Hill Happenings

Mission Hill mourned the loss of Mary G. Breen, a wonderful and beautiful woman who passed away last month. Mary, who lived on Parker Hill Avenue for all of her 83 years, was an accomplished singer and a soloist at Mission Church for many years. Listening to Mary sing was comfort to the soul. I recall Mary singing “Ave Maria” at my mother’s funeral at the church in 2000 and it was heartening to hear her voice. I often enjoyed coffee and muffins with Mary at Mike’s Donuts. She was so nice.

Mary performed in the Mission Hill Theatre Group in several plays, including “Agnes of God” and “Arsenic and Old Lace.” She also appeared in the religious drama, “Pilates Daughter,” at St. Alphonsus Hall. “Pilates Daughter,” written by Fr. Francis Kenzel in 1902, was a famous play, seen by an estimated two million people, discontinuing in the early 1960s when attendance diminished.

Mary’s proudest moment in the entertainment spotlight occurred at the Boston Garden in 1964 at a high school basketball tournament. With more than 10,000 onlookers, Mary, a Mission High School alumna, sang the national anthem prior to the Mission High-Braintree High game in the semi-finals of that memorable tournament.

A tip of the hat to Janet Fernandez McCarthy, a 15-year veteran of the Air National Guard, on her promotion to E7 Master Sergeant. The lovely Janet, who lives on Mission Hill, was honored at a ceremony at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford on Jan. 9. Family members attended Janet’s commemoration, including her proud hubby, Mike McCarthy, and Mike’s father, Mike McCarthy, Sr. The younger Mike McCarthy was a slick fielding first baseman for the Owls Nest in the Mission Hill Softball League. Janet’s brother, good guy Charlie Fernandez, also attended the ceremony.

Thanks to Casandra Nagle for her military service. Casandra, active in the U.S. Air Force, attended the Bruins-Vancouver game last month with her father, Chuck Nagle from Mission Hill, and her uncle, John “Nips” Nagle. The three were featured on the Jumbo screen, as the Bruins fans reacted with a sparkling ovation. John Nagle, incidentally, is the head clerk at Mission Hill Liquors.

Condolences to the family of former Mission Hiller, Charles J. McLean, who passed away last month. Charlie, an affable man, enjoyed his job, working for 33 years as a letter carrier for the U.S. Post Office. Charlie loved kids and he was a coach in the Braintree Little League for many years. Charlie will be missed.

Dozens of local football fans gathered at the Mission Hill Post to watch the Patriots lose to the Broncos. The game didn’t go well but the pizzas were good, thanks to Ellen Saucier. Ellen often feeds the boys, ringing the Post bell with her elbows.

Paul Fitzgerald occasionally stops by the Post, but he was recently spotted across the street at the Puddingstone Tavern. Paul was happily sipping his Budweiser, served by Jessica Murtha. The lovely Jessica was borrowed for a shift from her regular watering hole, Brendan Behan Pub in Jamaica Plain.

I got a few inquiries from last month’s column, having mentioned Mission Church priest, Fr. Robert Lennon, who played on the famous Mission Hill C.Y.O. baseball team in 1944. Other notable players on that team were Charles Hanafin and John McCann.

McCann, who played shortstop, lived next to me in the Mission Hill project at 31 Tobin Ct. His son, also John McCann, was a splendid third baseman for the Owls Nest in the local softball league. The coach of the Mission “44” team was Frank Power from the renowned Mission Hill Power family. Power was a World War I veteran and in the 1920s he was a terrific player in the old New England Baseball League.

Belated happy birthday to Janet Earley, a lovely former Mission Hill woman. I had a grand time, hanging out with Janet for her birthday celebration Jan. 31 at the Galway House in Jamaica Plain, along with Janet’s close friends, Anne Marie O’Sullivan and Sue Kiley.

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