Unique Aircraft Departs from Londonderry Airport Today

Visitors to the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport this morning might have seen something a little out of the ordinary sitting on the runway. The Airbus Industries Super Guppy made a stop at the airport this morning to load up on materials for NASA, including a heat shield that will be used on the Orion spacecraft.

The heat shield has been under construction since March at Textron Defense Systems in Wilmington, Massachusetts. It will be loaded onto the Super Guppy and depart from the airport this afternoon. It will then fly to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, for arrival tomorrow morning.

The Orion is expected to make its first launch, Exploration Flight Test-1, in September of 2014. It is designed to take astronauts farther into space than ever before, including to an asteroid and Mars, said a press release from NASA. The heat shield will protect crew members and the spacecraft as it endures temperatures as high as 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit while traveling more than 20,000 miles per hour from a high altitude orbit, said the release.

The Super Guppy offers a 25-foot diameter fuselage, designed to handle over-sized loads; a hinged nose that opens 110 degrees; a system of rails in the cargo compartment for simple and efficient loading; and the lift, speed and size needed for transporting large loads. The aircraft can carry a maximum of 52,000 pounds at a maximum range of 564 miles and its cruise speed at 25,000 feet is 290 miles per hour. To learn more about the Super Guppy, click here.


A piece of Londonderry History – Schoolhouse Number 8

A town rich in history, Londonderry was established as part of what was originally called Nutfield in 1719 by 16 Scotch-Irish families. Growing rapidly, the town became the second largest in New Hampshire by 1740 and, less than a century later, its boundaries finally began to resemble what they are today. Over the next 100-plus years, Londonderry transformed from farms and their farmers and animals, tradespeople, merchants, teachers at ten district schools, pastors, doctors, and lawyers, to the community it is today. Railroads, roadways, linen, mills, shoes, and orchards helped shape the town’s history, present, and future.

Each week, Londonderry News will publish an historical image from our database, along with all information our researchers could find regarding the image. From homesteads and mills, to landmarks and schoolhouses, we hope you take with you something new about our town. We welcome your comments and memories of these images.

Schoolhouse Number 8

This picture is circa 1918. Located on Bartley Hill Road, this schoolhouse replaced the old 25-foot by 17-foot red schoolhouse that was built in 1794. The newer building was finished in 1858 and the belfry was added 1912. The building burned down in 1931 but was replaced in 1932. It also served multiple purposes to the community, providing a place to host events like singing school, spelling competitions, and religious revivals.

Would you like to buy this image? This image, along with the others in this collection, are available for purchase! Click the image to buy it, or click here to see the others in this collection.

Image restoration by ImageAbility, Inc.; history provided by Londonderry Commerce and Visitors Center (


Londonderry Firefighters Partake in Movember

A group of Londonderry’s IAFF Local 3160 members have again teamed up to participate in “Movember”.  Movember is a way to have fun and promote awareness and research of men’s health issues.  For the entire month of November, teammates start with freshly shaven facial hair.  During the month, a mustache is grown (or for some of us, attempted to be grown).  This sparks conversation and awareness regarding health issues facing men; in particular Testicular and Prostate Cancer.

This group of firefrighters participated in Movember last year.

Movember teammates raise funds during the month in order to fund research to hopefully make these health conditions a thing of the past. Recently, Cancer awareness educational programs have been provided by the New Hampshire Fire Academy.  Firefighting and Emergency services can be a dangerous endeavor.  Tips such as staying active, remaining educated about potential risk factors, and getting annual physical exams are just a few ways of staying healthy.

Mustaches have a place in the Fire Service as well.  In order to maintain an adequate respiratory seal, Beards and long facial hair are prohibited.  Firefighters must have a good mask seal when using their breathing air at a Fire or Hazmat situation.  The mustache does not interfere with this seal, and as such, has become one of the few ways a Firefighter can safely have facial hair.

If you would like to donate to the team, or an individual member, please click here. The firefighters and their facial hair will be at the 99 Restaurant this Friday, December, 6, 2013 at noon in Londonderry.


Rail Trail Opens with Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Londonderry’s first paved mile of the rail trail was open this past weekend as the leading organization, Londonderry Trailways, cut the ribbon at the trailhead. Union Leader Correspondent April Guilmet covers the story.

Londonderry Rail Trail hits milestone

Union Leader Correspondent

For the many supporters of the Londonderry Rail Trail project, the first mile began with some very eager steps Saturday afternoon.

The trail’s first completed mile opened with much fanfare during a ceremony held in the North Elementary School parking lot, which is the location of the Sanborn Road trailhead.

Dozens of residents, along with various state and town officials, braved the chilly temperatures to walk the maiden mile, with others perched on bicycles or walking their family dogs.

The first mile of completed rail trail, which was finished in mid-November, runs from Symmes Drive at Exit 5 to Sanborn Road.

To read the rest of April’s story, click here.


The Best

Paulette came into the room and we met her for the first time.  She went over to the bed and began humming gently and talking to him, as she washed and shaved his face, seemingly oblivious to the heavy gurgling sounds coming from his throat.  She was so very calming.  Then she began massaging his legs with lotion – he always loved that.  The gurgling sounds got heavier and more labored.  My mother and sister went to either side of his bed and held his hands.  I rested my hand on his leg.  The gurgling became worse.  He was essentially drowning, but unconscious and sedated so he felt no pain, the nurse said.

Then the gurgling stopped and he heaved a sigh.  Paulette and I looked at each other and she nodded.  He gave two more sighs and that was it.  Eighty-three years, six months and 28 days after drawing his first breath, my dad had finally breathed his last.  It was the most wrenching three minutes of my life.  And yet, oddly, the most calming.  He was – finally – truly at peace.

His quality of life the last three years had not been good.  He lived most of his last five years in his La-Z-Boy chair, where he also slept.  Congestive heart failure and diabetes had been his undoing and made those years a real strain for him – and for my mother.  So his last two years were spent in the nursing assistance wing of the 55-and-over complex where they lived.  My Dad called it “The Hotel”.

He was born in the middle of the Great Depression.  His childhood years were consumed by the home front sacrifices of World War II, going to school and peeling potatoes for his dad’s diner in Arlington, Massachusetts.  He and his younger brother watched three older brothers and a sister head off to fight that war.  They watched one less return.  His French-Canadian parents never talked about that for many years.

His high school years were typical of his generation.  He said his only claim to fame was that Olivia Dukakis was a classmate.  He remembered her as shy and very much into riding horses.  We all used to think he was a big band director in high school, because he had this picture of himself in front of a microphone with a director’s wand in his hand.  He later told us he had directed the orchestra on a dare one night at the Capitol Theater.  Once was apparently enough.

Polio kept him from the draft when he graduated in 1948, so he went right into the workforce.   No college for him.  He puttered around doing something in the accounting field for a few years and then, in 1952, he met my mother.  She was the hygienist who cleaned his teeth and even through a mouthful of dental instruments, Novocain, and cotton, his charm won her over.  He was four years younger than her.  They were married six months later.

Dad was always a good talker and a very charming guy.  He shook hands with everyone and was never at a loss for conversation.  My brother said it well – “Leo never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”  That’s what made him a good salesman throughout the bulk of his career, which was spent almost entirely in the fishing industry, beginning with managing a lobster shack on Rose Wharf in Boston.  During the dinner after his funeral, nearly every one of my 22 cousins, most of whom I hadn’t seen in 40 years, recalled the day Uncle Leo, on a whim, brought burlap bags full of lobsters to our annual July 4th picnic.  Everyone was amazed – except my aunt who had already bought tons of hamburgers and hot dogs for the event.  She was downright pissed off.

My father did well enough that he and my mother began taking annual trips throughout the world while we were in high school.  It gave us four kids time to terrorize the neighborhood – well, at least my brother and I.  Leo and Rosemarie, in the meantime, saw the world – from flying a small airplane over volcanoes in Hawaii to riding on camels at the pyramids in Egypt.  When he later retired, they’d snowbird for the winter in Venice, Florida, hanging out with his sister and her husband who own a little villa in the same retirement complex.  They had some of their happiest days together, the four of them.

Of course, as with all families, my parents had their share of dark times too.  But good always triumphed over bad in my Dad’s eyes – and he pretty much made sure it did.  The eternal optimist.  He wasn’t one to sit down and discuss the future with his kids.  We didn’t get a lot of advice on choosing a college or making career decisions.  And he was definitely stumped by the “New Math” once we hit seventh grade.  But he did discipline us so that we always knew right from wrong – even if we often didn’t practice what he preached.  And he was always there – or at least, on his way.  We could have done a heck of a lot worse for a father.

In the end, as with anyone who loses a parent, we are left with the good memories and events we can now laugh about that perhaps we couldn’t have in the past.  We can remember his smile and look in the mirror and see some part of him there – mostly nose, eyes and eyebrows, in my case.  And like others, we can suddenly just come to realize, every once in a while, that he really is gone and that taking care of our mother now is a major priority and commitment.

So goes life…and so goes a really good guy.  Thanks for all of it, Dad.  You’re the best.  And I miss you…again and again.

Visit Londonderry Hometown Online News every Tuesday Morning for another one of Joe’s great columns! Select “Share this story” and tell a friend Joe is back!

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J. Roy Jones of Londonderry

J. Roy Jones, 73, of Londonderry, NH passed away Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at home after a period of declining health. He was born on May 4, 1940, in Aliquippa, PA, a son of the late Edward and Martha (Sykes) Jones. Roy received his education at Aliquippa High School and Waynesburg College, both in PA. He continued his education at UNH where he received dual Master’s Degrees. Mr. Jones was an educator and Principal for many years in the Derry school system and was a professor at New Hampshire Technical Institute. More recently he worked for US Air, a job he truly loved. He enjoyed traveling and loved Lake Winnipesauke. Roy was an avid Pittsburg Steelers fan.

He is survived by his wife Sandra (Craven) Jones, one son Christopher Jones and wife Kristen, one daughter Amy Dygd and husband Shawn, six grandchildren, Olivia, Sarah, Gabriel, Joseph, Katie, and Bella, one sister Marion Jones Duda, one brother Gordon Jones, as well as many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by one brother Edward Jones.

At the request of the family there are no calling hours. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 10:00am at Manchester Christian Church, 1308 Wellington Road, Manchester. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Roy’s memory to One Fund c/o Manchester Christian Church, 1308 Wellington Road, Manchester, NH 03104.