The Hall Of Fame
Thomas Jordan
Photos by Jody Scioletti
Text by Bill Purdin

1952 - 1958 Board Of Health
1959 - 1961 Planning Board
1961 - 1966 Historic District Commission
1962 -1966 Finance Committee
1966 - 1979 Board Of Selectmen
1968 - 1983 Council On Aging
1979 -1984 MBTA Rep
1985 -1993 Light Commission

Lifelong Service To Marblehead And Then Some.

The gentle smoke from his ever-present pipe gently wafted in the air around him, as he sat there in his easy chair, smiling. At 78, Tom Jordan is finally retired from Town government now but his career and his influence wafted in and around our Town for over forty years.

A graduate of Marblehead High School's Class of 1934, he worked after graduation in the Civilian Conservation Corps and then graduated from Burdette College in Business Administration. After college, he became a buyer for the Boston & Maine Railroad. For eight years he was the office manager of the Marblehead Municipal Light Department. Apparently, around this time, his lifelong commitment and involvement in Town government began in earnest.

Tom has been involved in some of the most controversial issues in the history of Marblehead and he has won some and lost some. As the originator of the idea of a Town Conservation Commission, Tom Jordan has always fought to save public land. The battle to save Skinner's Head for the Town in 1971 was one he lost after the Planning Committee voted to take the land for the Town, but the article failed at Town Meeting by one of the closest votes in Town History, and Glover Landing Condominiums were built on one of the Town's most picturesque locations. The effects of that defeat still reverberate throughout the Town as open space and waterfront access has grown into one of the hottest topics over the past few years.

Tom Jordan fought hard for the Stramski playground and won. To this day, Tom still speaks of Alphonse A. Stramski as one of the "best men" ever to live in Marblehead.

In 1976, the fight to keep Marblehead out of the South Essex Sewerage District was one of the toughest ever fought. Reg Hartley, then Chairman of the Conservation Commission, opposed joining and Tom Jordan fought right along beside him, arguing that an alternate plan to build a treatment plant in Marblehead would have been far less expensive and would actually have done a better job. Jordan's advocacy for a Town plant began in 1956, and concluded during the final vote in 1976 when he stated that staying in the SESD was, "the worst mistake Marblehead has ever made." He even put that statement in the bicentennial time capsule, saying, "Time will prove I'm right." Right or wrong, you always know where he stands.

Other battles, such as his stand against the new high school in '72 and '73 and to stop the plan to build a breakwater off the coast of Marblehead were successful.

Tom has been married to his wife Adelaide and lived on Kenneth Road for 31 years. The Jordans have no children but his love of the Town and his performance as one of our most prominent Town Fathers have qualified him for the Hall Of Fame and as a member of our Town family who will always be remembered and respected.

In typical form at his home during this interview, he was very uncomfortable discussing himself, and continued to stress to the interviewer that he would rather be discussing the new "Executive Secretary," and E911.

Some things never change, thank goodness.

Editor's Note: Tom passed away on June 3, 1996.

Hall Of Fame