The posts on this page are from a variety of Salem blogs and the views expressed are those of the individual blog author.

June 7th, 2013

Obituary: Former Mayor Jean A. Levesque

William Levesque.

Former Salem Mayor Jean A. Levesque, 88 of Salem, died Sunday morning at the Grosvenor Park Nursing Center in Salem following a long illness. He was the husband of the late Florence T. (Lapointe) Levesque, who passed away in 1988.

Born in Lynn and raised in Salem, he was the son of the late Alfred J. and Delia (Dandurand) Levesque. A veteran of World War II, Jean joined the Army and served with the infantry in Europe and ended his tour of duty in Japan. He returned to Salem and began working in construction for the building of St. Joseph Church and the Rainbow Terrace project. Married in 1949 to his late wife Florence, he left construction to work as a supervisor for the former United Shoe Machinery Corp. of Beverly.

Jean began his political career with his election as City Councilor of Ward 5 in 1970. As President of the Council, in 1973 he was nominated, by the council to fill the seat of mayor when then Mayor Sam Zoll vacated the position following his appointment as Judge. Jean, ‘the working man’s mayor’ served as mayor from 1973 to 1983. Following his defeat as mayor, he became Vice President in charge of business development for Century Bank until his retirement. Following his retirement, he volunteered at City Hall for the Commission on Disabilities as well as for the CETA Program.

A humble, good humored gentleman, Jean loved his family, his city, his country and his church. He was able to go beyond the differences of opinions and appreciate the innate value of the individual. Throughout his varied career in the private sector and in politics, he truly appreciated those knowledgeable people around him who supported him and helped him to grow.

He is survived by two daughters, Jeannette M. Lyons and her husband William of Salem, Julianne Beaver and her husband Dale all of Salem, a brother George Levesque of Winchendon, three grandchildren, Heather Paul and her husband Jason, Kimberly Loarca and her husband Gabriel, and Mathew Beaver. He also leaves two great-grandchildren, Aubrie & Gabriel, Jr., Loarca as well as nieces and nephews. In addition to his wife, he was predeceased by his son Jean Paul Levesque, and siblings, Charles, Raymond & Peter Levesque and Jeannette Girard.

Visiting hours will be on Sunday, June 9, 2013 at the Levesque Funeral Home, 163 Lafayette St. [Rt. 114 / 1-A] Salem from 2:00 to 6:00 P.M. Relatives and friends are invited to his funeral mass in Ste. Anne Church, 290 Jefferson Ave. on Monday at 10:00 A.M. Burial will follow in Greenlawn Cemetery, Salem. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to, Salem Veterans Services Fund, 5 Broad St., Salem, MA 01970 (to support Salem Veterans). For guestbook and additional information, please visit

May 9th, 2013

Salem State Will Hold Memorial Monday for Slain Graduate Sean Collier

Officer Sean Collier.

Salem State University will hold a memorial service on Monday for Sean Collier, the 2009 graduate who was killed, authorities believe, by the Marathon bombers.

The event is set for 4:30 p.m. on Monday on the lawn next to the campus police station, according to a university release.

A large memorial for Collier was held two weeks ago at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, where he was a campus police officer. Among the thousands of attendees at that memorial were dignitaries including Vice President Joe Biden. Collier is buried at Puritan Lawn Cemetery in Peabody.

A fund has been set up at Salem State to honor Collier’s memory. To donate, the university asks persons to contact the alumni office at 978-542-7530 or

April 20th, 2013

BU Student Remembered As ‘Bright, Intelligent, Beautiful’

Lu Lingzi, third victim of Boston Marathon bombing

Lingzi Lu’s family remembers her as the “joy of [their] lives,” an ambitious young woman, full of dreams and hopes and love for her friends and family.

An outpouring of comments on various articles remembers her as an “amazing girl,” with a “beautiful smile.”

All that spirit, all that life, was cut tragically short Monday, April 15, when Lu, 23, was killed in the bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, a terrorist act that also claimed the lives of 8-year-old Martin Richard of Dorchester, and 29-year-old Krystle ­Campbell, of Medford. 

In an open letter, Lu’s family said Lu “was a bright and wonderful child.”

“We were thrilled to watch her grow into an intelligent and beautiful young woman,” the letter reads. “She was a positive role model for many others.”

It was her dream to study in the United States, according to the letter. She was realizing that dream as a graduate student at Boston University where she was studying statistics, according to her LinkedIn profile.

“She wanted to play a role in international business, specializing in applied mathematics,” the letter reads. “She has been studying very hard toward her goal. Sadly, it was not to be.”

In her short 23 years, according to the Boston Herald, Lu worked passionately to achieve her goals, pursuing academic excellence at a competitive high school in her home city of Shenyang, China, before attending the Beijing Institute of Technology on her way to BU.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Lu had already made connections with such prestigious firms as Deloitte, where she worked as a manager assistant in late 2011, and the Bank of China, where she interned in the summer of 2010.

Tasso Kaper, chairman of mathematics and statistics, told the Boston Globe that Lu was a “very smart student” and a “very bright young scientist.”

“It’s a tragic loss for us,” Kaper told the Globe, going on to explain that Lu was talkative and tightly connected to a few close friends.

“She was really the spokesman of the group,” Kaper told the Globe. “The word bubbly maybe is kind of a corny word, but, yeah, that’s what describes her.”

And she loved the city of Boston, according to her family.

“While she was here, she fell in love with Boston and its people. She loved her new friends and her professors at Boston University.” 

Her story and her life have brought thousands to a Facebook page dedicated to her memory, which had nearly 7,800 Likes as of Saturday morning.

Lu’s family is hopeful that her life can serve as an example and encouragement to others as they pursue their own dreams.

“We hope that everyone who knew Lingzi, and experienced the positive spirit and joy she had, will help carry on her spirit,” the letter reads. “We hope that everyone who has now heard about Lingzi will keep a memory of her in their hearts.”

For their part, Boston University has already taken steps to carry on Lu’s memory at the school, acting quickly to endow a memorial a scholarship in her name. 

In an article in BU Today, university trustee Kenneth Feld, who proposed the scholarship at a Wednesday meeting of the executive committee of the Campaign for BU, explained that the scholarship was “A fitting tribute and the right thing to do.”

By the time the meeting adjourned Wednesday, trustees had committed $560,000 to the fund.

“While her dream has not been realized, we want to encourage others who have Lingzi’s ambition and dreams, and want to make the world a better place, to continue moving forward,” her family says. 

Boston University has scheduled a memorial service for Lu on Monday, April 22, at 7 p.m. in the George Sherman Union Metcalf Ballroom. The service is open to the public, but seating will be first-come, first-served.

December 16th, 2010

Ayube Services Scheduled for Saturday; Wife Remembers a Selfless Man

Sgt. James A. Ayube II, 25, will be laid to rest Saturday in Salem.
He was killed in action by a suicide bomber on Dec. 8 while serving as an Army combat medic in Afghanistan.
A funeral is scheduled for Dec. 18 at 11 a.m. at St. James Ch…

December 9th, 2010

James A. Ayube Jr. Killed in Action in Afghanistan

Army Staff Sgt. James A. Ayube Jr., 25, of Salem was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan Wednesday, Veterans Agent Jean-Guy Martineau confirmed Thursday.
Ayube, a combat medic, was married.
The veterans Web site Dragoo…