Category: Archive

Irish Echo Editorial: Senseless violence

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Police say the alleged gunman had robbed several similar small jewelry stores in the New York City suburbs, beginning just before Christmas. In one of them, in Glen Head on Long Island, Thomas Renison, was also shot to death.
It is a relief that the alleged gunman, Christopher Dimeo, and a woman believed to be an accomplice were apprehended two days later in Atlantic City, and that Dimeo’s mother, also considered an accomplice, has been arrested and charged. But it is little comfort to the Donnelly and Wickert families and to their many friends.
The couple, who were 52, were childhood sweethearts who had grown up in next-door Bridgeport. Their shop was a fixture for more than a decade on the Post Road in Fairfield. Tim was a marathon runner whose erect carriage and compact form always gave away his approach on the streets of Fairfield and the Black Rock neighborhood of Bridgeport, where they had recently moved. Kim had worked for years at Fairfield University before joining Tim in the shop a short while ago.
The Donnellys were also members of the town’s very active Gaelic American Club and always took a booth at its annual Irish festival. Their shop specialized in Claddagh jewelry and Celtic-inspired pieces that the couple designed and made.
They were, to the end, gentle, giving, simple people. Everyone who walked into the shop was instantly a friend. Indeed, they gave personal attention to all their customers, from the teenage girl buying a charm for her bracelet to the businessman buying a diamond neckless for his wife. In fact, it wasn’t unusual for the latter to have to wait for the former as Tim peppered her with questions about school and her family, questions that came from the heart.
It was perhaps only with their untimely and tragic deaths that the people of Fairfield and Bridgeport truly understood what the Donnellys meant to them. Friends began lining up an hour before their wake to pay their respects to the family. More than 1,200 people in all attended, some waiting in line as long as three hours. Even during the Super Bowl the wait was more than an hour. Their funeral Mass on Monday filled St. Augustine’s Cathedral and spilled out onto the street. Not a person present didn’t feel a deep sense of loss.
Tim and Kim Donnelly were good people who died too soon. The violence they faced in those final seconds make it all even harder to comprehend and accept. It will be a long time before things feel normal again in Fairfield. And when they do, there will still be something missing.

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