ILM John J. Cahalane

John Cahalane

John Cahalane took Mashpee to heart.

Mr. Cahalane, who died June 8 at the age of 72, grew up in the Boston area. But he and his late wife, Christine, moved to Mashpee in 1978, and Mashpee was where they stayed.

They owned the Farm, a nightclub on Route 151, and Mr. Cahalane later was president of Diversified Resorts.

But what endeared him to his adopted community was his public service.

Starting in 1981, Mr. Cahalane served on the Mashpee Housing Authority, where he oversaw the creation of the town’s first two public housing complexes: Homeyer Village and Breezy Acres. He went on to serve on other town committees.

In 1995, he won a seat on the sewer commission. Then, in 1999, he was elected to the board of selectmen. He would remain on the board until he died.

Mr. Cahalane was behind the initial formation of the town Human Services Department, and helped pull together the Substance Use Task Force and the Drop-In Nights at the Community Health Center.

All impressive.

In a touching tribute, Wayne Taylor, a one-time fellow selectman of Mr. Cahalane’s and now assistant town manager, called him “the mayor of Mashpee.”

Following his wife’s death in 2013, Mr. Cahalane spent even more time at Mashpee Town Hall, virtually making it his second home.

Last Friday, as the funeral motorcade made its way to the town cemetery, the hearse stopped and paused for a minute in front of town hall’s front door.

In addition to his work on behalf of the town, what people really appreciated about Mr. Cahalane were things that don’t show up in official records: his willingness to listen, his honesty, his graciousness.

John Cahalane was devoted to Mashpee. Over the past four decades, he sought to make Mashpee a better place. He did.

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