A tribute to Doreen (Lemon) Waz

Doreen (Lemon) Waz, 1949 -2023

I first got to know Doreen (Lemon) Waz when I was the newest member of the Ware Historical Commission. My chair, Claudia Chicklas, was involved in the negotiations going on to save the building with Paul Hills, the Community Development Director, and Ottamay (Croteau) Lemon, a long-time member of the First Church at Ware Center.  Ottamay was Doreen’s mom, and the family lived across the street from the church and were all deacons and caretakers for the Church.

There had been a fire in 1986 that left the building in grave disrepair and the church members alone could not afford to repair the damage. Paul wanted to make sure the building was saved, and Claudia was able to get the building on the list of “Most Endangered Historical Sites” in Massachusetts. After that, plans to restore the building began with a group called “Friends of the Ware Center Church”. Doreen and I were both among those trying to decide what steps to take to get the renovation started.

Eventually, we were able to form a non-profit organization and get a grant from the Massachusetts Historical Commission to begin the restoration work in 1998. Doreen and I continued to work together with many others (now called “Proprietors of the Ware Center Meeting House”) to raise money for the Meeting House.

Doreen and her husband Jim were hard workers, who always showed up and put in a great effort in anything we were doing. She battled her lung cancer ferociously, and continued to volunteer at every meeting, every event, every fundraiser. You could count on her to bring her special brand of humor to every occasion, and call on her entire family to show up as well. We will miss her energy and enthusiasm as we go forward, but keep her in our hearts as we continue to work hard to keep the Ware Center Meeting House in good repair. I have been blessed to know her.

Lynn Caulfield Lak

August 21, 2023