DEDHAM — Passers-by driving down Route 1A last Saturday afternoon might have noticed a long line of cars parked outside the Dedham town office. The drivers of those cars were attending a memorial service for Alfred Jellison, a Dedham selectman who died peacefully on Oct. 25.
The 66-year-old Holden native served in the Navy, worked in the wastewater treatment field in Brewer and Bangor and, for the last 33 years (half of his entire life), held the position of Dedham selectman.
Jellison touched the lives of a lot of people, as evidenced by the 250 to 300 who showed up to the service.
“He was truly committed to our town and adored his family,” said Dedham Administrative Assistant to the Selectmen Michelle Begin, who worked with Jellison for almost 11 years. “He was smart, compassionate, kind, genuine, and had the best interest of all of our residents at heart.”
Since Jellison was a sitting selectman, the town will have to run a special election to fill the vacancy on the three-member board. The two remaining selectmen are scheduled to hold a meeting at the town office Thursday, Nov. 2, at 6 p.m. to discuss the town’s options.
Considering the circumstances, the town might be able to hold a special election within 24 days, Begin said. The challenge is to get the word out to town residents in time. It also means there will be less time for potential candidates to gather signatures to get put on the ballot.
Whoever is elected will have some big shoes to fill.
“He was a wonderful person to work for,” Begin said. “I don’t say it lightly when I say it will be impossible to replace Al.”