TEWKSBURY — Charles Zaroulis, long-time town counsel for Tewksbury, passed away on Sunday, Jan. 31.
Zaroulis served Tewksbury for 53 years and “had a great love for this community,” according to recent remarks by Board of Selectman Chairperson Jay Kelly.
Born and raised in Lowell, Zaroulis also served as counsel for other municipalities and was involved in many worthy causes.
Selectwoman Anne Marie Stronach shared memories of Zaroulis and described him as “caring” and “good at providing us with constructive feedback which allowed us to serve the community.”
Zaroulis was described by Stronach as “centered on his family,” leaving wife Jacqueline of 34 years and a large family.
Complications associated with COVID-19 were the reasons listed as contributing to his passing.
According to Zaroulis’ obituary, he graduated from the Bartlett School, Lowell High School, and Suffolk University with a Bachelor of Arts degree and from Suffolk Law School with a Juris Doctorate degree. He was admitted to the Legal Bar in 1959 then served in the United States Army from 1961 to 1965 and was awarded the Army Commendation Ribbon for Meritorious Service.
Zaroulis was involved in and spearheaded numerous initiatives including providing legal services for low income clients, held several leadership positions at the Greater Lowell Family YMCA and other area town counsel and legal associations.
Tewksbury Town Manager Richard Montuori reflected on Zaroulis.
“It is hard to come up with one specific story about Charles or an issue that we worked on that stands out since there are so many. He was a true professional who had the utmost integrity and honesty.”
Montuori said, “He was a brilliant lawyer and he will be greatly missed not only because of his knowledge of the law and of the community, but as a friend. We are all much better professionals and people for knowing Charlie.”
Retired attorney Maxa S. Berid was the first program director of Merrimack Legal Services, now known as Northeast Legal Aid, who worked with Zaroulis to establish a community outreach program and spoke highly of his involvement.
“Charlie was an enthusiastic supporter of the concept that poor people were entitled to have an attorney in civil actions. In the early 70s, this was quite an avant-garde idea. He was chairman of the board, and always brought to the program and meetings his nuanced study of the law, and political climate. I will always remember him fondly for his support of the program and as a friend.”
Jim Lampke, president of the Massachusetts Municipal Attorneys Association said Zaroulis was a leader in the municipal law field.
“For decades, municipal attorneys across the state looked to him for his guidance,” said Lampke.
Zaroulis was the long-time president and executive director of the association and Lampke said “into his 80s Charles was still responding to questions on our listserv and rarely missed a meeting.”
Lampke also said Zaroulis set a standard, never raising his voice and was always “dignified, polished and professional; a wealth of knowledge yet very congenial and comfortable to be around.”
In 2014, attorney Kevin Feeley became Tewksbury’s town counsel, with Zaroulis staying on in the role of senior town counsel. Zaroulis is credited for having the foresight for the eventual transition and transfer of knowledge.
Feeley, who had previously served as the town’s labor counsel, shared his thoughts: “Working with Charles was an incredible experience. Charles was a person of honor and municipal law brilliance. Every time we spoke about an issue or a case I learned something valuable from him. Personally, I miss him very much and I know everyone in Town Hall feels the same.”