, Derry, New Hampshire

March 6, 2014

Derry community center honors memories

By Julie Huss

---- — DERRY — The Marion Gerrish Community Center continues to honor its longtime supporters.

The center on West Broadway regularly pays tribute to those that have helped the 40-year-old building through the years with special displays and programs.

One room at the center is now decorated and upgraded, thanks to memorial donations from the Lynn Gerrish Moquin family. That upper floor room also pays tribute to the center’s namesake and Moquin’s mother, Marion Gerrish.

Plaques in the room honor Moquin and Don Ball, a longtime center supporter and current member of the building’s board of directors.

There are many other locations in town named for Ball and his family.

Other rooms in the building are named for another early supporter and former Derry recreation director Gerry Cox.

Center director Sarah Garvin said the room’s renovations and new furnishings are a good way to honor the support of the Ball, Gerrish and Moquin families.

“This had been the Don Ball Room for many years,” Garvin said, showing off the upper floor front room.

The room is one of the building’s smallest and is perfect for small gatherings and meetings.

There is now new carpeting, paint and furniture, thanks to memorial donations given to the center following Moquin’s death last summer.

“We received so many donations in her name,” Garvin said. “We called her husband and said this is something we would like to do.”

Staff felt it was important to keep Moquin’s memory alive inside the Don Ball Room since the families were strong supporters of the community center.

The community center building was built in the early 1860s. It was once the West Side School and was used as a schoolhouse until 1952.

After falling into disrepair, a group of citizens took charge to create a community center. A lower level thrift shop helps support the building.

It was renamed in 1999 in honor of longtime volunteer Marion Gerrish. She helped start the thrift shop and also was an original board member.

Garvin said the building is a community gem that is used by more than 160 groups. Room are also rented out for private functions.

Work at the center is a constant project, Garvin said. The building receives no town money, but relies on its thrift shop proceeds and other donations and support.

Upcoming projects include updating exterior lighting at the center.