Hill Happenings

Condolences to the family and friends of Dennis Scanlan, a beloved Mission Hill resident who passed away May 18. A 1962 Mission High School graduate, Dennis worked for the MBTA as a bus driver after serving his country in the U.S. Army. Dennis was a former commander of the Mission Hill Post 327, a place he loved. He was an exceptionally warm man with a heart of gold.

Said Kevin Lowre, the financial officer at the Mission Hill Post, “When I joined the Post a few years ago, Dennis welcomed me, and I’ve always felt at home here.” Adeptly describing Dennis, Lowre added, “Dennis was the nicest and most genuine guy I ever met in my life.”

Forty years ago, Dennis was the manager of the Killilea Club, Mission Hill’s Park League Football team. I can still picture Dennis passing the hat at halftime of the games at Fens Stadium, raising funds for the team.

Similarly, at the Mission Hill Post, Dennis would selflessly raise money for various veterans groups. I thought of Dennis on Memorial Day because he didn’t hang the wreaths in front of the Mission Hill Post, as he had done every Memorial Day.

Comrades at the Mission Hill Post mourned the recent death of George Williams, an Army veteran like his close friend Dennis Scanlan. Condelences to George’s beautiful wife Helen. George was a retired lieutenant in the Brookline Fire Department. George was one of my old Friday night poker players back in the old days. He was a great guy and will be missed.

Happy birthday to Charley Kelly, who turned 87 on May 24. Charley, who grew up in Mission Hill, has led an exemplary life. Charley graduated from Mission High School in 1943, where he was a legendary basketball player. Upon graduating from Mission, Charley joined the Navy. Only by the grace of God did Charley survive World War II. On an awful night in Okinawa in 1944 on the U.S.S. Wasp, a Japanese bomb struck the ship, killing 150 U.S. Navy men. Charley was merely a few yards away from the carnage. As someone once said of veterans, they all gave some, but some gave all.

Charley was nostalgic in Mission Hill last week, stretching his legs with his son, also Charley Kelly, before resting at the Brigham Circle benches. Afterward, the father and son bent their elbows at the Mission Bar & Grill. Young Charley asked his dad when he had his first beer at this bar. The elder Charley quickly replied, “April 28, 1946.” The bar was then called the Calumet Café, and I’m sure with the war over, the beer was great. Incidentally, the price of the beer was 5 cents.

Congratulations to Molly O’Neill, who graduated from UMass Lowell last month. Molly, who has four sisters, is the daughter of proud parents Kevin and Debbie O’Neill. Kevin, a Mission High graduate, hails from Tobin Court in Mission Hill. Kevin is a hard worker, stashing his dough away from the inevitable weddings.

Kudos to Mission Hill resident Nikko Mendoza, who will be a Democratic delegate at the National Convention. Nikko was chosen by the Congressional Caucuses at a meeting at the Mass. College of Art last month.

It’s a boy! Congrats to Victoria Curran on the birth of her son Kaiden on Feb. 26. Victoria is the daughter of lifelong Mission Hill residents Robert and Mary Curran. Kaiden is Robert and Mary’s 10th grandchild.

Last week, while doing my laundry at the Hillside Laundromat, I enjoyed conversing with Caroline McDonald, a lovely young lady who lives in Mission Hill. Caroline, a Northeastern University graduate, is an account executive for Metis Communications, a public relations firm in Boston. Thanks, Caroline, for making me smile. Doing laundry isn’t always boring.

I just picked up “The Rising at Roxbury Crossing,” written by Jim Redfearn, who grew up in the Mission Hill projects. Gazette subscriber Tom Killilea tells me that the book is terrific. Redfearn, who is a Mission High School graduate, will be at the Mission Bar & Grill on June 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. for a reading. Stop by and say hello.

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