Bob Curley named 2024 Hinghamite of the Year: ‘I absolutely love Hingham’

June 25, 2024 By Carol Britton Meyer (photos by Joshua Ross) 

Longtime Hingham resident and longstanding town government volunteer Bob Curley said he was “bowled over” when he learned he had been named 2024 Hinghamite of the Year by the Hingham Anchor.

Imagine his surprise when he pulled into his driveway last week following an appointment to find his grandchildren on the front lawn hiding behind a colorful banner.

Photo provided by Beth Summers.

When Curley took a closer look, the banner  — provided by the Hingham Anchor — was congratulating him for being chosen Hinghamite of the Year. “Everyone in my family had kept the news a total secret [including my grandchildren].  It was then that my wife, Kathy, told me I had been selected.”

Curley was nominated by his daughter and son-in-law Meg and Tom Nash, Julie Strehle, Dave Anderson, Mary Power, Maryann O’Connell, Melissa Tully, and Donna Smallwood.

The nomination was submitted by Meg Nash, along with his other daughters — Elizabeth Summers and Christine Skiadas — and Kathy.

All of his grandchildren — Zoe, Lena, Claire, Eleanor, Cooper, Lily, and Suzie – are very proud of their grandfather.

In submitting the nomination to the Hingham Anchor, Meg shared: “If you were to ask him what he is most proud of, we would like to humbly think that his first answer would be his daughters, grandchildren, and his 52-year marriage, but we are confident that his devotion to his community and participation in civic life would rank as a close second. The common characteristic that has supported each point of pride is his unwavering commitment to the principle of kindness.”

Boy Scout/AFS volunteer
After Bob and Kathy moved to Hingham in 1976, his then-next-door neighbor Jay Jenkins got him involved with his first volunteer activities in his new community as the Boy Scout Troop 52 “Citizenship in the World” merit badge counselor — even though he had three daughters! — and with the American Field Service program at Hingham High School.

Over the past 15 years, Curley has served on numerous town boards and committees, including the Historical Commission, the Advisory Committee, representing the commission on the Community Preservation Committee, and most recently, the Personnel Board.

‘I encourage more citizens to volunteer’
When asked what he thinks makes Hingham special, volunteerism tops the list. “I see this designation of Hinghamite of the Year as a tribute to all of Hingham’s volunteers, both in terms of town government and private organizations,” Curley said. “I encourage more [citizens] to volunteer.”

Former Selectman Bruce Rabuffo encouraged him to become involved in town government when they served together on the St. Paul Parish Council. His first volunteer assignment in that capacity was on the Historical Commission, which “helps preserve the historical fabric of our town,” Curley said.

In terms of the town’s history, “a lot of people may not realize that Hingham was the site of the second armed conflict of the Revolutionary War — The Battle of Grape Island,” which is commemorated every year.

“The Historical Commission — which I was delighted to serve on —  renders quite a service to the town in terms of helping people with their renovation projects,” Curley said. “I think that the suggestions the commission makes invariably make for better projects.”

Bob Curley, 2024 Hinghamite of the Year, wearing his beloved Hingham Fourth of July “Parade Hat”

Preserving the downtown’s ‘historical campus’
While serving on the Advisory Committee, Curley was involved in the town’s acquisition of the historic Benjamin Lincoln House in cooperation with the Historical Society (tours are available) and also served as the committee’s project manager for the restoration of Old Derby in downtown Hingham — which evolved into the Hingham Heritage Museum & Visitor Center, where the Historical Society is headquartered. Both projects were partially funded by Community Preservation Act funds.

“These two projects are real coups for the town in terms of preserving the downtown Hingham historical campus,” he said, along with the town’s acquisition of the water company.

Other notable CPA projects were the acquisition of the Accord Brook property to help protect the town’s drinking water supply and for passive recreation purposes and also the Lehner property on South Pleasant Street  to protect it from development and preserve it as conservation land.

“Use of the town’s CPA funds has improved our community in so many ways — big and small — from restoration of gravestones from the Revolutionary and Civil wars to preservation of the GAR Hall and the former Tree & Park Barn, ” he said.

‘Town Meeting is the heart and soul of our community’
As a regular attendee at Town Meeting, Curley took an interest in serving on the Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations on all the warrant articles after much due diligence. He encourages all citizens to attend because doing so “is so important in terms of the town’s self-government. Town Meeting is the heart and soul of the community.”

Bob Curley addresses Town Meeting in May 2021. 

As a member of the committee, “you get to know the town inside and out. After reviewing all the town budgets every year, the committee is always blown away by the quality of employees serving the town day in and day out to make our community what it is.”

Serving on the Advisory Committee during the pandemic was one of Curley’s biggest challenges serving as a volunteer for the town. “It was a time of trial that forged great cooperation among the Select Board, School Committee, and Advisory Committee and ultimately led to the current Memorandum of Understanding [concerning the town’s finances] that has served the town so well,” he said.

Dedicated volunteers with town’s best interests in mind
What he likes best about serving as a volunteer for the town — regardless of which position — is “getting to know so many dedicated people who almost universally have the good of the town as their objective. They may not always agree about how to get there, but almost everyone comes from a good place in terms of public spirit in making Hingham a better place.”

Living in Hingham has been a pleasure for the Curleys. “It’s a wonderful place to raise a family and to volunteer,” he said, noting that Kathy is currently serving on the Advisory  Committee. “I hopefully passed on the spirit of volunteerism within my household!” he said.

One of his favorite memories is of “a wonderful senior citizen who stood up at the microphone at Town Meeting a few years ago about a particular issue, gave her name and address, and then pulled a blank on what she had planned to say,” Curley recalled.

Undaunted, the woman stated, “What was it I was going to say?” and then went on to state, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
“That was such a great comment!” Curley said.

Fourth of July parade fan
He and his family are great fans of the Hingham Fourth of July parade. In fact, Curley has a hat decorated with most of the parade buttons from previous years. “The parade [and surrounding activities] have always been my favorite events every year,” he said.

“The Fourth of July in Hingham is a tremendous celebration of our community — from the bands and veterans to the sports teams and antique cars.”

A big highlight of the 2022 parade was when Curley — an avid golfer — walked the route in his argyle sweater and traditional golf knickers to celebrate South Shore Country Club’s 100th anniversary.

Curley has accomplished so much over the years while practicing law for nearly 50 years.

“His role as an attorney has provided a distinctive opportunity to combine his insatiable intellectual curiosity (‘the king of random facts’ is one of his monikers) as well as his commitment to compassion. While some days at the office required limited human interactions to appropriately focus on the tasks of research and writing, our Dad always shines the brightest when fulfilling the role of counselor and advocate by interacting with his clients on a one-on-one basis,” Meg, a former paralegal at Curley & Curley, said.

‘Calm confidence and unmatched intelligence’
Perhaps the most striking component of his practice, “which is adversarial in nature,” Meg shared,  “is his steadfast refusal to make others feel small or less than, even when confronted with opportunities to ‘one up’ someone. . . . His calm confidence and unmatched intelligence have always served to ease his clients’ anxieties, endear his professional opponents on the other side of the ‘V,’ and draw in professional colleagues, many of whom have now firmly transitioned to the ‘friend’ category.”

As a Hingham dad and grandfather for more than four decades, Curley has coached soccer, attended school and sports events, and contines to support the next generation of Curleys by attending flag football and soccer games, holiday concerts, and other events at Derby Academy and East Elementary School.

“At both the micro and macro scale, our Dad has prioritized care for his community — whether it be as a loving father, trusted attorney, or informed and caring member of various boards across Hingham,” the nomination also states.

Comments by others who nominated Curley for this honor call his “civic pride and deep appreciation for the history of the town, its residents, and its governancy” as “likely unmatched.”

Tireless dedication, great sense of humor
Others praised him for his kindness, wisdom,  patience while listening to all points of view on various subjects and issues, legal acumen,  great wit, and “tireless dedication,” and for being a “supremely nice person” with a great sense of humor. They also noted his collegiality, respectful discourse, and wise judgment. “He brings out the best in everyone, which in turn has made us all better volunteers,” another supporter of his nonimation said.

Still another noted, “I have socialized with Bob and Kathy over these many years, and a fun night out is talking about town politics, challenges, and most importantly, possible solutions.”

Bob & Kathy Curley “exemplify Hinghamites,” another resident who nominated him for Hinghamite of the Year said. “They’ve raised their family here, all the while generously investing their time and talents in bettering our community. They’re the kind of folks who make Hingham such a great place to live.”

Make sure to look for Bob and congratulate him during this year’s Fourth of July parade.  He’ll be riding in style as the Hinghamite of the Year alongside his family.

4 thoughts on “Bob Curley named 2024 Hinghamite of the Year: ‘I absolutely love Hingham’”

  1. What a wonderful choice, and I love Bob’s comment about his award being a tribute to all in Hingham who volunteer. Bravo!

  2. So glad to hear of your recognition for all the fine work you have done for Hingham over many years.

    An outstanding person for an outstanding honor.

  3. A great choice, a wonderful man. My first reaction was surprise that he had not been thus honored before. Congratulations, Bob, and thank you and Kathy for all you have done to make Hingham a great place to live and work.


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