GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

March 14, 2014

Letter: City lost a great citizen in Bobby Peavey

To the editor:

The city lost a great resource and Lanesville lost a dear friend last weekend.

Bobby Peavey worked for our Department of Public Works for a long, long time. He knew the city from the ground up, and even more — below the ground.

I had a chance to see this first-hand a few years ago with a drainage problem in Lanesville. On major rain events, streets would flood, back yards washed out, basements flooded, and we all knew there was a major storm drain clogged — but no one knew where.

With help from Jackie Hardy and Mike Hale, Bobby was sent in with a team to ferret out the problem.

As with a lot of Gloucester, there are few or poor records from the early “creative” sewer lines installed by our forefathers. There once was a brook that ran from Day’s Pond to Lanes Cove that is now all hidden in big pipes in our backyards.

With some careful probing and crawling into drains, he found the labyrinth to be running right under a century-old willow tree. The next day, the tree was gone and the digging commenced only to find that the 4-foot diameter willow grew right out of a hand-built cobblestone connection box with the roots happily growing both north and south in the two-foot culverts.

There might be some jokes cracked about some DPW crew’s “inefficiency,” but not around here.

For two days, Bobby was in a foot of water with axes, picks, shovels, half the time on his knees, pulling out the root system that had plugged itself 15 feet deep into the pipes.

Now all beautifully restored, you can open the inspection cover and listen to the well behaved brook rushing harmlessly to the cove. Sometimes I’ll awake at night with a big torrent on my roof and thank Bobby for not having to get up and check my basement.

I’ll miss Bobby walking his beagle through my yard on the way to the cove. I’ll miss Bobby looking across my mooring to his, and the bluefish tournament will not be the same.

Living in Gloucester, we will all miss Bobby’s energy and talents as part of our city’s well being.

BUTCH ROTH

Lanesville

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