David J. Lane


David J. Lane of Essex, MA passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on February 13th, 2020 at the age of 92. 

Dave was born in Gloucester, MA to Roy and Clara (Clark) Lane.  After being admitted to Harvard, he enlisted in the US Navy, serving near the end of WWII. After the war, Dave returned to Harvard with the help of the GI Bill, and graduated with a degree in Engineering. He then moved to New York City where he got a job in insurance and met native New Yorker, Claire Beckman who quickly became his dancing partner and soon after, his wife.

After Dave and Claire were married, they moved back to the family farm in Essex. In 1957 Dave became a co-owner of the Tapley Insurance Agency which after a merger became the Hastings-Tapley Insurance Agency, where he served as Chairman.  Dave helped grow Hastings-Tapley into one of the largest agencies in this region with a focus on exceptional customer service and all the employees were dedicated to this goal.  He continued in the insurance field, spending time on the Boards of many professional associations, teaching insurance professionals, and garnering many certifications and awards, including ‘Insurance Professional of the Year’ by Insurance Library Association of Boston in 2004.

Dave was highly active in elective public service and in over three decades never lost an election. He was elected to the Massachusetts State House of Representatives in 1972, representing Essex, Ipswich, Gloucester, Hamilton and Rowley and served for six years. Through compromise and collaboration, Dave was able forward many bills to improve the lives of his constituents and the entire Commonwealth. He served as Essex Town Moderator for 25 years during many town milestones including school regionalization with Manchester, the sewer agreement with Gloucester and increasing resident access to Conomo Point.  Dave loved the town meeting where townspeople could voice their concerns, debate and then vote on legislative and budgetary issues.

Outside of politics, Dave also served his community as a Trustee of City on a Hill Charter High School in Boston and on the Board of Directors of Oak Hill, a local affordable housing complex created for seniors and the disabled.  He also had a long list of charities he supported including City On A Hill Foundation, Trustees of Reservations, Essex County Greenbelt, and Essex Shipbuilding Museum to name a few. This philanthropy showed his commitment to education, the environment and local historic preservation.  Dave worked with Essex County Greenbelt over several years to protect 69 acres of the family farm under a conservation restriction to preserve the open space for future generations.

The Lane home was a host to many family get-togethers.  Living on a property with a freshwater pond and a tidal saltwater cove, resulted in skating and sledding parties in the winter and beach parties and boating in the summer.  Dave also had a boat docked at Perkins marina which provided for many excursions on the Essex river, Ipswich bay and around Cape Ann. He loved to get out on the boat to the fresh air of the ocean.

Dave and Claire enjoyed traveling the world in their later years and shared many adventures with friends and family. They visited every continent and Dave even swam in the Antarctic Ocean (although very briefly).

On the farm in Essex, Dave’s passion was working on the tractor, maintaining the property, and of course, the annual brush pile burn.  His work jacket was so broken in, it was held together with duct tape and he could never part with it. He always supported local businesses and contractors using their services to take care of all our family needs.  He frequently dined out with family and friends at the restaurants in Essex, but his favorite was the Village Restaurant with their Eastern Point Combo specialty. Dave loved walking around the family farm property and always found something that needed fixing like potholes in the gravel road or poison ivy to be sprayed.  He loved the small town feel of Essex and enjoyed Saturday trips to the “dump” to which he referred as the town’s great equalizer. Dave was fully engaged in the town and was loved by many and will be missed.

 Dave is predeceased by his wife Claire and survived by his sister Judy (Schroeter) of Hingham, daughter Heather (John) Daley of Wellesley, son Jud (Tina) Lane of Essex and four Grandchildren Erin, David, Tara and Jordan as well as many cousins, nieces, nephews and extended family members. Nothing pleased Dave more than hosting gatherings of friends and family.  With that in mind his family is inviting all to a celebration of Dave’s life at The Essex Room (behind Woodman’s), 125 Main Street

Essex, Massachusetts 01929 on Saturday, March 7 at 11am followed by a reception.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to support two important ongoing projects in the Town of Essex;

 1)   The Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum Historic Hay Barn Rescue Project


2)   The First Congregational Church of Essex Steeple Repair Project.  This steeple houses a Paul Revere Bell.


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