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Town mourns death of first selectman

By Fran Gonzalez | Nov 10, 2020
Photo by: Carolyn Zachary Morrill Town Office.

Morrill — Residents and town officials who knew Tom Flacke, the longtime Morrill first selectman who died Nov. 1 from complications associated with COVID-19, are mourning his death and remembering his years of service.

The Republican Journal spoke with Town Clerk Melinda “Mindy” Rowlands Nov. 7, who was visibly upset, said the loss was “overwhelming,” and could not comment on Flacke's death.

“I’m going to miss him,” said Second Selectman Randy Place. “He had been in town a long time, since I was in my early teens.”

Both Place and Flacke came to be on the Board of Selectmen around 10 years ago. “He was a good guy — a big guy (in stature), and he enjoyed doing the job as a selectman,” Place said.

He always had a good relationship with other town officials, Place recalled.

Flacke was a good leader and mentor, Place said. “He used to take me fishing when I was 12 or 13 years old,” he said. “We would put a canoe in and go brook fishing.”

He looked intimidating because of his size, “but once you got to know him, he was harmless,” Place said. “He was a good guy.”

Flacke, 77, leaves a son, a daughter and a spouse, according to Place. “We were different ages and I didn’t get to know them (Flacke's children) that well.”

All the selectmen, Place said, shared the responsibility of being town road commissioner. “Gary (Third Selectman Gary Sheldon) and I did most of the running around,” Place said, adding that Flacke was limited after some health issues, including a hip replacement.

Working together, selectmen tackled all kinds of municipal issues and according to Place, Flacke had experience in many things. “He was good at just about everything,” he said. “We never got stumped as a crew. There was nothing all three of us couldn’t handle."

Flacke was admitted to the hospital the last week in October after having flu-like symptoms.

The Morrill Town Office had closed Oct. 15 for two weeks after an employee tested positive for the virus. According to Rowlands, the person infected was hospitalized for a time, but later recovered.

Everyone at the Town Office initially tested negative after exposure to COVID-19, Rowlands said, and they all quarantined for the full two weeks in case symptoms later developed.

A town Facebook post read, "We are all heartbroken over the loss of this wonderful man and are grieving for his family, friends, and for ourselves. Tom's years of service to this community was a gift from which the town has greatly benefited. He will be missed."

“I’m going to miss him,” Place said. “He was a good friend and a good person to work with.”

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