Jim Soule – President
Jim Soule imported to Fall River 20+ years ago from nearby Bridgewater, Massachusetts, and has worked most of his professional career for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. As an avocational historian and genealogist, he co-founded the Preservation Society of Fall River in 2007 and, in true to fashion to his preservation commitment, is responsible (along with his wife Connie) for the preservation efforts of two Fall River historic properties: the c.1901 Dana Brayton House and the c.1905 Martha B. and Margaret Pevers House.
James Souza – Vice President
James Souza is a lifelong Fall River resident who began his professional career as a systems programmer, creating weapon simulation programs for the Navy in Newport, Rhode Island. After several years, Jim broke out on his own to open the wildly successful New Boston Bakery. In 2013, Jim earned the Benevolent Entrepreneur Award from the Academic Center for Entrepreneurship at Bristol Community College. Aside from his passionate business and philanthropic efforts across the city, he’s also responsible for restoring the c.1922 James Blake House. He is a founding member and Board Director for the Preservation Society, he is chairman of the Community Preservation Committee, and he’s credited with leading a collaborated effort to adopt the Community Preservation Act in Fall River, remarkably the first gateway city in the state to do so.
Gale Powers – Treasurer
Gale Powers is a lifelong Fall River resident. Her organizational skill and attention to detail suits her well as Treasurer for the Preservation Society of Fall River. She is also an active board member of Friends of Oak Grove Cemetery, and a member of Little Theatre of Fall River and the Fall River Historical Society. After a 23 year stint with the lovely world of corporate retail, she works alongside her brother in his Fall River bakery.
Alexander Silva – Clerk
Alexander Silva was born and raised in Fall River, later graduating from UMass Dartmouth with a degree in communications. After moving to Central Massachusetts, he worked as a ghost writer in Boston before becoming the sole editor and reporter for two small town newspapers. While away from Fall River, he served on the Arts History Architecture (AHA) Fall River Steering Committee and helped form the Fall River Alliance volunteer group. Now back in his hometown, he serves on the Preservation Society of Fall River’s Board of Directors.
Maria Connie Soule
Maria Connie Soule was born on Sao Miguel, Portugal, and came to Fall River with her family when she was 5 years old. She has worked her professional career at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Before finishing her nursing education, she also worked at various Fall River mills stitching and inspecting. Although preferring a low profile, in fact, she’s the brains and creative power behind her husband Jim’s 20 years of local preservation efforts.
Larry Dykes, raised in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, was introduced to antiques and antique homes at a very early age. As a teen, he assisted in renovating his family home (an 1850’s saltbox). This began his lifelong interest and passion for the collection, restoration, and preservation of antiquities. Larry became a collector of antiques in his early teens and has continued to do so to the present. He relocated to Fall River in 2004 and purchased a pre-1850 Greek Revival home in Fall River’s Highlands Historic District. He currently serves as a Director for the Preservation Society of Fall River as well as an appointed committee member for the Fall River Historical Commission and the Fall River Local Historic District Commission. Larry has been actively employed in the construction industry for 32 years and, in 2011, established “LTD Acoustical Ceiling, Inc.” and is the current acting president.
Peter A. Belanger of Fall River, a woodworker by trade, is one of the founders of the Narrows Center for the Arts and a former president of its Board of Directors. Whether it’s being among the first to work to paint the Braga Bridge blue or building walls and running the soundboard for local and national acts at the Narrows, he is all about finding the art of seeing what can be shaped and chipping away to make a new form. He’s also volunteered for vents like the Fall River Festival of the Arts, Narrows Festival of the Arts (known now as Spindle City Fest), Fall River Celebrates America, and was a founding member of the Kids World Organization. However, his greatest pride is in raising his daughter Andrea Belanger.
Andrea Belanger was born in Fall River’s Flint Neighborhood. The daughter of a carpenter, she grew up with a profound love and appreciation for the unique details structures both new and old present. From a young age, her parents fostered within her the belief and understanding of the beauty and power sewn into Fall River’s rich history. The Narrows Center for the Arts, First Night Fall River, the Healthier Cities project and the first ever Fall River Youth Council are all community volunteer efforts she’s been a part of through the years. In recent years, she has parlayed her love of property into a burgeoning real estate career leading the #29th real estate team in the region, Team Bell.
John Silva was born and raised in Fall River and graduated from B.M.C. Durfee High School. John lives in Fall River with his husband, Jack. Growing up in Fall River, John was always amazed and impressed with the old historic buildings and architecture. As an adult, he advocates to preserve the buildings and open spaces that he grew to appreciate. After 30 years in banking and finance, John changed his career to work in human services. John is also a local realtor. Family and community are important in his life. John is very involved in the Greater Fall River community and participates on several community boards and steering committees for diversity and at risk families.
Jennifer Smith is a lifelong Fall River resident. Despite a physical disability, she does not allow her limitations to impair her commitment to life. She works as a CMA at a local medical office and she raises her three children in the city. She loves Fall River’s history and architecture, and carries an intense knowledge of the city’s neighborhoods and local lore. More than a preservationist, Jen considers herself a committed Fall Riverite, quoting from HL Mencken about her hometown, “It is as much a part of me as my two hands. If I had to leave it I’d be as certainly crippled as if I lost a leg.”
Jahnna Khoury is a Fall River native. A member of the musical act, “The Khourys,” her art has taken her to California, but her passion for the city of Fall River drove her all the way back home. Her grandmother and great aunts were all employed at the Fall River Knitting Mills. Her family has instilled in her the values of this great city and its architecture. She now brings her passion for the city as a new Director of the Preservation Society of Fall River.