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Super Senior: Daniel Fleetham - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Super Senior: Daniel Fleetham

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CANAAN, N.H. -

It's food prep time at the Mascoma Senior Center in Canaan New Hampshire. Once a week Daniel Fleetham volunteers his time.  He delivers Meals On Wheels, something he's been doing for just about a decade. But his partner has been delivering for over 30 years, his dad Daniel Fleetham Sr.

"It's something that has to be done and I have the time and I try to fill in," commented this week's Super Senior.

The two Daniels know the roads like the backs of their hands and they should, both were raised in the town of 3,600.

"Does everyone in town know you?" asked Reporter Joe Carroll.

"Yeah the good and the bad," replied Fleetham

After the Daniel Senior's wife Betty died, Daniel Jr. Moved back to New Hampshire.

"Soup makes it more fun," commented Daniel Fleetham Jr.

It's now a father, son routine, delivering 9 meals to 6 residents.

"My guess is that you are older than all the people you deliver food to," said Reporter Joe Carroll.

"That's right!" answered Fleetham Sr.

Daniel Fleetham is 100 years old.

"What do you think of your dad?" Reporter Joe Carroll asked Fleetham Jr.

"I really love him, he's been a role model over the years," he commented.

Of course he had to make a living, he's been an innkeeper, worked at the local school, but the job he loved the most was in the courts. You see Daniel Fleetham is also Judge Fleetham.

He was a lay judge, meaning he has no formal legal training. The judge dealt mostly with misdemeanors such as traffic violations. Some nicknamed him the 25 Buck Judge for the fines he imposed.  He held court in his family's inn.

"Held it in the office and if there were too many in the court session, we would move it into the dining room," said Fleetham Sr.

Critics said the lay judges lacked professionalism, the judge said what it had was common sense, something he says is lacking now.

"It all goes, strict law, strict law, strict law," he said.

One case stood out, it involved a boy who broke into a store.

"There was his parents right in public saying he's no god damn good!" recalled Fleetham Sr.

The judge disagreed.

"We sat in my quarters and ate ice cream and talked and the kid knew animals from A to Z," he remembered.

The boy was sent to a detention farm down in Concord and Daniel pleaded with the warden to keep the kid away from the troublemakers.

"And they got him into the dairy and he loved it and did so well," said Fleetham Sr.

So well that he went on to be an agriculture inspector in Indiana and named his first child after the Judge.

"The best part of being a judge was being able to help children," commented the Super Senior.

In 1982 New Hampshire got rid of the lay judge system and Daniel retired after nearly 30 years. But the judge hasn't slowed down.

"He's an inspiration? an inspiration?" reporter Joe Carroll asked of Fleetham Jr.

"Yeah I hope I have plenty of the genes," he responded.

The Fleetham men have no plans to stop their weekly meal deliveries. For the judge who has spent most of his life in this small community he's made a world of difference to many.

"Another day, another dollar," he said.

The judge started at Norwich University but he had to leave during the Depression.  He finally got his degree at a nearby college when he was in his 60's.

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