Neighborhood’s finest qualities on display as we say farewell to Carl Hosea

Carl Hosea and his wife LindaCarl Hosea and his wife LindaOn Tuesday at St. Ann’s Church in Neponset, once again the proud Dorchester community turned out for one its finest son’s, Carl Hosea. Carl passed away on Sunday after his courageous battle with cancer.

The funeral Mass was one of the most moving services I ever attended. Fr. Tom, Fr. Connor and Fr. White were on the altar. Carl’s friend Tom Munichiello did a great job in his remembrance homily and I told Carl’s son Jimmy, his Dad would have been very proud of how well Jimmy spoke in the Church. The Church was filled by 9:15 a.m. for a service that began at 10 a.m.

As Tommy said, “Carl wasn’t a prominent celebrity, but he sure had a lot of friends.”

A week ago at the Boston Teacher’s Union Hall was a night everyone will long remember. I don’t know exactly how many people attended the friendship party for Carl, but it had to be well over 1,000. Some said it was closer to 2,000 people. Carl was a great young man who was well liked.

The entire community came together to support the Hosea- Kelley family. Earlier in the day, a street hockey tournament in honor of the former T employee was held at Garvey Park in Neponset. The party was like “old home week” talking about all the wonderful families from the neighborhood, the C.Y.O. teams, the band, Fr. Jim Larner, Fr. Connor and Fr. Costello, the musical shows, St. Ann’s School, and even more recently, the youth hockey program at the rink.

Even today, I watch kids play hockey with my grandchildren at the Neponset Rink, who I played with their grandfathers at Town Field and Garvey Park. At the testimonial, Kathy and I had a chance to talk to Kathy’s next door neighbors growing up with on Old Harbor Street in South Boston, the Kelley family— a family who has contributed so much to help other families.

We talked about Lynda Kelley Hosea’s recently deceased father Frank Kelly, who ran various benefit events and cooked turkeys every Thanksgiving and Christmas day for hundreds of elderly and shut ins at St. Augustine’s and St. Monica’s Church. He was an example of what kind of family the Kellys are. Every time I drive by St.Monica’s Church I think of Frankie.

Unfortunately, the Old Harbor Housing Development has been in the national news recently with the brutal beating of a homeless man by two brothers at the JFK train station. This is the kind of event that receives national news, not the Carl Hosea tribute or the good kids from Dorchester who ran the street hockey tournament, or the boxing show at Peter Welsh’s Gym for Carl Hosea.

But attending these events, reminded all of us about all the wonderful and caring people in neighborhoods like Dorchester and Southie. The best of America.

Sure Boston has changed dramatically the past 15 years, but “neighborhood pride” is still in the hearts of the many good working class people who still live there and even those who have moved out. They always come back in time of need. I spoke to more people at the BTU Hall last week who were angry with the two brothers who beat up the innocent homeless immigrant man. Nobody ever heard of them before. They certainly never did anything to help their neighbors or community. I only wish that some in the national media would write about people like Carl Hosea.

But as one old timer said to me Saturday night, “Ray, I’ve given up on the national media. They have a bias and it’s so apparent. They can’t even report on political events fairly and they look down on working class people like us who believe in traditional family values. They simply don’t understand the loyalty we have for one another. We have priests here from St. Ann’s like Fr. Tom MacDonald, coaches, young couples, long time residents, teachers, political leaders here.”

Long time friends Eddie Kelley, Eddie Rollo and I had a great conversation about the good old days, especially talking sports. We talked about our mutual friend, the legendary Bob Cousy of the Boston Celtics, Jimmy Cotter of BC High, Charlie Bunker of Dorchester High School, Walt Mortimer, Bobby Timmons, Gerry Kenneally, Jim Collier and Fran Duggan. But when my long time friend Kevin Hayes joined in on the conversation, naturally we had to shift the topic to hockey. Kevin is the proud father of a Boston Bruins, and a New York Rangers hockey stars, Jimmy and Kevin Hayes.

The Carl Hosea tribute was a great night to honor a special friend, family and community. We were all back at St. Ann’s Church on Tuesday to say farewell to a young man who taught us all the meaning of loyalty and pride. The sun was shinning in Dorchester on Tuesday and even better days ahead for Carl in Heaven. But I kept thinking, where is he going to go fishing in Heaven? No exaggerated fish stories up there, Carl.

Ray Flynn is the former Mayor of Boston and U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican.