Late last fall, word spread through the neighborhood that one of our own, Jerry â€œJudgieâ€ Leary, had been diagnosed with a terminal disease. The longtime union official and veteran community activist and his wife wife Gayle are the parents of six â€“ Patrick, Kaitlyn, James, Gerald P. III, Devin, and Ryan. Those who knew his capacity for empathy and propensity to help others decided to organize a fundraiser â€“ we Dot people call it â€œa timeâ€ â€“ to rally around their friend and his family. They set tomorrow â€“ Fri., Jan. 29 at Florian Hall â€“ as the date and formed a committee of more than a hundred members. Senator John Kerry agreed to lend his support as an honorary committee member, as did fifteen other electeds.
Then last month, before Christmas, Jerry succumbed to his illness and was buried in Cedar Grove. Even as friends and his family continue to mourn him, the committee will go ahead with the Florian fund-raising event tomorrow as a way to celebrate his life and support his family.
In a letter written last fall, the committee members told about their admiration for Judgie Leary: â€œEvery one of us has come across a person who immediately makes an impression on us,â€ the letter said. â€œA person who volunteers for civic and neighborhood causes, the person who organizes the neighborhood business meetings, the person who steps up time and time again to help his neighborhood and his neighbors.
â€œIn our corner of the world, Dorchester, Jerry Leary is the person that best fits this description. Jerry Leary and his family have done for Dorchester what some neighborhoods can only dream about. His commitment and drive are legendary, he can always be counted on to lend a hand both in good times and when times get difficult.
â€œJerry is an adoring husband, a kind and generous father and a loving grandfather who is in constant motion, helping and giving and doing for others every chance he gets. Whether you know him from his lifelong commitment to Dorchester and the various sports, civic, neighborhood or religious organizations that his kids have participated in over the years, or if you have ever worked with â€˜Judgieâ€™ on a fundraiser for a neighbor or friend, you know that he is about the most committed person a lot of us have ever been lucky enough to meet.
Life can be cruel but hardships bring us together to allow us to show that there is a bright side to every situation. The Leary Family find themselves in a precarious situation with Jerry recently diagnosed with a debilitating illness. Jerry, Business Agent and Vice President of IBEW Local 2222, Telephone Workers Union, Jerry the volunteer for countless civic organizations and friend and volunteer for so many of our elected officials, needs our help. Letâ€™s join together to show our love and support for this wonderful family.â€
Tickets will be available at the door tomorrow night. The best advice is, get there early. There should be a crowd!
(There is more information at learyfamilyfund.com)
â€“ Ed Forry