Hill Happenings

     The Mission Hill Post 327 Golf Tournament fundraiser will be held Sat., Sept. 30 at Norwood Country Club. This is a noble  event and a fun 19th hole featuring food, drink and raffles. A golfer could go home with a $10,000 bonus and all it takes is scoring a hole in one on the 10th hole. For more information to participate on the golf course or to sponsor a hole, contact our Post Commander, Col. George Rollins at 703 209 2124.

     I was belatedly informed that Tom Kenneally from Mission Hill passed away last winter. Tom was the last surviving member of the 1953 Mission High basketball team that won the Eastern Mass. Class A basketball championship, ousting Sommerville, English and Durfee High at the Boston Garden. Will McDonough, the superb Boston Globe writer, was reminiscing about that team 25 years ago and penned; “The “53” Mission team, the tiny school on the Hill, should have been chronicled in the hit 1986 movie, “Hoosiers”. I got to know Tom in 2014 when I was a guest at the team’s Hall of Fame induction ceremonial banquet at Xaverian High School in Westwood (Mission High, taught by the  Xaverian Brothers, closed in 1991 but Xaverian High continues its affiliation with Mission). Kenneally, who earned an M.B.A. from B.C. after graduating from Stonehill College, was an Industrial Engineer. My last memory of Tom was when he was on stage at the banquet, receiving an award. He was wearing his 60+ year old white Mission High sweater with the large blue letter M on the front and looking as proud as a peacock.

     Condolences to the family of Danny Niland, who passed away last week at his home in Florida. Danny grew up in the Mission Hill project and I have fond memories playing pick-up baseball games for hours at Smith Street Park with Danny, Jimmy O’Neill and other close friends. Danny, an easy going guy who was a few years older than me, was a great role model. Danny graduated from Mission High where he was a terrific pitcher on the baseball team in the mid 60’s. He was an Army veteran who was wounded in Vietnam.R.I.P. Danny.

     It’s nice to see the Clarence “Jeep” Jones Park in Roxbury gleaming again after a clean up. The refurbishing of the park, named in recognition of Jones in 2010, was culminated by a re-opening ribbon cutting ceremony last month.The spiffy park is named in honor of a wonderful man. Jeep Jones, who passed away in 2020 at age 87, grew up in Roxbury and he was  dedicated to our youth, becoming a street worker and a probation officer in Roxbury. Jeep was a terrific basketball player and as a youngster I fondly recall watching the Boston Park League hoop games at the Tobin Gym to see Jeep and other great local ball players including Roscoe Baker and Lionel “Sky” King.

     It was a pleasure meeting Shilpa Shankar last week at Brendan Behan’s Pub in J.P. Shilba, whose good looks are on par with her joyous demeanor, was part of our Sat. night beer and Irish music assemblage. Shilpa is of South Indian descent and an Australian citizen, currently living in J.P. and she works for Paper Cut Software, an Australian software company, as a sales and training specialist.

     I was glad to see the labor dispute between Encore Casino in Everet and the workers settled last month, particularly with a handful of Mission Hill union employees earning a living at that casino. As a poker player and regular visitor to the casino, I enjoy chatting with the Hill guys. Incidentally, the drinks are free when gambling except, because of a recent change, no freebies at the poker tables. One guy at my table wasn’t aware of the change and nearly cried in his beer when the waitress had him cough up $12 for a cup of Harpoon IPA.

     Condolences to the family of John “Jack” Durkin who passed away last week. Jack is part of the wonderful Mission Hill Durkin family who I proudly call my close friends.Jack was a peaceful man who seldom raised his voice. He was a supporter of St. Judes Childrens Hospital. A funeral mass will be held for Jack Sat., August 12, 11 a.m. at St. John Chrysostom Church in West Roxbury. R.I.P. Jack

            Maurice can be reached at [email protected].

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