Norwood General Manager John J. Carroll (photo: Boston Globe)

John J. Carroll


Born to Irish immigrant parents in Boston, John J. Carroll graduated with a civil engineering degree from Northeastern University in 1950.

John J Carroll, Northeastern University, Class of 1950 (photo:1950 “Cauldron”, Northeastern University)

After serving in the United States Army from 1950-1952, he went to work for the town of Lexington as a civil engineer. In 1958, he became Superintendent of Public Works in Lexington, a post he held until 1967.

He spent the next 4 years as the Editor of New England Construction Magazine, before accepting the position of Executive Director of the Construction Industries of Massachusetts in 1971.

Carroll served as Commissioner of Public Works for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts under Governor Michael Dukakis from 1974 to 1978. In this role, he was responsible for highway cleanup during the Blizzard of ’78.

Later in 1978, he became the 11th Town Manager in Norwood’s history. During his tenure, the town experienced many challenges. he oversaw the construction of a new Public Safety building for the Police and Fire Departments, a new DPW complex, and a new Senior High School. The town also closed and capped off the dump and switched to mechanized rubbish collection under his watch.

“I’ve always done my best to help make Norwood the best town it could be.”

The John J Carroll Public Works Administration Building was named in his honor upon completion on November 1, 2015.

John J. Carroll with his family at the dedication of the John J Carroll Public Works Administration Building, November 1, 2015 (Photo: Norwood Police Department Facebook Page)

Carroll served as Vice Chair of the Metropolitan Water Resource Authority (MWRA) since its inception in 1985 and was the only remaining charter member.

John J. Carroll and Andrew M. Pappastergion are sworn in by Governor Charlie Baker for their new terms to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority Board of Directors on July 29, 2021 (photo: MWRA)

In 2001, the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies awarded him the National Environmental Achievement Award for his “successful leadership at the MWRA”. This included his contributions to the Boston Harbor Project, hailed by the Environmental Protection Agency as “one of America’s greatest environmental success stories.”

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The John J. Carroll Water Treatment Plant (CWTP), a state-of-the-art water treatment plant in Marlborough designed to treat metropolitan Boston’s water supply, was opened in July 2005.

John J. Carroll Water Treatment Plant (CWTP) in Marlborough, Massachusetts (photo: MWRA)

He was named Business Person of the Year by the Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce in 2012. “He is responsible for Norwood’s reputation as a business-friendly community. He understands the importance of a vibrant business community to provide a commercial tax base that relieves the burden on homeowners. More importantly and less known is the work he does behind the scenes to help those in need in town, often by connecting them to local businesses that can provide needed goods and services during a crisis.”

Asked about his proudest achievement as Town Manager, Carroll replied:

“I can’t say just one thing… To be honest, I guess I’d have to say the Gazebo is my proudest accomplishment,” Carroll said proudly. “It might sound silly, but I consider it central to the fabric of Norwood.”

Walter J. Dempsey Memorial Bandstand (photo: Norwood Historical Society)

Untold numbers of couples have taken wedding photos in the gazebo, and since its construction, it has become a tradition for Norwood High School students to meet on the common on prom night for photos as well. It’s also used for summer and winter concerts, pops night, and countless other community events.

“I also liked playing a small role in getting the beautiful new high school built,” Carroll said. “I am so proud to have been part of that committee.”

John Carroll was Norwood’s longest-serving Town Manager, retiring after 39 years of service on December 17, 2017.

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Norwood Bank donated a memorial statue to the Town of Norwood in tribute to Mr. Carroll shortly after he announced his retirement. The statue, Harvey Lee Price’s “Harvest Joy Kids.”, was placed on the lawn of the Town Hall at a dedication ceremony on May 19, 2018.

John Carroll (left) and Selectmen Chair Thomas Maloney stand beside the statue “Harvest Joy Kids.” built in honor of Carroll’s 39 years of service to Norwood. (Photo-Max Bowen Wicked Local)

John J Carroll passed away on February 25, 2023.

Visiting hours will be held at Norwood Town Hall, Memorial Hall, 566 Washington St., Norwood, on Wednesday, March 1, 4-8 p.m. A funeral service will be held at Trinity Community Church, 234 Walpole St., Norwood on Thursday, March 2, at 11 a.m. Relatives and friends are kindly invited. Interment will be in Norwood Cemetery, Norwood.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 465 Waverley Oaks Rd., Ste 202, Waltham, MA 02452.

Click here for the full obituary.

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