1st Lt. Norman M. Todd
Hero Profile - World War II
Address when enlisted - 354 Jerusalem Rd.
Date of Sacrifice August 7, 1947 - Age 25
Lieutenant Norman M Todd USMCR, died in 1947 as a result of exposure to radiation. "Mac" was among the first marine unit to enter Nagasaki after the atomic bomb was exploded.
The whites and pinks of flowering plants and trees used to provide a splash
of color on every side of Norman Todd Park. Statues used to graced the
garden, and the park used to be seen as a memorial fitting a World War II veteran. However, over the years a lack of maintenance enabled weeds to take root, crowding out the plantings of the past, and crowding out the pride felt by the town for one of its veterans.
But members of the Veteran's Memorial Committee couldn't sit idly by and watch a living memorial become overgrown and the sacrifice of a soldier forgotten, which is why they teamed up with the Cohasset DPW, Water Department, and the garden clubs to rejuvenate the park, which now reflects the beauty of the original garden, which was first dedicated in 1948.
Located at the intersection of Beechwood Street and Norman Todd Road, Norman Todd Park was given to the residents of Cohasset as a gift from the Todd Family, in memory of their son, Norman MacIntosh Todd. Known by his family and friends as "Mac," Norman Todd was a Marine Lieutenant who died from radiation exposure during World War II.
Growing up, Todd spent his summers living at 354 Jerusalem Road, also known as "Greystone Lodge." During the winter, the Todd family lived at the Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston where they had four rooms on the third floor. Todd's father Albert, who was an avid golfer and played every Sunday morning at the Cohasset Golf Club, was the president of United Shoe Machinery Company in Boston. The company was founded by George Brown of Beverly, who was married to Albert Todd's sister. While attending Cornell University, Norman Todd met his future wife Mary Jo
in 1942. Todd graduated from Cornell the following year, and was
commissioned as a Marine Lieutenant in 1944. In October 1944 he married Mary Jo, and seven months later in May of 1945, he was deployed to the Pacific Theater. Todd's was among the first United States Marine units to enter the Japanese city of Nagasaki after the atomic bomb was dropped on August 9, 1945. Like many Marines, he became sick from radiation exposure, and was sent to a hospital in California. His family was not given any information about his ailment, and was not told when Todd would be able to return to Cohasset.
When Todd did return to his hometown, his family was told there was no cure for his illness. Albert Todd, spared no expense on medical exams and treatments for his son. During Norman's illness, the Todd family's nanny Dee Dee Granville cared for Norman. On August 7, 1947, two years after being exposed to the radiation, Norman passed away at his Cohasset home at 119 North Main St., with his wife Mary Jo by his side. He was only 25 years old.
Many Cohasset residents do not remember the days when Norman Todd Park was in pristine condition. For years, local resident Ralph Enos was paid $1.67 per hour by the town to take care of the park. During the years after Enos retired, the park was not maintained and became just another public place with overgrown grass and shrubs. In 2000, Mary Jo and her daughter came to see the park and were both disappointed and surprised to see its condition. Mary Jo in turn sent photos of the original plantings to the Veteran's Memorial Committee, and its members promised her the park would be restored to its original beauty.
The committee requested funding at the fall Special Town Meeting in 2003, and the article passed. With the help of landscape designer and architect Ginny Norman, a planting plan was developed based on the original photographs. Irrigation sprinklers were installed, plants were added to the landscape, and a new memorial plaque was cast for the park, replacing the original plaque that was lost over time.
Chairman of the Veterans Memorial Committee Glenn Pratt provided the Mariner with the information for this article. For more information on Norman "Mac" Todd or any of the Cohasset veterans who have paid the ultimate price in the name of freedom, please visit the Cohasset Veterans Memorial Committee Web site at www.cohassetveteransmemorial.com.