Merrimack man Roy Ingerson, longtime police officer, is 100 years old

Celebrating Merrimack’s Independence Day festivities as a new centenarian is Roy Ingerson, the cat’s meow to multitudes of school children and their families long before he reached 100-years old.

The former crossing guard at Thorntons Ferry School, born May 30, 1914, was the guest of honor at a birthday party held June 2 at the school, 134 Camp Sargent Road. A convoy of police cars, lights and sirens blazing, escorted him to the door, for Ingerson has a tenure of more than 60 years in law enforcement.

Principal Bridey Bellemare and Sue Robinson, a longtime physical education teacher at the school, along with associate Linda Haskell, a paraeducator, and many other admirers greeted Ingerson. There too was Les Carter, the former principal of the school, and a contingent of Ingerson’s fellow police officers. Ingerson’s son, Gary, and other relatives shared cake, greetings and memories.

Bellemare spoke for dozens when she thanked Ingerson for his many years of service to the school and to the community.

“You’ll always be a part of our family,” Bellemare said. “Thank you for all you’ve done for us.”

Mark Doyle, Merrimack’s police chief, was one of many who congratulated Ingerson, seated in a place of honor not far from a colorful poster depicting some of the elder’s school days at Thorntons Ferry.

Doyle spoke for the thousands of students Ingerson safely conducted through the crosswalk in all manner of weather, and for the police department that the man was a part of for so long.

“Roy touched their lives like he touched ours,” Doyle said. “Thank you very much for all you have done.”

Ingerson also was honored not long before at the Merrimack Police department’s open house, held at its headquarters on Baboosic Lake Road on Saturday, May 10.

The day was a mix of activities geared for all ages. A canine demonstration, a solemn salute to officers lost in the line of duty, music, safety exhibits, games and diversions for kids and adults alike were a part of the celebration.

Ingerson was born in the year of the first scheduled airline flight in Florida. That year, the first steamboat passed through the Panama Canal. Perhaps more noteworthy to the Ingerson family was Henry Ford’s introduction in 1914 of an assembly line designed to streamline the production process of the Model T automobile.

Ingerson recalls that he was a young boy when he and his father attended a customer appreciation dinner hosted by Henry Ford.

The Ingersons owned a Model T and thus were invited to the fancy affair, one hosted by Ford and his then-secretary Edgar Rice Boroughs. Others at the dinner included Thomas Edison and Harvey Firestone. Ingerson said it was quite a thrill for a young boy to shake hands with Henry Ford.

Ingerson spent some 40 years on the Merrimack Police force before he considered retirement. Then, he was offered the post of crossing guard at Thorntons Ferry School.

“I thought I’d give it a try for a week,” Ingerson said. “I stayed for 20 years, starting at age 75.”

The intrusion of some open-heart surgery in 2010, in his mid-90s, inclined him toward retiring from his crossing-guard job. Now, Ingerson is an active 100-year-old who does his share of walking, most times with his son, Gary.

Ingerson read a poem about his average day. He recapped its gist.

“I love my duty,” Ingerson said.

More information about Roy Ingerson’s birthday party can be had by calling Thorntons Ferry School: 889-1577.