Boston Post Cane Recipient Is 100 Years Young

by | Feb 27, 2020

Above: Bill McClintick takes possession of EG’s Boston Post Cane replica at the Town Council meeting Feb. 24.

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

Bill McClintick may be 100 years old but that doesn’t mean he needs a cane to get around. Still, he accepted the town’s Boston Post Cane at the Town Council meeting Monday night.

“I accept this for the historical value. I don’t intend to need to use it for a couple more years,” he said. “If you find somebody that really needs a cane, let me know and we can make arrangements.” 

The tradition of the Boston Post Cane started in 1909, when the Boston Post distributed 700 canes (made of ebony wood with a 14 carat gold top) to cities and towns throughout New England in an effort to boost circulation. It was to be given to the town’s oldest resident. EG’s cane went missing in the 1980s, resurfacing in 2009, when Town Clerk Leigh Carney found it in a poster tube in a closet. The town had a replica cane made – which is what Mr. McClintick received Monday. The original cane is displayed in a case at Town Hall.

The former Navy commander has had a full life, as noted in the proclamation read by Town Council President Mark Schwager at the meeting Monday. Born in Idaho July 1, 1919, McClintick was raised in Peoria, Ill. He joined the Navy Reserves at age 20 and served throughout WWII. In 1944, he was the gunnery officer on the USS Savo Island in the Battle of Leyte Gulf when his ship was hit by a kamikaze. After the war, he served in Bremerhaven, Germany, leading NATO efforts to remove mines from the North Sea. He also was “Q cleared” for the development of the atomic bomb.

Boston Post Cane recipient Bill McClintick with his son, also Bill.

He and his wife settled in East Greenwich in 1957. After retiring from the military, McClintick worked for Sealol Corporation and the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island. He helped found The Episcopal Charities Fund of Rhode Island and served on the boards of Amos House and Kent County YMCA. McClintick also served as president of the EGHS PTA (he and his wife had three children go through the EG schools), is a member of Glenwood Cemetery, and served on the vestry of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, where he remains an active member, regularly joining the property committee for work days.

Neighbors fondly refer to him as “The Mayor of Twin Pond Road.” (You can read the proclamation here: Boston Post Cane/McClintick.)

On Monday, McClintick regaled the council and others in attendance with a few of the people and places he found when he first came to East Greenwich in 1957. He talked of eating at Pal’s, then stopping to buy “tickets” at Tar Tar’s, getting the car fixed at Johnny Forcelli’s, grabbing a bite at the Kent or Jolly Jon’s (where, he added, you could also get water from the Bleachery Spring there). You can hear him talk about earlier days in East Greenwich in the video below.

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