Massachusetts News

Bridges in Boston

On Friday, November 9, 2012 the Irish Echo Golden Bridges Awards Luncheon was held in Boston, Massachusetts. The David R. Burke Golden Bridges Award was presented to Kathleen O’Toole, former Boston Police Commissioner and former Chief Inspector of the Garda Inspectorate. Pictured left to right are: Dan O’Toole, retired Boston Police Officer; Kathleen O’Toole, award recipient; Jack Lahey, AOH Essex County President; Patricia Burke, the widow of David R. Burke; Bill Sullivan, AOH National Board; Bob Collins, Mass State Board; and Martin O Muilleoire of the Irish Echo.

Massachu 1A

On Wednesday, December 12, 2012, Division 8 in Lawrence, Massachusetts held their Annual Christmas Celebration. During the festivities, Francis A. O’Connor, Sr., was presented his AOH National Life Membership Certificate, Membership Card and Medallion. Pictured left to right are: Keith Murphy, AOH State Secretary; Bill Sullivan, Division President; Frank O’Connor, Sr., Award Recipient; George J. Thomas, AOH National Life Member; and Jack Lahey, AOH Essex County President. All five men are members of Division 8 AOH in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Meehan to receive Golden Bridges Award

In 2007, Mairtin O Muilleoir, publisher of the Irish Echo, announced the Golden Bridges award, to be annually presented in tribute to those who had built golden bridges of prosperity and investment between the U.S. and the North of Ireland.

This year, the recipients are author Mike MacDonald, Mary McAleer of the Irish American Partnership and AOH Past National President Jack Meehan. Jack was nominated by Boston’s undocumented Irish community for his more than 30 years of service to that cause.

The awards will be presented at a luncheon to be held at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Centre, Boston, on November 11. The guest speaker will be Gerry Adams, TD. Our congratulations to Jack.

In Memoriam

John P. Concannon, 86, Past AOH National Historian passed away on March 3, 2011. John was born July 1, 1924 and lived most of his life in Clason Point, the Bronx and Flushing, Queens. An Irish-American journalist and a former public relations guru for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, has died. Concannon, who was born in the Bronx and attended Monroe High School, began his career at the New York Public Library. John was National Historian for the AOH for many years and a member of the AOH in Monmouth County, NJ where he was named Irishman of the year in 2005.  He got his start in journalism as a mail boy for Collier’s magazine and eventually wrote the publication’s “What’s New” column. He later became a financial editor at Newsweek, and served as president of the New York Financial Writers Association. He went on to write for the Irish Echo and was co-author of the book “The Irish American Who’s Who.” He and his wife of more than 50 years, Bridget, raised their two daughters, Maryhelen and Allanah, in Clason Point. The couple later moved to Flushing, Queens. Bridget Concannon died in 2006.  He is survived by two daughters, five grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. A Mass was celebrated at St. Andrew Avellino Church with a burial at St. Raymond’s Cemetery in the Bronx. Donations may be sent to the Irish Christian Brothers, 33 Pryer Terrace, New Rochelle, NY 10804.


James Francis Powers, 81, passed away January 14, 2011. James was the Florida State Secretary. Born on July 15, 1929 he lived in Land O Lakes, Florida. He was the loving husband for 51 years and preceded in death by his wife Mary. James was a United States Air Force veteran serving in the Korean Conflict. He then retired in January 1985 after 38 years with Continental Can Company. James was a Eucharistic minister and a very active member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and Loved to play golf with his family and friends. He was past Grand Knight and active with the Knights of Columbus locally, state wide and nationally. As well as being a Marshall at the J C Penney Golf Classic. Each week volunteered his time making packages to send to our Service men with the Support our Troops Inc. of Wesley Chapel and volunteered as an election official. A funeral Mass was celebrated at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Land O’ Lakes. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Support our Troops Inc., Attn: Bob Williams, P.O. Box 7560, Wesley Chapel, and FL 33543.


Raphael O’Geaney (Raphe Jones) passed away Tuesday, March 8, 2011.  Raphe was born in Charleston from a long line of recent and centuries old Irish immigrants.  He could trace his origins from one side as far back as the 1600’s.  He was a United States Marine and had studied law in Oxford and at the Sorbonne.  He was a loyal American but very proud of his Irish heritage and history.  He was one of the founding brothers of the St. Columba division in Columbia, South Carolina and served as Division President, President of the AOH State Board and was Deputy National Organizer.  He was the author of the AOH recruiting video “The Way Home.”  He was instrumental in the late 1990’s in helping form a number of divisions in South Carolina and surrounding states.  He was a loyal friend and a true Hibernian brother.  He will be greatly missed by all.

John Thomas Conway, 76, died at his home in South Yarmouth, MA on January 21, 2011. He was the beloved husband of Elizabeth L. (Mayberry) Conway. Born in Winthrop, he was a 1953 graduate of BC High and a 1957 graduate of Boston College. He received his M.Ed. from Salem State College. A long time resident of Winthrop, he was a former Teacher-Coach in Boston, Billerica and Winthrop. He also worked in sales for Liberty Mutual and owned and operated his own insurance, real estate and travel agency in Winthrop. He later worked many years as a real estate sales agent on Cape Cod, most recently with Cape Cod Associates in Harwich. Mr. Conway was a member of the Greater Boston Board of Realtors where he was the former chairmen of public relations. He was also past president of Council H, National Association of Realtors and a member of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors and the Cape and Islands Board of Realtors. He served as Past President of the Winthrop Rotary Club and was a Paul Harris Fellow and Chairmen of Fundraising for 18 years. He was past president of the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce and YMCA, former trustee and chairmen of fundraising for Winthrop Hospital, recipient of Distinguished Service Award given by the Winthrop Jaycees and chaired numerous golf tournaments for D.Y.E.C.H. and Harwich — Dennis Rotary Club. Mr. Conway was a Parishioner of Saint Pius X Church in South Yarmouth. He was also a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Knights of Columbus. In addition to his wife he leaves eight children, Fr. Michael Conway, SDB, Sean Conway and his wife Annmarie, Kelly Spain, Timothy Conway, Colleen Sennott and her husband Kevin, Kerry Dumas and her husband Robert, Erin Conway and Patricia Bell and her husband Leroy. He also leaves 17 grandchildren, a sister Maureen Ford and was the brother of the late Lt. Col. James Conway. A Funeral Mass was celebrated on Monday January 24 at Saint Pius X Church, South Yarmouth


Leonard “Link” Augustus Hurgin, Sr., 88, passed away peacefully on Thursday, February 17, 2011 surrounded by his children. He was the husband of Dorothy Kelly Hurgin. A lifetime Bethel resident, Leonard grew up as the middle child of Frank E. and Edna Von gal Hurgin at 81 Grassy Plain Street. After graduation from Bethel High School in 1940, he worked for Logan Brothers on Grassy Plain Street. He served in the Army of the United States from 1943 to 1946, as an x-ray technician. Link, as he was fondly called, was quite the pitcher (southpaw) in his younger years. He played minor league baseball in 1947 for the Lawton Giants, Sooner State League (Oklahoma) and the Fort Smith (Arkansas) Giants, both affiliations of the former New York Giants. He did not return the following year as he met the love of his life, Dorothy Jean Kelly and decided to remain in Bethel. They were married April 7, 1951. Link entered the U.S. Postal Service in 1949 and saw his small town grow into the wonderful community he so dearly loved. He served as postmaster from 1969 until his retirement in October of 1986. Who could ever forget the years he had to leave the Hurgin Christmas Eve party to empty the overflowing mail box in front of the post office or the Santa letters he would bring home and share with us. For the last several years, he served as a trustee to St. Mary Church and was a daily worshiper at the 9 a.m. Mass. He and Dorothy served as cemetery administrators for 19 years as well as volunteering in many other church activities. He was a lifelong member of the Knights of Columbus, Pavia Council #48 and the Knights of Columbus, Fourth Degree, Rev. John D. Kennedy, Assembly 99. Link was involved in many organizations over the years, including the American Legion Post 100, Ancient Order of Hibernians, Catholic War Veterans, Danbury Post 1042, Danbury Old Timers Association of Greater Danbury, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, Chapter 2069. For many years, he was an integral part of the annual Hibernian’s Irish Festival. Link’s family will miss him dearly A Mass was celebrated at St. Mary’s Church, In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Mgsr. Karl’s St. Mary’s Scholarship Fund, c/o Church of St. Mary, 26 Dodgingtown Road, Bethel, CT 06801.


Charles M. “Chad” McCollam Jr., 78, of Bethel, a former Bethel First Selectman and Executive Aide to Gov. Ella T. Grasso and Chief of Staff to Gov.William A. O’Neill, died on January 12th at the Danbury Hospital surrounded by his loving family. Mr. McCollam was member of the John A. Gildea Division AOH of Danbury since 1959 and served as President in 1961. He was the husband of Sheila M. (O’Brien) McCollam. Mr. McCollam was born December 7, 1932 in Bethel, the son of the late Charles M. Sr. and Bertha (Mullaney) McCollam. A lifelong resident, he was a graduate of Bethel schools, Fairfield Preparatory School, and a graduate of Boston College, Class of 1955. Following college, Mr. McCollam served in the U.S. Army where he was stationed in Germany until his discharge in 1958. Early in his political career, Mr. McCollam served Bethel as its state representative in the Connecticut General Assembly during the 1959, 1963 and 1965 legislative sessions. He was a Delegate to the 1965 Connecticut Constitutional Convention, and had served as Clerk of the Connecticut State Senate from 1967 thru 1975. In November 1969, Mr. McCollam was elected First Selectman for the Town of Bethel, a position he would hold until July 1975, at which time he was appointed by then Gov. Ella T. Grasso as Deputy Commissioner of Community Affairs. In July 1976, he was named Executive Aide to Governor Grasso and remained in that position through January 1980 at which time Governor Grasso resigned due to illness. Mr. McCollam remained in his position Executive Aide to Governor William A. O’Neill from 1980 thru 1985, at which time he was named Governor O’Neill’s Chief of Staff, a position he would hold until his retirement in 1989. Following his retirement, Mr. McCollam returned to Bethel where he, along with his family continued to manage the family insurance business, started by his mother Bertha McCollam in 1941. Mr. McCollam was a longtime parishioner of St. Mary Church, Bethel. He was a lifelong fan of the Giants, treasured time spent with family and friends at his home on Block Island where he was a 37 year part time resident, traveled to Ireland with his family nine times, and loved the Irish people and Irish music. Mr. McCollam was once named by Connecticut Magazine as one of the Top 10 Most Powerful People in the State of Connecticut. A strong believer in public service, he felt it important that you give back to your community because your community gave to you. Public service was a cornerstone of his life as both a state and local official. He cared deeply about people, their plight, and how government can help them. He used the influence of his office to help people from all walks of life. Yet, he was a man of understatement who avoided the limelight. He listened intently and offered in few words a crisp analysis that could point one in the right direction. He had a big heart with room enough for family, friends, and anyone who needed a helping hand. In addition to his wife Sheila of 52 years, Mr. McCollam is survived by his six children. A Mass was celebrated on Monday January 17th at St. Mary Church, Bethel.


Leo M. Corkery, 80, died Jan. 3, 2011 in New Bern, NC. He was born in Jamestown, NY on Feb. 7, 1930, to Leo M. Corkery, Sr. and Rose Hart Corkery. He was a former member of Ss. Peter & Paul Parish, a graduate of Jamestown High School and a graduate of Saint Bonaventure University, where he was an All-American basketball player. He went on to play in the NBA for the Fort Wayne Pistons. He is a member of the Chautauqua County Sports Hall of Fame. Leo served his country in the U.S. Army, and he was employed with IBM for 30 years and was a long-time resident of Bethel, CT before retiring to New Bern, NC. Leo was a great contributor to both the Knights of Columbus and the Ancient Order of Hibernians.  He was  honored as Danbury Hibernian of the Year in 1993. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Marlene Garfield Corkery; one son, Michael P. Corkery (Alison) of Reston, VA; one daughter, Bridget M. Corkery of Cleveland, OH; two sisters: Mary Louise Corkery and Anne C. Seekins, both of Jamestown, NY; two grandchildren, Hailey and Chloe Corkery, both of Reston, Va.; and several nieces and nephews. A memorial Mass was held at St. Paul Catholic Church in New Bern, NC. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: St. Paul Catholic School 3007 Country Club Road, New Bern, NC 28562.


Captain William Edward Cody, a man of principles, went home to his eternal rest on November 22, 2010 surrounded by his loving family. Born in Stamford on April 15, 1953 to Ann Burns Cody and the late Edward J. Cody, Bill attended St. Johns Parochial School and Stamford Catholic High School where he was a standout in Football and Track. An Eagle Scout, Bill received a Congressional appointment to the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, where he again was a standout on the football team coached by the late George Paterno. Upon graduation, Bill was commissioned an Ensign in the United States Navy Reserve and a 3rd mate in the U. S. Merchant Marine. Bill then sailed the world as he achieved an MBA from UCONN. In 1987, Bill received his U.S. Coast Guard license as a Master, Unlimited Tonnage, giving him the right to Captain any size ship on the world’s oceans. Upon completion of his sailing career Bill and his wife Felicitas Loughran Cody, lived in Palos Verdes, CA where Bill managed ships at the Port of Long Beach/Los Angeles and enjoyed all that California has to offer including many evenings watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. Returning to CT, Bill and Felicitas settled in Stamford while Bill managed ships for several companies in the maritime industry, most recently General Maritime in NYC. A devout Catholic and man of integrity, Bill was a 4th degree knight in the Knights of Columbus Lodge of New Canaan, and a past president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, General Philip Sheridan Division in Stamford. A Mass of was held at The Basilica of St. John the Evangelist, Stamford, on Saturday, November 27th. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Ancient Order of Hibernians Window Fund for The Basilica of St. John the Evangelist, c/o Ann Rafter, Ancient Order of Hibernians, 186 Grey Rock Place, Stamford, CT 06901.


Steven Zaleta, 64, of Roxbury and Litchfield, died quietly at home December 10, 2010. Mr. Zaleta was born May 11, 1946 in Danbury, son of the late Steven and Elizabeth (Brady) Zaleta. Steve graduated from St. Peter’s School, the Wooster School, Class of 1964, and from the Fordham University School of Business in 1968. As a youth, Steve was an altar boy, pedaled a Danbury News-Times paper route, and built stereo systems as a hobby. While at Wooster School, Steve’s father died. Steve then helped run The Hartwell-Brady Co., a family-owned haberdashery established in 1879 on Main Street in Danbury. It was there he developed his eye for quality clothing. He served in the Army Reserves Civil Affairs Unit in Danbury. Steve went on to develop a successful career in sales. He is the founder and principal of NetSolutions of New England, a premier provider of sophisticated computer network security products and services to Fortune 500 companies. Steve was a man of wide interests. He served as treasurer to the Ancient Order of Hibernians and loved attending its annual Irish Festival. He was a member of the Litchfield Sanctum and Country Club. Steve was an avid golfer, a fine marksman, and a lover of Oompah band music. Steve contributed to each community in which he lived. He served as a Justice of the Peace, as Vice Chairman of the Danbury Planning Commission, and as a member of Roxbury’s Planning Commission and Republican Town Committee. He will be greatly missed by his beloved family, his wife, Jane S. McMahon and her daughters. A Mass was held at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Litchfield. Memorials may be made to New England Basset Hound Rescue Inc. (NEBHR, P.O. Box 84, Newfields, NH 03856).


New Jersey News

AOH Divisions in New Jersey have been very active the past few months. In the early fall Bergen 32 and Monmouth 2 Divisions participated in the first annual Tank Pull Competition to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. The Tank Pull Competition was chaired by John Hughes member of Bergen 32 Division, which had 20 teams and raised more than $80,000 for the cause. Mark your calendar for the 2nd annual Tank Pull Competition for June 26 in Clifton, New Jersey.

Jimmy Teheen of the Paramus Police Department and member of the Bergen 32 Division was named Irish Echo’s Law and Order Law Enforcement Officer of the year for 2010.  Jimmy was honored at the Irish Consulate in New York along with other Law & Order Top 50. Officer Teheen was joined by his family, friends and AOH members from Bergen 32 Division at the ceremony on October 20. Additionally, Bergen Sheriff Leo McGuire was named to the Echo’s Law and Order Top 50 and is a member of Bergen 32 division.

New Jersey News

By Irish Echo Staff (with permission)

The future relationship between New York and Belfast was studied, discussed, and outlined in some detail last week at a two day conference in Manhattan during which U.S. Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland, Declan Kelly, provided the keynote address during a luncheon hosted by the Irish Echo at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Battery Park City.

There are many areas of activity where I see opportunities for New York and Belfast to work together, Kelly told a packed room in a speech that also emphasized the need for both cities to remain on the cutting edge so as to progress through the current challenging times.

The conference incorporated the unveiling of the annual Irish Echo Index of 30 leading U.S. companies doing business in Northern Ireland and several executives from Index companies were honored at the luncheon.

The conference opened Wednesday evening at the Fordham University Lincoln Center campus in midtown where those attending were formally welcomed by Fordham president, Fr. Joseph McShane. The conference continued Thursday at the Ritz Carlton. In tandem with the conference, an exhibition organized by the Linenhall library in Belfast was opened at the American Irish historical Society.

On Saturday July 17, 2010 Bergen 32 AOH members and their families enjoyed a BBQ and minor league baseball game at Yogi Berra Stadium in Montclair New Jersey. Pictured are Bergen 32 member Pete Smith (right) who threw out the ceremonial first pitch with New Jersey Jackals player Abraham Nunez.

Finucane Portrait Dedicated

The Irish Echo newspaper recently held a St Patrick’s Day reception on Capitol Hill to unveil a portrait of the late Pat Finucane (1949-1989) – the slain civil rights attorney from Belfast.  The Echo commissioned artist Robert Ballagh to produce the painting.  Congressman Richard E. Neal Chairman of the Friends of Ireland and Congressman Chris Smith unveiled the portrait inside a well appointed meeting room in the Capitol Building just down the hall from the House Floor.

The portrait was unveiled to an audience of more than one hundred members of Congress and Irish American leaders. The AOH was well represented at the event that including Freedom for All Ireland Chairman Sean Pender, National Editor and Director Keith Carney and Washington brothers Jack O’Brien, John McInerney, Roury McDonald (whose father worked with Pat Finucane).  Baltimore brothers Daniel Layden, Mike Breen, Bill Pribyl and Malachy McAlister also attended.

The reception included a special guest, Pat Finucane’s wife Geraldine.  A truly moved Mrs. Finucane had trouble overcoming her bittersweet emotions at the event.  She thanked all for the special portrait and described all of the attendees in the rooms as “friends,” which was appropriate.