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Board of Directors

Paul Miller

Paul R. Miller grew up in Acton, Massachusetts, where some of the first Minutemen responded to the alarm at Lexington and Concord. 
Raised with a deep sense of history, Paul is involved with various museums, non-profits, and charities that promote historic preservation, underserved communities, and the arts. He studied Government, Law and Public Affairs, with a minor in International History at Boston University College of Communications. He is a Real Estate Consultant, Advisor and owner active in the New England states and New York. He has lived in Bay Village, the site of the fire, for 20 years. 

Michael Hanlon
Vice President & Treasurer

Michael is a lifelong civil servant and has been a resident of Boston for 45 years. Mr. Hanlon served in City Hall in the administrations of Boston Mayor Kevin White and Mayor Raymond Flynn, as well as with State Treasurer Shanon O'Brien. He is a alumnus of Harvard University and holds both a graduate and undergraduate degree in Government. Michael also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Watertown Library. He handles administration and development for the Committee.

Casey Grant


Casey is a Fire Protection Engineer who has  authored and presented multiple articles and presentations on the Cocoanut Grove Fire.  He has served as the Executive Director of the Fire Protection Research Foundation and has held multiple roles with the National Fire Protection Association.  He holds  graduate and undergraduate degrees in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland and Worcester Polytechnical Institute. Today he is Executive Director of DSRAE, LLC, an independent professional consulting firm with a focus on the design and implementation of research for the fire protection and emergency response communities.

Paul Christian

Paul is a lifelong resident of Boston and retired from the Boston
Fire Department in 2006 following a 38 year career. He rose through the ranks, serving in all grades, eventually becoming Fire Commissioner & Chief of Department. He is recognized for his knowledge of Boston history and that of the BFD. He has lectured at Harvard University and Suffolk University, as well as numerous civic and fire related organizations on the history and growth of the Boston Fire Department, the Great Boston Fire, the Cocoanut Grove Fire, and other major events. He recently authored “South Boston on Parade”, a history of the Evacuation and St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

James Cafarelli

Jim is a concept developer, designer, restaurateur, Emmy Award-winning television producer, and Dorchester-native. He owned the Rustic Kitchen restaurant located within a portion of the Cocoanut Grove site for over a decade. Through his research, he was able to pinpoint the exact layout of the Grove's footprint which had become obscured from years of urban development and street relocations. His interest led him to the dedication ceremony of Cocoanut Grove Way in 2013 and a chance meeting with board member Paul Christian. Soon they began informal meetings which grew into the Cocoanut Grove Memorial Committee.

Bill Noonan

Bill served as a Boston firefighter for nearly 40 years, originally assigned to Engine Co. 3 in the South End, and later transferred to the Fire Investigation Unit as a photographer. He has published four fire-related photography books and continues to stay interested in the Boston Fire Department since retiring in 2011. Bill's interest in the Cocoanut Grove began when he first read the book “Holocaust” by Paul Benzaquin, as a high school student, over 50 years ago. Married to his wife, Patricia they have two children and two grandchildren.

Ruth Kopf_2.jpg
Ruth A Knopf

Ruth is a New Jersey native who has made Boston her home since 1973 and is a 32 year resident of Bay Village. She was co-owner of a Beacon Hill business, worked for several commercial property management companies, and recently retired from a 20 year career with the City of Boston, during which she served as assistant to the Chief of Dept of Boston Emergency Medical Services and as project manager for the Boston Public Health Commission. As President of the Bay Village Neighborhood Association (BVNA), from 1991-92.  she oversaw and executed the now famous plaque to honor the 50th anniversary of the Cocoanut Grove fire of 1942, which was located in this neighborhood. 

Dr. Kenneth Marshall, MD
President, Emiritus (in Memoriam)

Dr. Marshall is the son of a Boston City Hospital nurse who treated victims of the Cocoanut Grove Fire. He is a graduate of the Harvard Surgical Service at Boston City Hospital where over 300 were cared for after the fire. He is the Former Chief of Plastic Surgery at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. Marshall is also the Former President of the Massachusetts, New England & Northeastern Societies of Plastic Surgery. He served in Vietnam in the United States Navy, LCDR-R, where he worked as a Flight Surgeon on the USS Intrepid. He has presented multiple papers on the monumental changes in health care after the fire.

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