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Moment of silence for late Ayer selectman Robert Pena

Nashoba Publishing file photo/Mary Arata
Former Ayer selectman Robert Pena, third from left, served on the Washington Street Firehouse Reuse Committee. Here Pena joined fellow committee members for a July 2009 tour of the structure. Shown here are former committee member Glenn Ledoux, Ayer selectman Jim Fay, Pena, committee members Alene Reich and George Bacon and Bill Daniels.
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AYER – The selectmen paused for a moment of silence at Tuesday’s meeting to honor the passing of former selectman Robert Pena. Capital Planning Committee Chairman Mary Spinner provided a snapshot of Pena’s service to the town.

Pena lived on Oak Ridge Drive with his wife, Joan. Born in 1939, Pena was a multiyear volunteer to the town. Spinner said Pena was aboard for the launch of the Communications Committee in 1998. Thereafter, Pena served as a selectman from 1999 to 2002.

Spinner recalled asking Pena if he’d run again. Pena’s response – “I certainly am not,” recalled Spinner. “It’s not a career. I have plenty of things to do with my life.”

Spinner said he did repeatedly answer the call to serve, including serving on the Capital Planning Committee, a former iteration of the Town Government Study Committee, the Commission on Disability, the Ayer Historical Commission, and was the chairman of the first (Washington Street) Fire Station Reuse Committee.

“He was a very private man,” said Spinner. She said Pena would be “embarrassed if he knew” there’d be a public discussion of his service. “I don’t care. People should know how much he did.”

Spinner said Pena was also involved with the Chamber of Commerce and Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry. Spinner called Pena a “quiet man who came in and did his job and left.” Spinner said there was no mention of his passing in the newspaper “because that’s the way he wanted things.”

“He did a lot for this town,” said selectman Chairman Gary Luca before the attendants at the meeting fell quiet for a moment of silence. Pena died on Thursday, Feb. 16.

— Follow Mary E. Arata on Twitter at @MaryEArata.