Polly Jackson Townsend


Polly Jackson Townsend died peacefully and surrounded by family on January 29 at the age of 86.  She was the beloved wife of Gerard B. Townsend and loving mother to her four children.  Born in Sewickley, PA on September 2, 1935 to the late William R. and Lucilla (Scribner) Jackson, she lived for 60 years in Manchester-By-The-Sea. 

Polly graduated from Sewickley Academy, Abbot Academy and Smith College.  She met Jerry in Boston and they married in 1958.  She was active in her community and several organizations throughout her life.  She was a Manchester Selectman from 1994 to 1998 and was a Director for 30 years on the board of PDM, a Pittsburgh-based steel fabrication company founded by her grandfather, eventually serving as its Secretary.  She also served on the board of Brookwood School.  Polly was active with the Manchester Republican Party and a state delegate.  She was a founding member of the Manchester Garden Club and of the Friends of Manchester Trees.  She was a member of the Essex County Club, the Manchester Yacht Club, the Chilton Club, the Colonial Dames and the North Shore Garden Club.  Polly was a philanthropist and supported many non-profits. She was a devoted member of both St. John’s Episcopal Church in Beverly Farms, MA and of Emmanuel Church in Manchester. 

Polly treasured her family and friendships.  She stayed close throughout her life with dear friends from childhood, college, and her years in Manchester.  Polly was lots of fun to be with and had a beautiful smile.  She loved gardening, playing golf, tennis, sailing and skiing.  She and Jerry enjoyed museums, Symphony Hall concerts and theater shows.  They travelled extensively and kept wonderful “logs” and photo books of their summer cruises on the Maine coast and other adventures.  She hosted lovely dinner parties at 34 Proctor Street, and her grandchildren will always remember the fun playing “murder in the dark” during summer visits.  Polly and Jerry loved to play bridge, and she continued to play weekly with friends until the COVID shutdown. 

Polly is deeply missed by all who knew her.  She is survived by her children and their spouses: Gerard B. Townsend, Jr. (Jay) of Portland, OR, Sayre and John Gerhart of Corrales, NM, Peter and Christina Townsend of Hamilton, MA, William and Virginia Townsend of Magnolia, MA, and by her five grandchildren, two step-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.  Her husband, brother and sister predeceased her.  

Funeral services will be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 705 Hale Street, Beverly Farms, MA on Friday, March 18, 2022 at 11 am. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association, 480 Pleasant Street, Watertown, MA 02472, www.alz.org.