by Dennison in the mid-1800s in Maine before relocating in Framingham and tiny figurines fashioned from crepe paper for a company Christmas party during World War I.And they’ll see 4,000-year-old ceramic “tags’’ made in ancient Babylon likely used to catalog trade goods that an archaeologically-minded employee brought home from a far-flung vacation.

Conveying the breadth of Dennison’s 146-year history, Dauterman-Ricciardi and Prince have created a detailed timeline that covers a gallery wall as it chronicles significant events from 1844 when Andrew Dennison “made the first jewelry boxes in the U.S. on his cobbler’s bench’’ in Maine to 2006 when space in the former business at 300 Howard St. was converted into luxury condos.

Some of the notable events were:

  • 1858: E.W. Dennison made his first merchandise tags.
  • 1897: Twenty years after purchasing a factory in Roxbury, Dennison bought a vacant factory in Framingham and moved most of its operations there.
  • 1910-1916: Dennison added an employee lunchroom, rest room, kindergarten and recreational facilities.
  • Oct. 16, 1990 Dennison merged with Avery International Corp.

Visitors will see Dennison started as a family business in Brunswick, Maine, that began in 1844 making jewelry boxes and grew within 20 years to making the first “merchandise labels and making the “patch,’’ a reinforced circle so tags could be tied to products.

 After relocating to Framingham, the company was so successful at the turn of the 20th century it employed 3,000 people, or roughly a third of the town’s population, and its 16-acre site was called “the Gold Coast.’’Dauterman-Ricciardi and Prince have found artifacts from the FHC’s collection that show how Dennison products influenced residents’ lives in ways often forgotten today.In a display case, a 10 cent “Dennison Bogie Book’’ offers children suggestions about making costumes and decorations for Halloween. Above the slogan, “the show window is the mirror of the store,’’ a poster offers suggestions “How to dress a window with Dennison paper.’’On Thursday, Dec. 4, the FHC will hold a reunion of former Dennison employees and relatives at Village Hall from 6 to 9 p.m.For old-timers and newcomers alike, Murphy thinks the exhibit celebrates Framingham’s legacy of hosting a global business that “became an integral part of our town.’’“If you worked at Dennison or had relatives who worked there, you’ll be reminded of how important it was to the town,’’ she said. “For those who don’t know much about it, I think they’ll be amazed that Dennison was here and had such a global impact. That legacy hasn’t been lost.’’

WHEN: Through December 2015

WHERE: Framingham History Center, 16 Vernon St., Framingham

INFO: 508-626-9091; www.framinghamhistory.org

http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/article/20141116/LIFESTYLE/141117632/0/SEARCH/?Start=1