Editor's note: The following is the descriptions of the Parkway People Hall of Fame inductees provided by Parkway People to West Roxbury Patch.
On Saturday is a Parkway People fundraiser at the Irish Social Club on June 22 from 7-11 p.m. The proceeds fund scholarships for Parkway-area students. About 25 people will be inducted into the Parkway Hall of Fame. Tickets are $10 at the Parkway People website and $20 at the door. Parkway People is a community group formed last year with a mission of “Building a stronger community through communication and support of small business.”
Although the Parkway People has only been formed recently, there have been remarkable deeds and acts of giving from people here for decades. When we first discussed the 'Hall of Fame', we thought it would only be appropriate to acknowledge those who surround us.
This is not an all-inclusive list but insight into some of the very special people who we have living and giving in our community. We thank them for their past generosity of time and treasure, but also thank them for carrying the torch in the future. As members of the Hall of Fame, we know that they will continue to act as pillars of the community and represent us every day.
The 'Hall of Fame' lives in people of our community and their acts every day. We are excited to acknowledge these acts of giving every year, with annual inductees.
Lord Mayor Richard Gormley
Richie’s loyalty and generosity to the people of West Roxbury is legend – professionally and personally. He is commander of the West Roxbury VFW Post & is Sergeant of Arms for the Irish Social Club. Gormley Funeral Home is coming up on 100 years of service. Richie attended St. Theresa’s and Catholic Memorial High School. Richie is a proud U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, and he has lived in West Roxbury for over 60 years. It was not a surprise, that he was elected as the official Lord Mayor of West Roxbury last year.
Reverend Monsignor William M. Helmick
This special leader is in charge of the great parish of St. Theresa of Avila. Monsignor Helmick is routinely called when someone in our community is sick, in mourning, experiencing tragedy or needs guidance. Monsignor says the, "...reason I love West Roxbury is the way the people help each other in the form of meals, babysitting or driving to ones doctor’s appointments. The greatest way to help each other is through prayers and I see this every day at mass with the good people of West Roxbury praying to those in need of their prayers. God bless.”
James “Jim” Rush
Jim was the youngest of 10 children of Irish parents from Mission Hill. He attended St. Joseph’s School in Roxbury, Blessed Sacrament in JP and Roslindale High School. After graduation, Jim enlisted in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War and served upon the U.S.S. John W, Weeks (DD-701) for four years. Upon completion of his military service, he graduation from Boston College. Jim honorably served the people of West Roxbury and Roslindale for 43 years as a Probation Officer in the West Roxbury District Court. He lived all of his adult life in the Parkway area and was extremely active at St. Theresa of Avila Parish and in the neighborhood. The best part of his life was being married to Ginny Meagher Rush of West Roxbury and being a father and a grandfather. Most people will remember Jim Rush for his great smile, spring in his step, Irish songs and willingness to help others.
William “Billy” Joyce
Billy was enlisted in the U.S. Navy from 2008-2012. He was Master of Arms and is currently 25-years-old. He protected our great country by going overseas, stationed in Guantanamo Bay and serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. This young man played Parkway Little League, Babe Ruth Baseball and Pop Warner football. He went to Latin Academy and the Joyce family is loved and respected by all.
Thomas W. Ford & Gerald J. Keenan
Thomas and Gerald were two brothers born on Atlantis Street in West Roxbury. Thomas enlisted in the United States Marine Corps & Gerald enlisted in the United States Navy. Both gave the supreme sacrifice for their country during World War II in 1944. Their families, the Keenans and the Fords, will be in attendance to receive an award in memory of these two heroes.
Paul and James Haugh
These two great men are from a family of seven boys to the proud parents, Joe and Helen. They all reside on DeSoto Road in West Roxbury. Both were in the U.S. Marines. Paul served in Afghanistan. They both played, coached and umpired at the local West Roxbury League and St. Theresa CYO Basketball.
Daniel Patrick McMorrow
This outstanding West Roxbury resident went to Patrick Lyndon and West Roxbury High School. He grew up playing all local sports for Parkway Teams. He also helps out with coaching little league. He and his wife, Sue, have raised four beautiful children. He also joined the US Marine Corps in 1984. He served in the Reserves until retiring as a Master Sergeant in 2011. He served at Fallujah and Ramadi in Iraq.
John J. Leary
John was a lifelong Parkway resident. “Jack” was one of eight, attended Boston Public Schools and graduated from Boston State College before serving as an Army medic in Vietnam. Jack was appointed as a probation officer in 1981 and became extremely passionate about substance abuse issues, with an emphasis on rehabilitation/treatment over incarceration. Jack was a mentor, coach, advisor, political operative and overall go-to guy in this city. Without reservation, Jack was one of the most innovative, selfless, compassionate, extraordinary and hardworking individuals to come out of West Roxbury.
David Joseph Griffin
David is another life-long resident of West Roxbury and graduate of Boston Technical High School and U-Mass Boston. He has been employed with the Boston Public Schools for 23 years now and has been married to his wonderful wife, Maribeth Bruen, for 20 years. David proudly served in the U.S. Navy as active duty from 1984-1988 aboard the aircraft carriers U.S.S Kitty Hawk and the U.S.S. Nimitz as an Aviation Mechanic traveling through the Western Pacific Ocean and Mediterranean. He also served in the U.S. Naval Reserve in Weymouth, MA and Brunswick, ME for 11 years. He has served in the Massachusetts Army National Guard as an Infantry man with a deployment to Afghanistan. David has served our city and country for more than 20 years and today we honor him.
The Ross Family
When people talk about how great the town of West Roxbury is, it is that we get our strength from good old-fashioned families with strong family values. The Ross family is extremely active in local sports, school programs and neighborhood events. When Thomas and Frances Ross emigrated from Ireland to Boston in the 1960’s, they wanted to live and raise their family in a town with Irish roots and traditions. They had six children: Eileen, Michael, Shiovan, Robert, Tara and Deirdre. The Ross family is very involved in their parish church, Holy Name. They are also enjoy Irish step dancing with their children and all local events. Families like this are what make our town so special.
Grace Guinnane, Pat Whall & Maggie Healy (of the Ohrenberger Preschool)
These three great ladies reside in West Roxbury and Roslindale and have a combined 50 years+ of working at the Ohrenberger preschool. The West Roxbury community both as teachers and people love them. This was exemplified when overwhelming numbers of the Parkway community came together to support them and the continuance of the preschool program. They said they - "love the Parkway community - they have strong family values. We have seen these loving families grow into fine adults who are now sending their children to us to teach."
Francis Christopher McInerney IV
This special young man came from two great West Roxbury families - the Malones and McInerneys. He was a junior at Catholic Memorial where he was tragically struck by a speeding car on the V.F.W. Parkway. He loved anything to do with his Irish heritage and all things West Roxbury. He loved his family, church, school and West Roxbury.
Margaret “Peggy” Walsh
Peggy has lived in our town of West Roxbury for more than 40 years after leaving County Galway in Ireland. She has two children (Jay and Christine) and is the proud grandmother of Jack and Emma. Peggy is involved with Irish matters at the social club and fundraisers and is coined the “Mayor of Dunkin Donuts” in West Roxbury.
Marion T. Connolly
Marion married Marty Connolly and raised six children – after which she went back to school and became a Registered Nurse at age 50! She is a proud “Leaky Roofer”, a life-long member of the YMCA and an avid swimmer. Later in life she dove right into the computer world and now teachers a class at age 80! She enjoys being with her family and is very proud of her 18 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. She helps her friends stay involved in the community and if you ask her a question she doesn’t know, she’ll be sure to research it and email you the answer!
Chris was born on Gardner Street in West Roxbury, where his family still lives today. Chris is best known as "Knuckles Nilan". He played in 688 NHL games for the Montreal Canadians, Boston Bruins and New York rangers. He was playing for Montreal when they won the Stanley cup in 1986. Chris went to Catholic Memorial School, Northeastern University and played Parkway hockey. When reporters asked if he was from Boston, he would proudly say, "No, I'm from West Roxbury." Chris is now a public speaker in the Greater Montreal area-advising students on the dangers of school bullying.
Steve owned and operated his deli for 35 great years: saying it was "never a job, but it was a real pleasure waiting on all the great people of West Roxbury" and "thank you for all the support over the years and I miss and love you all." He welcomed patrons to his deli and welcomed it as THE place to hang out and find out what the latest buzz was in town.
George's love for the Parkway people is legendary. He is one of the most generous people in town. He has owned DeNo’s pizza since 1983 & would like to thank the good people of West Roxbury for their loyalty. George and Deno's proudly support our communities programs and activities. He also employs almost strictly Parkway residents.
Martin has owned the beloved Corrib Restaurant and Pub for more than 20 years. The Bligh family has lived in West Roxbury for the last 40 years. Since 1992, the Bligh Family has sponsored the Corrib 5K Road Race, which attracts thousands of locals, each year and is getting close to the million-dollar mark! All money raised goes to all local organizations, mostly in West Roxbury.
Ed King is fondly remembered around the Parkway area for his 50 years of being an umpire at all levels of Parkway Little League, from 1965-2002 to college and semi-pro. Ed says, “The smartest thing he did in life besides his choice of Ginny as a wife, was settling in West Roxbury. We are handy to our church, sports programs and community groups. I’m glad we stayed in West Roxbury through the busing years as we lost a lot of good families here.” Ed has four children and five grandchildren. He also ran for Governor of Massachusetts in 1978 and is still active in local politics.
James “Jim” Kilduff
Jim is a Boston Police Officer for 34 years with 13 of which were here in West Roxbury as a beloved motorcycled officer. Any and all who were pulled over by him were lucky to receive his reminders of the rules of the law.
Francis Coppinger is a lifelong resident of the Parkway. He is a former state representative who served West Roxbury at the State House. He married Catherine, originally of Kenmare, County Kenny Ireland. After marrying they decided to remain in West Roxbury where they bought their home and started a family. They are parents to eight children: their seventh being the best and brightest star. They are grandparents of eight and Mrs. Coppinger is a fixture while working at the West Roxbury Roche Bros.
Paul “Cappy” Capodilupo
Paul moved to West Roxbury from the North End in 1961. He and his wife have lived all of their married life of 40 years in West Roxbury and have raised their two sons here. He remains an active member of the Knights of Columbus for 40 years, West Roxbury 3049 Board of Directors and Treasurer for St. Theresa’s CYO for 25 years. Paul has owned the local landscaping business Cappy & Sons Landscaping here for 35 years. He coached Basketball and Baseball at Catholic Memorial from 1971-1976 and began teaching in 1976. It was just in 2012 that Paul retired…But only from teaching, not loving and living in West Roxbury.
Jim and Vinnie Mannering
Jim was a lifelong West Roxbury resident with his wife, Kathy, and three children. He was a veteran of Vietnam and served 20 years as a clerk at West Roxbury Court. Jim founded the West Roxbury men’s softball league and CYO girls softball league. Jim passed at the young age of 50 in 1997.
Vinnie was also a lifelong West Roxbury resident with his wife, Colleen and three sons. He was a state representative of West Roxbury and also was tge Executive Director of the Boston Water & Sewer Commission from 1995 to 2013. He helps out at the West Roxbury Community Center, coached and played at the Little League Baseball and Parkway Hockey League.
Mike O’Brien, Dave Tracy and Mark Sanders - Shamrock Shootout
It all started when, Mike, Dave and Mark rallied the neighborhood kids to partake in a little street hockey tournament. Now six years later, this little street hockey tournament has grown to over 600 children and the games stretch over a half of a mile on the highly decorated Temple Street. This event has become a staple in our community and is highly anticipated by the children that participate and the spectators that watch. This group of men has united the community with good and simple fun. We have Mike, Dave and Mark (and their wives!!!!) to thank for these cherished memories they provide for our kids and families each year!