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October 25, 2012

Honoring Tommy McDonough

By Kevin Devlin

Lifelong, proud South Bostonian retires after thirty-three years of dedicated public service.

On Thursday evening, October 18, friends, co-workers, and family members gathered at the Seapoint on East Eighth Street, for a surprise retirement party, to honor Thomas “Tommy” McDonough for his many years of public service. Senator Jack Hart, Boston City Councilor William, “Billy” Linehan, and Representative Nick Collins, presented him with Resolutions from the Massachusetts Senate, the Boston City Council, as well as with a Citation from the House of Representatives. Also present were former Senate President, William Bulger, Senator Tom Kennedy, Senator Ken Donnelly, and former state senators, Warren and Steve Tolman.     

Tommy, a lifelong and proud South Bostonian, is the son of Peter and the late Lorraine McDonough. In 1974, he graduated from the Cotting School, which at that time, was located right across the street from Matthews Arena. He’ll always remember the guest speaker at his graduation, Senator Joseph Timilty, because years later, he worked with his son Jimmy Timilty in the State Senate and they became good friends.  

Right after graduation, Tommy worked the next four years at the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) now known as the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and was assigned duties at Castle Island in the summer and the Murphy Rink in the winter. After that, and for approximately two years, he worked and traveled with his brother Michael who was a world-class handball player.

In 1982, Tommy was hired by Michael Donovan, Clerk of Superior Court (Civil Division) as a Procedural Clerk. In 1985, three of Tommy’s friends, Joey Carr, Billy Carney, and the late Marty O’Brien, told him that there were employment opportunities in the state house. He applied and was subsequently appointed as a Senate Court Officer by then Senate President, William Bulger. Tommy was a well-respected and dedicated Senate Court Officer until he retired in July.

While working at the state house and traveling throughout the state as an officer, Tommy provided security for members of the State Ways and Means Committee. He worked under the tenure of six governors, five speakers, and four senate presidents. He bore witness to important pieces of legislation such as the Big Dig, the New TD Garden, Patriots Place and the pending Casino project.

Tommy is a diehard” Southie Guy” and cherishes the times he had at the “L” Street Bathhouse, officially named the Curley Recreation Center. As a youngster growing up in the sixties and seventies, he played racquetball, Ping Pong, Pool, and went swimming. He met lifelong friends there, too many to mention. He thoroughly enjoyed watching great handball-players such as Richie Dahill, Joe McSorley, Jim Daly, and Sal Paterna compete against each other, especially his cousin Topper Rogers battling Tommy’s brother, Michael, on the handball court.

Tommy was totally surprised when he entered the Seapoint and realized he had been hoodwinked by his co-workers.

“I was told at first that we were going to Pier Four for dinner and then told were going to see the psychic medium that was upstairs at the Seapoint that evening,” Tommy said. “When I walked in and saw everybody, I was overwhelmed and would like to thank everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to come.

“I would like to acknowledge my family,” he added. “My dad, my Uncle Frank, my Aunt Mary, my sister Mary Ellen and her husband  David, my brother Michael and his wife Jan, and my nieces and nephews, Mike, Morgan, Christine and Patrick, for their love and support. Retirement came quick so I can spend more time with them. I would like to thank my (former) co-workers, my state-house family, Officers Keri Buckley, Mike Pano, Christine Gonzalas, and Joe O’Donnell for organizing this party, as well as the owners and staff at the Seapoint.

“And finally…I would like to thank William Bulger and Mike Donovan,” Tommy concluded. “Years ago, they gave me the opportunity to work. They changed my life and I will always be appreciative of that. I will never forget their faith in me to get the job done in an effective manner, which I felt I did. I was lucky-humbled-to work as a public servant and will never forget those I met throughout the years.”

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