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Page 12 NEWFOUNDLAKELIFE.COM August 2022 Community
 Once a Newfound Bear, Always a Newfound Bear
By leslie sanDerson
When I asked Paul Berton if he'd spend time with me for an interview, he said I'd have to read something first. It was a let- ter from the Newfound Region Chamber of Commerce to the television giant NBC proposing a human interest story centered around Phyllis Berton, Paul's mother. In the letter, the Chamber described Phyllis as a high-energy person who was known to all as a friend and whose hard work as Executive Director of the Cham- ber improved the Newfound re- gion. Paul Berton is much like his mother, energetic, and a positive contributor to Newfound. He has an engaging smile, with perhaps a smidgen of mischief.
I met with Paul at Newfound Necessities, a bakery, and cafe serving breakfast and lunch daily. Paul recently opened in Bristol at the intersection of Route 3A and West Shore Road, at the foot of the Lake. We were frequently interrupted by Paul's friends greeting and joking with him and customers complimenting the cafe.
Originally from Chelmsford, Massachusetts, his parents pur- chased a cottage in Bridgewa- ter on Whittemore Point in the
1950s and brought their sons David and Paul and daughter Lynda to Newfound for sum- mers of swimming and sailing on the Lake. "Those summers were a Norman Rockwell exis- tence," says Berton. "We had the good fortune of being neighbors with the Williams family, who introduced us to downhill skiing during the state's ski industry growth period." Paul remembers watching the ski trails being built on Ragged Mountain from Whit- temore Point. "To us, it seemed like Vail or Zermatt," he recalls. Summer weekends on Newfound expanded to winter weekends on Ragged Mountain for Paul and his brother, who both skied there while Phyllis waited for them in the base lodge.
In the 1960s, the family moved to Newfound and established the Bristol Five & Ten, a dry goods store on Central Square. "It had everything from hair curlers to Chinese jump ropes," Paul and David would joke. They both worked in the business which his mother began running in 1968, and whose work ethic made an enduring impression on Paul. The community's support for the family also deeply affected Paul.
Paul developed a large circle
Paul Berton
of friends - kids summering at Newfound, and local classmates, many of whom skied with him. When Paul attended Newfound Regional High School, there were many "young teachers, fired up" men deferred from the US Army draft. He remembers and is thankful for their dedication and enthusiasm. His influential teachers include Al Blakeley, Ralph Dixon, Tim Mahurin, and Archie Auger.
In high school, he was a New- found Bear junior ski racer, com- peting throughout New England. After his positive high school ex-
perience, he attended Plymouth State, where he raced on the ski team. Asked what his best mo- ment in ski racing was, Paul said that there is no one moment, but simply "the thrilling opportunity to put the poles over the wand and push over the start." After that, skiing defined his adoles- cence and took him all over the world.
Right after college graduation, in an unexpected circumstance, he was appointed the Head Ski Coach at UNH at the age of 21! He coached for 15 years, built up a real estate business, and raised
his two daughters, Kendall and Karla, near Durham, NH. Now he owns property that is at the junction of Hebron, Bridgewater, and Plymouth." I am very fortu- nate to be able to split my time between the Lake and mountains here and the seacoast in Rye, NH."
Seven years ago, Paul and Linda Drake Normandin, a classmate Bear, saw the financial struggles that many Newfound Regional High School graduates have when planning to continue their education. They established the Blakely-Mills Newfound Re- gional Scholarship Foundation, a scholarship endowment for any Newfound Bear to continue edu- cation - college, technical school, junior college, certificate pro- gram. They have been awarding scholarships to six students yearly and plan to grow the endowment. When Paul and Linda launched the "Donate Your Age" cam- paign in 2021, Newfound Bear alumni helped lift the fund to $100,000. For more information and to donate to the Blakely-Mills Scholarship fund, go to www.
You may spot Paul biking around the Lake or pinching a donut from the pastry rack at Newfound Necessities. No matter where, his wicked sense of humor and friendliness feel like a "Bear" hug.
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