Arthur Lawrence Stevenson, age 96, died on June 7, 2020 at Rivermead in Peterborough, New Hampshire.
Born in Boston on May 28, 1924, he was the son of Arthur and Dorothy Stevenson. Arthur grew up with his sisters Elizabeth and Nancy, mostly in Wellesley, Massachusetts. He attended public schools, the Newton Country Day School and Boston Latin. Arthur was a freshman at Williams College in December 1941 at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Like many of his classmates he took an option to enlist immediately and be allowed to finish an accelerated four semesters of college. In May of 1943 he was deployed in the Army Air Force, training around the country and serving in Hawaii and the South Pacific, finishing his service as a Captain in 1946. Back at Williams he graduated in February of 1948 with a mathematics major and a Phi Beta Kappa key which made his family proud. Arthur entered Harvard Law School in 1948 but, having signed up for the reserves, his education was interrupted again with a call to active duty in Korea, finally finishing law school in 1953. His credits under the GI Bill saw him through both his final two years of college and through law school, and all his life he considered that legislation for returning veterans to be a key to his success in his career and life.
Arthur started work at the Boston firm of Goodwin, Proctor & Hoar in 1953. In 1954 he was walking from the train station at Back Bay when he felt into step and renewed his acquaintance with Margaret McDougall, also originally from Wellesley. They were married in May 1956 at the Unitarian Church in Wellesley Hills. Arthur and Margaret lived briefly in Boston and then moved to Concord, Massachusetts in the spring of 1957. A son, Henry, was born in 1961 and daughter Margaret (Peg) in 1962.
Arthur and Margaret were active and community-minded citizens of Concord for over 45 years. Arthur served on the Planning Board for 12 years, was elected to the Board of Selectmen for two terms, was appointed Town Counsel, serving 14 years and was elected Town Meeting Moderator, serving for eight years. He enjoyed presiding and loved the direct democracy of Town Meeting. He was Treasurer of the Concord Free Public Library and was a devoted congregant and served in offices at Trinity Episcopal Church. Arthur and Margaret were named Concord’s Honored Citizens in 2001.
Arthur retired from Goodwin Proctor in 1988 as a partner and chairman of the labor practice. Once again, a walk to the train station got him talking with a former colleague, and the outcome was an 11-year career with Nichols & Pratt doing trust and estate management, retiring from there in 1999.
Arthur and Margaret’s life in Concord was enriched by lifelong friendships with neighbors on Oxbow Road and in the surrounding community of Conantum. He was an enthusiastic walker, runner and hiker all his life – exploring and organizing trips throughout New England and enjoying the Appalachian Mountain Club’s guides, huts and camps. Arthur and Margaret made walking trips, often with his sister Betty and her husband Phil Whittaker, to England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Switzerland. The Stevensons had a cabin at Taconnet in Belgrade Lakes, Maine for many years where Arthur loved to play tennis and swim in the lake and did so into his 80s. Arthur and Margaret moved to Peterborough, New Hampshire and Rivermead in 2002 where they met a new circle of active friends and neighbors. Arthur and Margaret thoroughly enjoyed the community feeling of Rivermead and participated in committees and events, attended the Peterborough Players, and explored the Monadnock area. Margaret passed away in 2016. Arthur’s friends sustained him at Rivermead where he played bridge and taught bridge classes to enthusiastic students until a few months before his passing.
Arthur was known for his dry wit, intelligence and attention to detail – planning down to the letter and exercising his mind all his life with new intellectual challenges and concepts. He read voraciously – history, biography and Charles Dickens being particular joys. Numerous volumes about his heroes Oliver Wendell Holmes and Winston Churchill cluttered his apartment. He had a quiet and genuine caring about friends and family and was a loving father and grandfather. He hid a lighthearted willingness to join in the fun – he sang in community musicals written by Margie for Conantum and in variety shows at Rivermead – shocking everyone when the normally stern Arthur appeared on stage in hats and costumes.
Arthur is survived by his son Henry and wife Susan of Marlborough, Massachusetts; grandsons James and Andrew Stevenson; and daughter Peg Stevenson and her partner Karen Topakian of San Francisco, California. He was proud of all his family and their accomplishments - mostly recently James’s graduation from medical school in May 2020.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contribution be made in Arthur’s name to the Concord Free Public Library 129 Main Street Concord, MA 01742, or to a charity of your choice.
A memorial celebration of his life is pending.
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