The Passing of Senator Paul Sheehy

Before I get started, I would just like to acknowledge the passing of the iconic Paul Sheehy of Lowell. Two years ago, I lost my father to cancer and it was extremely difficult. I know the Sheehy family and, if one of the signs of a good parent is how good their children are, then God has a special place for Paul and Molly Sheehy. I student-taught their daughter Elizabeth when she was practicing for a play entitled “King Didrick’s Will,” back in the 1980’s. She was one of the most accomplished child actors I have ever seen. She went on to graduate from high school and then from college, where she maintained a Grade Point Average that was good enough to get her into law school. She graduated from law school, passed the Bar, and went on to practice with her Dad on Central Street. I went into the office one day while I was campaigning for my Sister-in-Law and she and her father regaled me with stories about Lowell for about an hour. I have a daughter who wants to go to Law School, and I hope she is half the woman that Elizabeth has become.

I also know Marie quite well. She is working for the UMASS-Lowell University in a high administrative post, and she is highly involved with the Democratic Party. She came very close to winning an election at the County level a few years ago. She is a marvelous person, a wonderful mother, and a lawyer like her father and sister. She was Assistant City Soliciter for years, and I am pleased to be a friend.

I was surprised to read in the “Sun” that Middlesex College’s presence downtown was the result of Paul Sheehy’s idea. I always assumed it was Carole Cowan and Molly Sheehy who brought the college to downtown Lowell. It started off simply enough, in a single building and now has a complete campus. Mrs. Paul Sheehy (Molly) ran the day-to-day campus right up until her retirement a couple of years ago. My sister-in-law worked with Molly Sheehy for years and it seemed to me, she waxed effusively about Mrs. Sheehy’s talents. When I needed to get my niece into a Community College, I relied heavily on Middlesex Community College’s reputation and care for its students.

What was not mentioned is Sheehy Hall and Sheehy Park. Sheehy Hall is located on the grounds of the South Campus of UMASS-Lowell. It is a beautiful red-brick building which houses students at the college. It was named for Paul and Molly Sheehy many years ago. Sheehy Park is located on the Merrimack River, the south side. It was dedicated to Mr. Sheehy’s brother many years ago and is a joy to walk on or boat from, or do many of the activities that I enjoy so much. It can truthfully be said that the Sheehy name will be well-represented and remembered for generations. As for me, I can truthfully say that Mr. Sheehy will be remembered for his love of history, love of his family, and his love of Lowell for many of those generations.

I was pleasantly surprised that the Sheehy’s are not just grandparents, but great-grandparents as well. “Great” is a tremendous word to describe them and their family. I remember when my brother-in-law, Senator Paul Tsongas, told me, “You know as much about Lowell as Paul Sheehy!” I thought to myself, that that was the ultimate compliment. Mr. Sheehy, you will be missed.

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