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Honoring Chuck Zettek – A Friend of the Trust and Hopkinton

The Hopkinton Area Land Trust honors Chuck and Anne Zettek for their major and continued support to the Trust over many years. The honor for Chuck is posthumous but well deserved.

First, let’s review some of their lives leading up to the award. Chuck was in the Army Air Force flying over Germany in WWII as a bombardier, and he was witness to the destruction wrought by American B-17s, devastation that was necessary for the Allied war cause but that left its mark on his psyche. After narrowly escaping death multiple times and earning several medals, he enrolled in Harvard College at war’s end for a planning degree, intending to turn his role in urban destruction into a career in urban renewal. He graduated magna cum laude and worked on redevelopment projects in Lowell and Worcester. "He wanted to help cities and plan for cities and to overcome in a way what he had to go through,” said his son, Matt Zettek, a former Hopkinton selectman, who only heard his father's war stories after the patriarch spoke at a granddaughter's class presentation.

After briefly renting in Medway, Zettek and his Radcliffe beau, Anne, settled in Hopkinton. Neighbors soon encouraged his interest in giving back, and he joined the Planning Board in the 1950s, helping work on the town's first master plan at a time when the Mass Pike was under construction, Interstate 495 was being planned and the town's industrial sector on South Street did not yet exist.

Chuck served on the Planning Board for 25 years and was also on the Conservation Commission and the Elmwood School Building Committee. He won election to the town moderator's post and was reelected several times. His son recalled not only his "quick mind, unique sense of humor and respect of people," but also his sensitivity and patience for Town Meeting voters not accustomed to public speaking. "He had this perceptive sense of people," Matt Zettek said. When the Chuck's hearing declined, people encouraged him to seek the moderator position again, but he said he felt he couldn't maintain his own high standards for the volunteer post and left after a 15-year tenure. He drew a standing ovation at the close of his last Town Meeting.

Anne, also volunteered, serving on the School Committee, and Matt Zettek followed his parents' lead, first with a spot as a Framingham Town Meeting member and then with Hopkinton selectmen when he moved back to town. In addition to his career and volunteerism, Zettek wrote a book. Called "The Ten Most Important Words in Your Life," it attempts to reconcile his beliefs in science and God, and is still available at Amazon.com.
The elder Zettek, a longtime Hopkinton resident, passed away last year (2011) at 89 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. Known alternatively as "Chuck" or "Charlie," he has been remembered around town for his many contributions to civic life.

Both Chuck and Anne were extremely generous to the Trust over the past several years, with donations of land and financial support. The Hopkinton Area Land Trust’s board of directors voted at its July meeting to honor Chuck and Anne, and will present a plaque of appreciation at the Annual Meeting on September 16, 2012 (2 PM) to be held at the Hopkinton Fire Station Training Room.

From Portions MetroWest Daily News