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Medfield Intersection to be Named in Memory of Robert E. Naughton

Residents passed Article 12 of the Report on the Warrant at Monday's Town Meeting to appropriate $2,000 to name the intersection of Claypit Road and Causeway Street the "Robert E. Naughton Civic Square" in memory of the late Medfield Police detective.

State Representative Denise Garlick called it "the essence of Town Meeting" as she listened intently with a smile as town historian Richard DeSorgher described a man more than worthy of a $2,000 appropriation to name an intersection in his memory.

Garlick, like many others at Town Meeting Monday night, were captivated by DeSorgher's words as he spoke fondly of Robert E. Naughton, a decorated Medfield Police detective, who passed away in 2002. Naughton was an active member of the community and is remembered as a police officer that made a difference, particularly in the lives of troubled teens, according to the Warrant Committee.

DeSorgher's remarks of Naughton lightened the mood at Town Meeting as many in the audience laughed at the historian’s tales of Naughton while others cracked smiles, thinking fondly of a friend they had lost too soon.

Below is DeSorgher's speech that he gave at Town Meeting in memory of Naughton and to ask the quorum to approve Article 12 of the Report on the Warrant and appropriate $2,000 to name the intersection of Claypit Road and Causeway Street the "Robert E. Naughton Civic Square."

"One of the goals of the Committee to Study Memorials is to have a square, street, park or other public facility named after all those from Medfield who gave their life for their country in time of war. We also want to recognize those in the civilian community who rise above the highest levels in dedication, contributions and service to the Medfield community.

Clearly, no one more fits that criteria more than Bob Naughton. The intersection of Claypit Road and Causeway Street is proposed as the site for the 'Robert E. Naughton Civic Square' for a variety of reasons. While there are other more visible locations that could be the site for this Civic Square, this site holds some special qualities. It is across the street from where Bob lived, where he was a faithful husband to his wife Karen for their 23 years of marriage, where he was a great dad and role model to Karen’s son Todd.  

Bob was a lumberjack and one who loved everything there is about nature. At this location, there is no finer spot representing nature in Medfield, it is under the shadow of Noon Hill that he loved to hike and it is surrounded by the trees and wetlands of Stop River. The pine trees that Bob himself planted will become the backdrop to the memorial that Eagle Scout candidate Peter Whelan will help plan and design. 

We believe Bob would be so pleased at the selection of this location.

Ten years ago this year, Bobby Naughton was taken away from us, too soon and too sudden. For those who have lived in Medfield longer than 10 years, you know first hand the special nature and duty and service and friendship and humanity of Bob Naughton. For those who have moved to Medfield since 2002:

The record will show that Robert E. Naughton joined the Medfield Police Force in 1970. The record will show that Robert E. Naughton was promoted to detective in 1988. The record will show that Robert E. Naughton was named the department’s prosecutor in 1990. But no record can accurately record or do justice to who Bobby Naughton was.

When you talked to Bob Naughton, you always left feeling that you were the most important person that your concerns were the most important thing that mattered. His sense of humor, that notorious twinkle in his eye, his positive attitude and his way of viewing the glass as half full, were all qualities of someone who was just a good and decent man.

His fellow officers reported that in his 32 years as an officer he never lost his enthusiasm for the job. He never lost sight of all the ideals and all of the things that people are supposed to become a cop. As a police officer he represented everything that is noble and good.

In 1991, Bob was shadowing a Wells Fargo armored truck making a delivery to the then Bay Bank on Main Street. Two men, wearing Ronald Reagan and Michael Dukakis masks, tried to rob the armored car when it stopped in front of the bank. When Bob approached, the would-be-robbers turned their guns, one of which was a shotgun, on Bob. Bob fired three shots and forced them to drop their weapons and surrender. Because of his act of bravery he received the George L. Hanna Award, the state's highest award for bravery in an impressive ceremony at the State House and he received both the New England Chiefs of Police and the town’s, medal of valor at a ceremony held in a packed _.

 As an officer, Bob was particularly dedicated to and involved in the lives of our teens, particularly those who were often in trouble … he truly cared about them as individual human beings. When we formed the Youth Advisory Commission back in the mid-1970’s, it was Bobby Naughton who came forward to volunteer to be the police officer serving on the commission. He was always up front and supportive of the activities and ideas the youth wanted to implement.

I remember as a member of the P&RC when we established the Mini Recreation Center in the Pfaff Center, opened weekdays after school and during the summer for high school youth … there was one officer whether on duty or off duty that regularly stopped in to see how things were going and to talk with the kids and that was Bobby Naughton.

When we established what was called the Night Spot, opened Saturday nights at the Pfaff Center; where Chip Lennon then with A&D TV, used to bring down a big screen TV and we would show movies and served food and which became a social hangout for high school kids, one officer whether on duty or off duty would regularly stop in each Saturday night to see how things were going and talk with the kids and that was Bobby Naughton.

As selectman Ann Thompson said at the news of his death “one of Medfield’s finest men is gone and his place in our town’s life can never be filled. He served the town above and beyond the call of duty ... he was the type of man in whom youngsters and teenagers could confide. He was there in time of tragedy and also there to laugh with them in times of joy.”

One personal note that to me sums up who Bob Naughton was; When my children were little, I had my two boys out for a bike ride. One was on the back of my bike in the bike seat and the other was just learning to ride without training wheels. We were trying to cross Route 109 in heavy traffic and no one was stopping. Suddenly blue lights were flashing around us, an officer jumped out of the cruiser and traffic was stopped in all directions. In a scene reminiscent of Make Way for Ducklings, Bob Naughton guided us across the street.  He actually looked for ways that he could help others.

The 2002 Annual Town Report was dedicated to Bob Naughton and I would like to close by reading that inscription:

He was a quiet man, with a twinkle in his eye and a friendly word for all. He carried the burdens of many in his heart, but respected confidences and encouraged the troubled to look on the bright side, the disheartened to try again, and the lonely to share his friendship. Bob was a paradigm for young police officers, a confidant to his colleagues in the department and a breath of fresh air to the judges, court personnel and legal community at the Norfolk County courthouses.

But Bob Naughton was more than a police officer; he was first and foremost a good man. He worked hard and played hard. Whether it was hauling wood for the lumberjack show he organized as part of Medfield's 325th Anniversary Celebration, excavating a well at the Dwight Derby House or camping in the woods of Northern Canada, Bob was never afraid to work up a good sweat or pitch in an do what needed to be done. When the Home Committee needed a hand, Bob was there; when the Historical Commission had an archaeological dig he was there shovel in hand. No one was unimportant to him; nothing was too small to merit his attention. He was not easily impressed and yet he would give undivided attention when the circumstances required.

Together with his wife Karen and his son Todd they personified what a family should be about; unique in their closeness and yet always open to others. And so it was with shock to everyone when Bob Naughton was taken from us, too soon and too suddenly. We miss you Bob.

Mr. Moderator, I ask for unanimous consent for the motion made by Bob's good friend Ed Daugherty, that the intersection of Causeway Street and Claypit Road be now and for evermore known as Robert E. Naughton Civic Square."

The article unanimously passed Town Meeting.

Nancy Norris May 01, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Amen! It was an honor and a privilege to have known Bob and to be his neighbor. I have a vey similar story to Richard's of Bob helping me to safely cross Rte. 109 with my then little ones. I'd say it's a testament to our community that its residents will make the effort to insure the memory of those people who have made our community the wonderful place that it is.
Jean P. Raffin May 01, 2012 at 08:03 PM
I had the pleasure of working with Bob Naughton when he was a rookie in 1970, and I was part-time secretary of the Police Department. At that time, the station was in the Town Hall, and since my desk was in the same room as the officers' desk,, I could observe the way citizens were greeted when they came in. There was no one more polite, business-like, and compassionate than Bob. Whether it was a citizen complaining about something, or someone looking for information, he was the perfect example of what a police officer should be. Sometimes when things were quiet, he would tell me about his horse-riding days in Wyoming. He also volunteered his lumberjack talents to trim some of the many trees in my back yard, and his blue eyes never twinkled more than when he met Karen! I remember thinking, "It couldn't happen to two nicer people." Like everyone else, I was shocked and extremely saddened when I heard of his untimely death. My youngest granddaughter was born the day after Bob died, and I remember saying a prayer that she would grow up to be as good a person as Bob. As she is about to turn 10, I am proud to say it seems that God blessed her with many fine qualities. I just wish she could have known Bob.
Colleen M. Sullivan May 02, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Bob was a wonderful man and he is sorely missed by many in Medfield.....Only Richard DeSorgher could have delivered such an inspiring message on behalf of Bob. Thank you, Richard!
Rich Healy June 02, 2012 at 02:04 PM
My Uncle Bob was the most genuine person I ever met. He was my mothers oldest sibling. My mother looked up to him more than anyone. The only thing he loved more than the town of medfield was his family. He was always the wise one we turned to if you needed anything. We love and miss you Uncle Bobby. Thank you medfield for everything you have done. He is smiling.

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