Hill Happenings

I feel fortunate to have been friends with Debbie McCue, a longtime Mission Hill resident, who passed away last month. Debbie had been in poor health and confined to a wheelchair in recent years. Locals fondly remember Debbie when she worked for Boston Parks and Recreation Department at the Tobin Gym in the 1970s.

Debbie was terrific at her job, working with the youngsters in Arts and Crafts and other activities. Debbie’s passion for her work resonated with the kids who adored her. I often went to the Tobin Gym in those days when Debbie worked alongside  “Mr. Basketball,” Frannie Ward; Bobby Healy; and boxing instructor, Don Bernard. Those guys, along with Debbie, were wonderful advocates for the youth of Mission Hill.

A fish story: Nearly 100 parishioners enjoyed a tasteful Lenten fish dinner on March 18 at the Parish Center in Mission Church. Rev. Father Dabney did a masterful job preparing the dinner, which raised money for the Church. With the large and hungry crowd, I was concerned that the miracle of the “Loaves and Fishes” might be necessary, but there was plenty of food for everybody, aided by the huge canister of clam chowder generously donated by Legal Sea Food.

As mentioned in the Basilica Bulletin, the church is struggling financially, which prompted layoffs of some workers, including Susan Maravic. She worked in the Mission Church rectory. Susan’s warm personality will be missed. I would occasionally stop by the rectory for information or just to say hello to Susan. Su also would get her coffee at Mike’s Donuts and greet the boys with a cheerful morning smile.

Speaking of Mike’s Donuts, Mimoza Salillari, a dedicated worker at Mike’s, celebrated her birthday last week (March 21). Mimoza came here eight years ago from Albania and she proudly became an American citizen last year. Mimoza has a terrific work ethic and she is a welcome addition to our country. As all the workers do at Mike’s, Mimoza pours the coffee with a smile.

Belated happy 73rd birthday to my friend and Calumet Street neighbor, Jim Burke. Jim, who looks a decade younger, was greeted by dozens of friends for his birthday celebration last month at the Mission Bar and Grill.

I was saddened to hear that Paul Hatizis passed away last week, following a battle with cancer. Paul, who emigrated from Greece, was a hard worker and he was the proprietor of Sish Kabob King on Fenwood Road in Mission Hill for many years. Local folks and the hospital workers got to know Paul well and they appreciated the excellent food and Paul’s genial personality.

It was nice to hear from Bobby Butterworth on Facebook and he says hello to his Mission Hill friends. Bobby grew up in the Mission Hill project and he got a bit part in the 1973 movie, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, starring Robert Mitchum.

The annual John Killion Memorial Golf Tournament was held last week in Florida, with 16 family members and friends participating. Jim Killion sank a short putt, tying the match for his team after three days of golf. Team captains Kevin Killion and Matt Killion then squared off in overtime with Matt prevailing, sinking a difficult putt under watchful eyes. John Killion was my close friend who succumbed to cancer in 2004. He was my classmate at Mission High and my teammate on Mission’s baseball team in 1967 when John was the captain. I couldn’t imagine having a better friend than John Killion.

Condolences to the family of Joe M. Donovan, a retired Boston Police Department officer who died. Joe grew up in Mission Hill and he is a Mission High alumnus, class of 1957. Joe is a U.S. Army veteran and he graduated from Northeastern University. Joe, an old school police officer, was a great guy who loved his family and friends. Joe will be missed.

On Sunday evening, May 15 there will be “A Time for a Friend” for Joe D’Entremont at Florian Hall in Dorchester. Joe, from Mission Hill, is a terrific guy and has been dedicated to helping our veterans. Joe is slowly recovering from a stroke that he suffered last year. Donation is $25 and it includes buffet and door prize. Tickets may be purchased at Mission Hill Post.

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