Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


July 5, 2012

Dalton column: Early supermarket owner made firm impression

James E. Greeley was quite a man. The front page of the April 4, 1946 Andover Townsman has a full-page picture of him wearing a butcher's apron and boater and sawing a piece of meat. I never met him, he was a little before my memory, but Mr. Greeley was well-known, well-respected and well-liked. In the picture he is 76 years old and there's a caption under it that says, "a firm hand - a firm mind." The occasion for the picture was his retirement; he was leaving the largest independent retail grocery business in the Merrimack Valley, a business he started from scratch 30 years earlier.

Inside the Townsman is a full-page story devoted to "Jim" Greeley, as he was known to his friends, and a half page editorial. With the full-page story is a second picture of Greeley, a formal one with him wearing a dark suit and nice tie; his mustache is neat, as is his carefully-barbered, combed-back hair. He looks like the successful businessman he was. There is such a dichotomy between the two Greeley pictures that it looks like two different men. He was so well-known the Townsman didn't feel the need to put his name under either picture, and the stories in the paper are such good ones that, more than 60 years later, I can't help admiring and liking Mr. Greeley.

Betty Boudreau sent me this Townsman, because her husband, Ted Boudreau, as a young boy, did odd jobs for Mr. Greeley, and, when older, Ted delivered groceries for him. (Mr. Boudreau became a teacher, coach, and mentor to thousands of Andover's youth, and two columns about him can be found at my website, At his funeral, I gave one of the eulogies for this beloved man.)

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