By Cindy Ryherd

November is the one-year anniversary of the November 14, 2020 dedication of the Squires Community Patio, making it the perfect month to talk about our second newly named space (the Saunders Room already discussed in Part I of this series).

The Jim & Jan Squires Community Patio

Jim & Jan Squires Community Patio

More commonly referred to as the Squires Community Patio, it is officially named the Jim & Jan Squires Community Patio. Completed and dedicated a year ago, the patio, located on the east side of the church, was conceived by a team of visionaries at the church who recognized an opportunity to improve the facilities while addressing a legal need for fire safety. Designed by Dennis Mires of The Architects, and installed by local business, Morin’s Landscaping, who also generously donated a lawn sprinkler system, the Squires Community Patio is intended to be a vibrant venue for town activities, and a welcoming spot for the community to enjoy fellowship with neighbors.

The patio naming opportunity was valued at $250,000 due to its highly visible location as the centerpiece of the recently completed church renovation. In line with their belief in giving back to the community, a value that Jan and Jim instilled in their children, the Squires family generously gifted over half the cost for the patio hoping to inspire others to invest in our community by donating generously in Jan and Jim’s honor.

Jim and Jan’s son, Marc Squires, shared during the dedication, “The patio truly looks like it has been here forever which is an amazing testament to the care and the work that went into this. The thought of having this community space for everyone to use in the church and in the town and the memories that will be made here is more special than my family could ever articulate.”

About Jim and Jan Squires

Jan & Jim Squires

Jim and Jan Squires married in 1960 and eventually settled in Hollis in 1971. They have been active members of the community ever since (50 years!). Their four children were raised in Hollis, educated in the local public schools, and attended the Congregational Church of Hollis.

Jan was active in many community organizations in addition to the church, taking special interest in Beaver Brook Association, Friends of the Hollis Social Library, and the Hollis School District. She also served for many years as an elected Supervisor of the Checklist. Jan’s enthusiasm, positive spirit, and belief that each day is a precious gift enriched the lives of all those around her. She passed away in 2013 and is still loved and missed by all who knew her.

Jim served in the US Air Force as a medical officer, built a practice as a general surgeon, and along with four others, founded the Matthew Thornton Health Plan, the state’s first Health Maintenance Organization. The Matthew Thornton HMO grew to service more than 60,000 individuals. Jim also served as the first president of the Endowment for Health which is dedicated to serving the state’s neediest residents by championing affordable health care and advocating for the poor and underserved. Throughout his career, Dr. Squires has been an articulate, compassionate, effective, and non-partisan voice for health policies to reduce the burden of illness for New Hampshire residents.

Like his wife Jan, Jim is a firm believer in public service. He was Hollis’ Town Moderator and Moderator for the local school district and for the Congregational Church of Hollis for decades. He served two terms as New Hampshire state senator and ran a principled campaign for governor, finishing second in a crowded primary.

In addition to their four children (two of whom live in Hollis), Jim and Jan Squires have a total of fourteen grandchildren. Jim lives in Hollis with his son, Marc Squires, Marc’s wife Jen, and their four young children, including twins born just this summer who will never know the church WITHOUT the patio named after their grandparents! What a wonderful legacy!

The 2020 Dedication

The Squires Family at Patio Dedication Ceremony

During the dedication of the patio last year, Rev. Tanya shared that when she was being interviewed for the pastor position, Jim said to her “Tanya there’s a really special tradition we have in our church. At the conclusion of every service, we close with these words ‘Let us now go forth into the world in peace, being of good courage…’” Tanya said he then proceeded to recite the entire Common Commission. Afterward, he said to her, “I appreciate it because it reminds me of the person I want to be every day, not just in church, but we say ‘Let us go forth into the WORLD’. She shared, “I will never forget that moment…”

In wrapping up the dedication, Rev. Tanya said in prayer, “And so, it is very appropriate to me that this space here should be dedicated in honor and memory of Dr. Jim and Jan Squires, whose lives have embodied our common commission in our community and in the wider world. May their examples be carried forward as this sacred space, where our church meets the town and meets the world, continues to strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, help the afflicted, and honor every person as we love and serve the Lord with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. And now we dedicate this space, henceforth to be known as the Jim & Jan Squire Community Patio, that we might continue to serve Your purposes of reaching out to, loving, and serving others. We bestow upon it the Squires name in honor and recognition of the many ways that Jim and Jan selflessly loved and served others, especially the young, the vulnerable, the sick, and the needy after Jesus’ own example. May today be just the first of countless joyful gatherings on this patio that bring people together in our community. Thanks be to God.”

Thanks be to God indeed, for Jim and Jan and the entire Squires family for their generosity of love, time, talent, and financial support over many, many years.

Click on image below to see photo album of 2020 Squires Community Patio cedication ceremony

© 2023 The Congregational Church of Hollis, UCC