John and Marie Linz were in Pennsylvania for a family reunion this past August when their daughter called from California.
The Bedford couple listened anxiously through the Bluetooth connection in their car as Lisa Duncan insisted on conferencing in her sisters, Christine Macomber of North Carolina and Laura Boquist of Pennsylvania, so they could all discuss an important matter.
It was then that John Linz learned he had been selected as the 2017-18 Bedford Citizen of the Year.
“I managed to keep the car on the road, although I slowed down quite a bit,” he said. “It was somewhat shocking, but also a very nice moment to have everyone in my family involved.”
Linz moved to Bedford for a systems engineer position in Raytheon’s Missile Systems Division in 1969. While attending Town Meeting, he became so impressed with his fellow residents’ involvement that he resolved to find a match for his own skills and interests.
After eight years on the Finance Committee, he embarked on a 25-year tenure on the Board of Assessors. A member of the Historic Preservation Commission for the last three years, Linz is also on the board of the Friends of the Job Lane House, for which he photographs summer programs offered through the Recreation Department.
Aside from town government, Linz is a longtime member of St. Michael Parish, where he is a frequent committee member, in charge of scheduling the altar servers and his fellow Eucharistic ministers, and the unofficial IT consultant. He retired from Raytheon in 2005.
Over the course of four decades of public service, Linz has witnessed the computerization and substantial evolution of local government. In fact, he plans to pay tribute to others with whom he has worked in his speech at the public reception in his honor on Friday, Oct. 6, at 7:30 p.m. at Old Town Hall, 16 South Road in Bedford.
Additional Citizen of the Year honors include riding in the lead car in the Bedford Day parade on Sept. 23, and lighting the Christmas tree on Bedford Town Common.
“I didn’t expect to [volunteer] this long,” he said. “It has been challenging, but also very rewarding because everyone else is so talented and invested in the town. Neither my wife nor I had a reason to move anyplace else.”Cindy Cantrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.