Hill Happenings

Football glory days were rehashed last month at the Boston Park League Football reunion at the Teacher’s Union Hall in South Boston.Some 300 people attended the event, including players from the prominent Mission Hill team the Killilea Club. The Boston Park League fielded hundreds off football teams throughout the city beginning in 1929. The last game was played in 1984 when the Shelburne Cobras from Roxbury defeated the Charlestown Townies 32-28.

The Killilea Club posthumously honored Dennis Scanlon. Dennis didn’t play, but he loved the Killilea Club, and he went beyond the call of duty as a behind the scenes organizer. Former Killilea Club middle linebacker Frank Pedersen gave an impassioned allocution honoring Dennis. Pedersen also reminisced about the late John “Barron” Harran, a gutsy, smallish running back on the team. Local faces in the crowd included Yogi O’Keefe, who was the head coach of Killilea and Dennis’s close friend. Larry Sieger and Jack O’Neill still look like they could put the pads on and play this weekend. Former Killilea great quarterback Dan Breen and his little brothers, John Breen and Dennis Breen, who were also terrific players, attended the reunion, as did former running back Joe Ryan and his rugged brother, Jim “Rabbit” Ryan.

It was good seeing Bob DeVeer, who, before playing for the Killilea Club, was the quarterback for the Mission Club in 1969. It was also nice to see former South Boston Chippewas star quarterback Paul “The Mailman” Turner. Paul is a member of the Mission Hill Post 327. Representing the old-timers at the reunion was John “Grapes” Grady, a stalwart defensive player. John, a throwback from the previous generation, was the only Killilea player who didn’t wear a facemask.

Playing organized football was a character-builder with the emphasis on teamwork. Toward the end of the reunion celebration, a former Hanna Club ( Roxbury) player had an interesting point of view, saying, “Playing Boston Park League Football was the best way to get out your frustrations without going to jail.”

Congrats to local Boston Police Officer Danny Adams on his promotion to detective. Danny, who grew up on Fenwood Road, has the street smarts and tenacity to become an exceptional detective.

It was heartwarming to see the many former and current Mission Hill residents at the Mission Bar and Grill on Sept. 21 to honor the late Kevin Fitzgerald and raise money for his charity, Team Kevin Fitz. Team Fitz rides bicycles in the Pan-Mass Challenge, which raises funds for Dana-Farber research. Kevin Fitzgerald was the Mission Hill state rep. from 1974 to 2002, and he succumbed to cancer at age 57. I loved Kevin, as did many others, as evidenced by the more than 7,000 people who attended his wake at Mission Church in 2007.

There were, of course, a plethora of Fitzgeralds at the fundraiser. I chatted briefly with Brian Fitzgerald, who is an athletic trainer. Besides his full-time job at Children’s Hospital, Brian works for the National Football League at Patriots home games. Brian monitors players who have possibly suffered concussions. Brian has worked at hundreds of local sporting events. One event Brian unfortunately won’t forget was the Boston Marathon when the atrocity occurred last April. Brian, as usual, was volunteering at the finish line. “As soon as I heard the explosion, I knew what it was,” said Brian.

Local high school student Jacqueline Dumornay is doing splendidly, studying abroad in Viterbo, Italy. Jacqueline was among 65 elite students chosen for the “School Year Abroad” program. Jacqueline is studying Italian and European history, and she will return home next May and complete her senior year at the Winsor School. Jacqueline is the daughter of proud parents Louis and Yvonne Dumornay. Louis formerly lived in Mission Hill, and he is a member of the Mission Hill Post.

Accolades to Jessica Barry, who last month earned her master’s of science in art education at the Mass. College of Art. Jessica is a teacher at the Maurice J. Tobin School. When I congratulated Jessica at Mike’s Donuts last week, I informed her that I’m still ahead of her with my Ph.D. However, I did confess that my Ph.D. is a Plain High-school Diploma.

A fundraiser for Richard O’Neal will be held Oct. 18 at the Elks Post in Franklin. O’Neal, a former Mission Hill resident, needs a bone marrow transplant. For more information, call 617-327-9174.

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