Hill Happenings

       Tom McManus strolled by the Elm Farm Market at Brigham Circle about 60 years ago when he crossed paths with his former Mission High School teacher, Father McDonough. The wonderful priest, who would later become famously known as “The Healing Priest”, asked Tom about his future plans. Tom had been accepted to Suffolk Law School and proudly informed Fr. McDonough of his law school aspirations, who replied; “Right now we need you at the high school.” Years later Tom said to me; “How could I say no to Fr. McDonough” and thus began Tom’s career as a History teacher at Mission High. Tom passed away March 23 after a richly lived life. He eventually went to Suffolk Law School and he had a long career as a lawyer. Tom graduated from Mission High in 1953 and he played on the school’s famous basketball team that year. The “53” Mission High hoop team won the Class A Eastern Ma. Basketball Championship, beating Sommerville, English and Durfee at the Boston Garden. Tom also served in the U.S.Marines during the Cuban Missile Crisis. A great guy, Tom was also a terrific story teller. Years ago the “53” team was honored with a banquet and ceremony at Xaverian High School in Westwood. That evening I was fortunate to be seated next to Tom and I heard a lifetime of stories..Last month life long Mission Hill resident, 97 year old John Kreckler, who attended the 12:10 Mass every day at Mission Church, passed away. John, a retired B.P.D. Superintendent, served in World War 11. On June 6, 1944 John helped secure Omaha Beach, where the bloodiest of battles among the 5 beaches at Normandy took place. This great man also fought in the Battle of the Bulge. About 60 years ago John was a Boston Police detective working around Fenway Park during Red Sox games and he told me to scram because I was “scalping” tickets. John had a wonderful sense of humor and we talked about this as we often reminisced at Mike’s Donuts while John had his coffee and pistachio muffin. For the more serious offenses outside the ballpark (of which I won’t elaborate) John would have the subject empty his pockets and drop the ill gotten money into the Jimmy Fund box at Gate A. Detective Kreckler would never arrest any of us. However, one time he lugged my 11 year old Tobin Court buddy and called his parents from the police station. “Do you give your son an allowance ? “ John inquired. “Yes, 2 dollars a week”; said my friend’s mother. “Then why does he have a hundred and five dollars on him?”. John replied.. Condolence to the family of Joe Geary, a retired Ma. State Policeman from Mission Hill who passed away last month. It’s sad that Joe died at 73 but he had a wonderful life, blessed with a terrific wife, Deirdre (Bernard) and 3 successful children, Ryan Geary, Joe Geary jr. and his pretty daughter, Regan Gorman. Joe was an Army veteran who served in VietNam and he was a past member of the Mission Hill American Legion Post. Joe was a loyal friend and I cling to the good times we shared together, especially in the old days at Ed Burke’s Tavern.. Mission Hill also mourned the death of Phil Keiley, who passed away on April 19.  Phil, a Mission High “66” graduate, served in the U.S. Navy and he worked as a Chief Inspector for the M.B.T.A. on the Red Line. Phil was an easy going guy with a warm heart. Phil’s high school classmate and childhood friend, Bernie Fitzgerald succinctly characterized Phil. “Phil Keiley was one of the kindest and most genuine people I ever met.” R.I.P., Phil.. It was great to see the Square at Parker St. and Fisher Ave. named in honor of John Moreau. John, a “67” Mission High graduate, served in the U.S. Army. In Feb., 1970 he was fatally wounded 17 days after being sent to Binh, South VietNam. I’m proud to say that John was my friend and we were baseball and basketball teammates at Mission. John loved baseball and kids and he coached in the Mission Hill Little League, as did his father. .Congrats to Bill Mullin who was the recipient of the prestigious Kevin Fitzgerald Alumni of the Year Award for his dedication in supporting Mission Grammar School. Bill will be honored May 20 in a virtual ceremony for the school’s annual Road to College Gala.. The Mission Hill Post 327 will hold a meeting May 19 at Victory Point Restaurant in Quincy. Our Mission Hill Commander, Col. George Rollins was commended by the National American Legion Post Commander for increasing our membership from 15 to 37 members. Post members will gather May 30 at Brigham Circle for a Memorial Day service. I hope to see you there to honor the veterans who lost their lives in the line of duty.

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