An Aurora native, Town Clerk Donna Manzo attended the one-room Caruso School, located in the current Aurora Town Hall. One teacher taught “all nine grades,” totaling 14-15 students, she recalled.
After completing eighth grade, Aurora students “found your own way to high school,” Manzo said. Some students boarded at either Higgins Classical Institute or Lee Academy; Donna rode back and forth to Ellsworth High School with her twin brother, Donald, driving.
After high school she commuted to Husson College to earn an associate’s degree in business administration. Then “I went to work at the Department of Health and Human Services in Ellsworth for 38½ years,” Manzo said.
Retiring from the state in 2005, she started working part time at the nearby Great Pond Outdoor Adventure Center, run by the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Manzo taught Sunday school at the Amherst-Aurora Congregational Church for some years. When her daughters were younger, she volunteered with the Hancock County 4-H. “I just filled in wherever they needed help,” such as chaperoning the 4-H members attending the Eastern States Exposition in Massachusetts, she said.
Daughters Michelle Cote and Judy Manzo live in Aurora, and Donna still attends the Big E as a Maine Wild Blueberry Commission volunteer.
With the town office open only 5-7 p.m., Mondays, residents can conduct business with Manzo at her home. She also provides her town clerk’s services for residents of bordering Township 28.
Manzo likes to spend her time outdoors, often “until dark” as she gardens, works in her blueberry fields, and ATVs in warm weather and cross-country skis and snowmobiles in winter. During the week she cares for her “grand-dog,” a large, friendly yellow Lab named Tundra, and “I like to read in my spare time,” Manzo said.