Gloucester Daily Times
---- — The Gloucester Rotary Club has named David Babson and Richard Wilson as Paul Harris Fellows, the prestigious award named after the Chicago lawyer who founded Rotary in 1905.
Babson was selected by a club committee of previous recipients of the award, while Wilson was chosen by members of the Interact Club, the very active group of Junior Rotarians at Gloucester High School.
Babson and Wilson will be honored at a dinner Wednesday at Cruiseport Gloucester, 6 Rowe Square, Gloucester. A social hour begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m.
A practicing lawyer in Gloucester since 1974, Babson has been actively involved in the professional and civic life of the community for the past 40 years. After graduating from the Boston University School of Law, he was an associate of David Harrison from 1974 to 1977 and then entered into partnership with James Bagshaw for the next 20 years. For the past 15 years, he has practiced on his own, dealing primarily in estates, wills, trusts, real estate, and corporations.
Babson has a long record of service to Gloucester, having worked on the boards of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, the Horribles Parade Committee, the Cape Ann Symphony, the Annisquam Village Church, and Mount Adnah Cemetery. He has been a long-time member of the Gloucester Rotary Club, serving as president in 1981 to 1982. Babson is the president of Babson Historical Association, a board member of the Gloucester Development Team, and an incorporator of the Cape Ann Savings Bank.
Babson lives in Annisquam with Val, his wife of 41 years. They have three children, David, Amanda and Warren; and three grandchildren, Kavika, Antonie and Winston.
Richard “Dick” Wilson is in his second life as a well-known community activist. Shortly after his graduation, cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts in 1963, Wilson entered the world of insurance and financial planning in Boston with the New England Mutual Life Insurance Agency, which he led for 34 years until his retirement in 1996.
During his working years, Wilson served on the Gloucester School Committee for 14 years. In appreciation of his contributions, the city named a Little League field after him — a fitting tribute for a former baseball star, who pitched in Gloucester’s first Little League game in 1952 and later played two years of professional baseball in Canada. Wilson also is a former board member of Wellspring and the Cape Ann Housing Opportunity, and in 1986 helped the Pine Street Inn to convert abandoned elementary schools into housing for homeless Bostonians.
In recent years, Wilson reemerged on the civic involvement scene in dramatic fashion. Concerned over cuts to the Gloucester High School Athletic Department’s budget and the consequent rise in costs paid by kids on sports teams, Wilson founded the Gloucester Fishermen Athletic Association in 2008. As a result of aggressive fund-raising programs, the association has been able to ease pressure on the school’s sports budget and to make participation fees more affordable for Gloucester families.
Wilson’s crowning civic achievement came in 2009, when he created the vision for the renewal of Newell Stadium, which had fallen into a state of disrepair close to condemnation. Starting with an ambitious fundraising campaign to raise several million dollars, Wilson orchestrated a series of private-public partnerships that led to the 2012 ground-breaking and scheduled completion later this year.
Wilson lives in Gloucester with Barbara, his wife of 52 years. The couple have five sons and 12 grandchildren.
Tickets to the Paul Harris Distinguished Service Award dinner are $47 per person and may be reserved by contacting event Chairman Steve Kaity at 978-978-1051.
The dinner is open to the general public, and friends and colleagues of Babson and Wilson are encouraged to attend.
If you go What and who: Paul Harris Distinguished Service Award dinner honoring David Babson and Richard Wilson. When: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 29. Where: Cruiseport Gloucester, 6 Rowe Square, Gloucester. How much: $47 per person; tickets may be reserved by contacting Steve Kaity at 978-978-1051