Op-Ed: Remembering Jim Hennigan

By Sal Giarratani

I was over at Jim Hennigan’s wake over in West Roxbury where folks lined up to say good bye to an old school political legend. When I was a kid, he got himself elected as a state representative out of Jamaica Plain, then state senator. Eventually the Boston School Committee before finishing of as register of probate. His father was a state rep and a state senator before him. There’s the Hennigan School in Jamaica Plain named after his dad James Hennigan Sr..; When the funeral ended up at holy Name Church on the way to his final resting place, he ended up visiting Jamaica Plain one more time and passed by the Hennigan School. where students lined the sidewalks paying their respects.

The last time I saw Jim Hennigan alive was on St. Patrick’s Day at his birthday party at his home filled with family and friends. Other old school pols like Gerry O’Leary and Gerard Doherty were there too all talking about the old days. Doherty and Hennigan started off in politics together back in the early 50s when they both entered the state legislature together. Allies and friends forever.

I saw Gerry Doherty enter the funeral home and he was escorted to the front of the line out of respect. They were two of a kind from the Old School of Politics. They don’t make ’em like Jimmy and Gerry anymore.

Jim Hennigan was a living legend of a time in politics when respect was mutually given, your word was your bond and politics produced results and where meanness was seemingly forbidden. Just like today, Right?

Sal Giarratani is a freelance reporter amd columnist for various publications in Greater Boston.

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