Those We Lost
Recent Irish and Irish American Obituaries
Hickey’s life will be celebrated at a fundraiser to benefit the Lawrence F. Hickey Center in Manhattan on May 14. His daughter, CBS newswoman Magee Hickey, will perform with several other newscasters from different stations. Call 845-871-1171 for details.
Ellen McCormack died on March 27 in Avon, Connecticut. She was 84.
In both 1976 and 1980 she ran for President as a pro-life candidate. In 1976, McCormack won 238,000 votes in 18 Democratic primaries, and 22 delegate votes at the Democratic National Convention. She ran again in 1980 under the Right to Life party and qualified for the ballot in three states and won more than 32,000 votes.
McCormack was born Eleanor Rose Cullen on September 15, 1926. He mother was born in Co. Leitrim, one of 16 children, and immigrated to the U.S. at age 16. McCormack’s father emigrated from Co. Wicklow as a child.
McCormack began to focus on the issue of abortion when it became legal in New York in 1970. She soon became a member of the Pro-Life Action Committee. Her husband, Francis, passed away in 1993. She is survived by her daughters Kathleen, Anne and Ellen, a son, John; grandchildren; and great-grandchildren.
Charity advocate Brian O'Connell died at this home in Chatham, Mass on March 21 after a battle with cancer. He was 81.
O'Connell is best known for co-founding the Independent Sector, an organization that represents the interests of charities, foundations and nonprofit giving programs in the US, often before Congress. Since 1980, O'Connell served as the organization's first president and CEO until he retired in 1995.
O'Connell spent his life helping others. He started his career as director of the California affiliate of the American Heart Association and then became the director of the National Mental Health Association for 12 years, starting in 1966. During this time, he organized the National Committee on Patients' Rights. In 1978, he became the president of the National Council of Philanthropy and executive director of the Coalition of National Voluntary Organizations. O'Connell received many honorary degrees and awards for his work.
Born on Jan. 23, 1930, in Worcester, M.A., he graduated from Tufts University in 1953, where he later helped found the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service. The school awarded him the Tufts Distinguished Alumni Award and established a library in his name, which holds 14 books he wrote, his most recent being a memoir, Fifty Years in Public Causes: Stories from a Road Less Traveled.
O'Connell is survived by his wife, Ann, three children, Todd, Tracey Sperry, and Matthew, brothers Jeffrey and Thomas, sister, Jesslyn McNamara, and six grandchildren.
Vincent O’Leary, former president of SUNY Albany, passed away at the age of 86 on April 22, 2011 in Gaithersburg, MD from complications from a fall.
O’Leary was born on July 31, 1924 in San Francisco, CA. In 1948, he graduated from San Francisco State College with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and earned a master’s degree from the University of Washington in 1956.
In 1977, O’Leary assumed the presidency of SUNY Albany at a time when programs and academic units were being closed due to budget limitations. With the campus in major turmoil, he decided to take the university in a different direction and develop new programs. During his tenure as president, he helped with the development of 27 graduate programs, increased the financing for external research and introduced an international research and scholarship exchange. Some of the new graduate programs evolved into the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy and the School of Public Health. The result was a complete turnaround for SUNY Albany.
Prior to becoming president of SUNY Albany, O’Leary was the assistant director of President Johnson’s National Crime Commission, director of parole supervision in Texas and a professor at the University of Albany from 1968-1977. After his presidency, he taught criminal justice and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2006.
O’Leary is survived by his wife, Lihua Yu O’Leary; his daughters from his first marriage, Beth O’Leary and Cathy Goldwyn; three stepchildren, Lena, Eugene and Anna Sun; and 10 grandchildren.
James Regan, former president of the New York City Board of Education, passed away on April 25, 2011 in Staten Island, NY of complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was 81 years old.
Regan and his twin sister Gertrude were born on January 24, 1930 in the Bronx, NY to Peter and Mary Regan. He graduated from Fordham University in 1952 and earned a master’s degree in personnel and guidance from Richmond College (now the College of Staten Island) in 1971. During the Korean War, Regan served in the Navy and afterward became a teacher at New Dorp High School.
Regan served on the board from 1972-1990. Prior to this, he was a social studies teacher for 17 years. He was president of the board four times, May 1974-1975 and three consecutive one year terms beginning in July 1983. He served as President during difficult times. After schools chancellor Anthony J. Alvarado resigned in May 1984, Regan endorsed the acting chancellor Nathan Quinones for the position. They worked together for the next three years, resulting in improved test scores, decreased classroom sizes and a decrease in the dropout rate. In 1989, as the result of a young girl’s death after getting off the school bus, Regan pushed for a trial program that required the installation of red stop arms on all school buses on Staten Island. It is now a citywide feature of school buses.
Regan’s wife Mary (Schlusser) Regan passed away in January. He is survived by his daughters Claire Regan and Cara Regan-Warford.
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