Marblehead Rotary surprises volunteer extraordinaire Siegel on 90th birthday

Marblehead Rotary Club members pulled out all the stops for fellow Rotarian Carl Siegel’s surprise 90th birthday on March 16. 

The club devoted the entirety of its weekly meeting to showering praise and commendations on the volunteer.  

Carl Siegel blows out the candles on his 90th birthday cake during a surprise party staged by his fellow Marblehead Rotary Club members on March 16. CURRENT PHOTO / NICOLE GOODHUE BOYD

Select Board Chair Moses Grader presented a proclamation declaring March 16 as “F. Carlton Siegel Day” in Marblehead in honor of Siegel’s decades in public service. Grader read the citation recognizing everything from Siegel’s work with youth football and baseball and the town signs he has fashioned to his military service in the Navy and his current and past service on various town commissions and boards.

“You are a pillar of the community,” Grader told Siegel in front of a seated crowd. “It’s entirely appropriate and fitting that we set aside this day to honor and celebrate Carl.” 

Rotary District Governor Alexander Falk awarded Siegel with a pair of Avenues of Service Awards, one for service to the Marblehead community and another for service to the Marblehead Rotary Club. 

Rotary Club District Governor Alexander Falk holds up two commendations recognizing fellow Rotarian Carl Siegel’s service to the community and the Marblehead Rotary Club on the occasion of Siegel’s 90th birthday on March 16. CURRENT PHOTO / NICOLE GOODHUE BOYD

“Our club has nominated you for two of them because of all the outstanding work you’ve done for our club and for the community all these years,” said Falk as he held up two certificates. 

Congressman Seth Moulton was on hand to present a certificate of “special Congressional recognition to Carl Siegel in recognition of your outstanding and invaluable service to the community.”

“What’s remarkable about this, from my perspective, is we do a lot in Congress to honor important people in our nation,” he said. “They are almost always dead.” 

On March 16, Congressman Seth Moulton gives resident Carl Siegel a special commendation on his 90th birthday, recognizing his community service through the years. CURRENT PHOTO / NICOLE GOODHUE BOYD

The comment prompted widespread laughter before Moulton handed the citation over and thanked Siegel for showcasing “such vibrant living.” 

Many may know Siegel as the man who tallies votes on two huge whiteboards in the heart of Abbot Hall on election night. For more than 25 years, voters have elected Siegel to the Water and Sewer Commission. Before that, he was on the Recreation and Parks Commission. 

“I retired at 55,” said Siegel, “so I have been retired longer than I worked.” 

He has made several hand-carved signs for town buildings, parks and schools. He joined the Rotary Club in 1992 and has served 27 years as the group’s treasurer. 

“I enjoy doing it,” Siegel told the Current, surrounded by birthday cards and gifts. 

The Marblehead Rotary Club held a surprise party for Carl Siegel on the occasion of his 90th birthday on March 16. CURRENT PHOTO / NICOLE GOODHUE BOYD

Siegel’s daughter, Suzanne Siegel, said her dad moved to Marblehead in the 1960s on a six-month assignment with General Electric. 

“He ended up staying for 63 years,” she said. “He just loves the town.” 

Siegel sat with friends and family at a circular table in a Boston Yacht Club room filled with fellow volunteers and community members with whom he has worked.

“I’m just so proud of my dad,” Suzanne Siegel said. “Proud to be his daughter, and feel blessed that he has seen 90 years of life.” 

Marblehead Rotary Club President Nancy Gwin ended the presentation with the announcement that the club would be making a $1,000 donation to the Harriet Siegel Memorial Scholarship Fund, established in Siegel’s wife’s name. 

The celebration ended with everyone singing “Happy Birthday” and pieces of cake being passed around the room. 

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