Category: Archive

Mass. mourns a favorite son

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

From the state’s highest political leaders to tourism officials and Irish-American leaders, everyone has a compelling or personal memory of the man who represented the state in the U.S. Senate for almost half a century.
Governor Deval Patrick, the state’s first black governor, remembered Kennedy as “a compassionate, effective, visionary statesman, family man, and friend.”
For Lt. Governor Tim Murray, Kennedy was “an inspirational figure” who “may have walked with presidents and prime ministers, but was always accessible to the people of Massachusetts.”
Congressman Stephen Lynch of South Boston said, “We are a better nation because of his service to his country, his optimistic vision and his vast legislative accomplishments.”
Rep. Bill Delahunt of Quincy said, “He was the greatest and hardest working senator of our time, a beacon of hope to those less fortunate, a passionate fighter for justice, health care, a minimum wage and a decent quality of life for all.”
State Senator Jack Hart of South Boston worked closely with Kennedy over the past few years on the soon-to-be built Ted Kennedy wing of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.
“When Senator Kennedy learned my father was sick, he called the hospital to wish him well,” Hart recalled.
“This small, yet significant act of kindness, not only lifted my father’s spirits, it is something for which my family will always be grateful.”
Former Boston Mayor Kevin White, who ran the city from 1968-1972, said: “Ted Kennedy and I grew up in politics together, and he was a wonderful political classmate. He was always there for me whenever I needed some advise, just as he was for so many people through the years.”
Rep. Richard Neal said the Commonwealth of Massachusetts had lost its greatest champion.
“Personally, I have lost a treasured friend. It has been the honor of a lifetime to call Ted Kennedy my friend. His extraordinary life and legacy will never be forgotten,” said Neal who is chairman of the Friends of Ireland in Congress.
Steve Greeley, executive director of The American Ireland Fund, said the global Irish clans had lost their leader, the pain was deep but the memories are great.
“Our entire community sends its condolences to the Kennedy family. We will always be proud of Ted,” Greeley said.
Kelley Kassa, president of the Charitable Irish Society, formed in Boston in 1737, said, “There will never be another Ted Kennedy, but we can all strive to be like him in his dedication, hard work, and support of those who have less than we do.”
James Leahy, president of the St. Patrick Committee of Holyoke, said that Senator Kennedy received the town’s “Outstanding American of Irish Ancestry Award” in 1964, which was renamed the John F. Kennedy National Award that year in honor of President Kennedy, who was the first recipient of the award.
“He was always a phone call away to assist us whenever we asked for help.” Leahy said.
James Carmody, vice president of the Seaport Companies and Boston’s World Trade Center, grew up in Dorchester, not far from where Kennedy was born at St. Margaret’s Hospital.
“Ted accepted the challenges life presented him and in the end triumphed. There are no feet to fill these shoes,” said Carmody.
Paul G. Kirk, Jr., Chairman of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation’s Board of Directors and long-time friend, said, “Without a doubt, Senator Kennedy was the most accomplished and effective legislator for economic and social justice in the history of our democracy. He was also the most thoughtful and genuinely considerate friend I have known. Among his many contributions to the human spirit, he taught us to persevere and draw hope and strength at a time of loss and adversity. May we all live up to his example.”

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