At an Evening Honoring the Honan Brothers

Remarks by Bill Margolin, June 12, 2001

west-end-invitationFor me the most enjoyable part of preparing for tonight’s event was the time – actually, the times – I spent talking to Mary & Patrick Honan at 60 Gordon Street in Allston (now for those of you who ask the perennial question where does Allston end and Brighton begin, all you have to do is cross the street from 60 Gordon and – voila – you are in Brighton!).

Sitting with them in their living room or outside on the deck, I truly got a sense of the love, kindness, gentleness, decency, and humor that encompasses that household. I also got a sense of history, especially political.

Mary and Patrick Honan, who celebrated 46 years of marriage on June 4th, have raised three children in that house, children who, like their parents, give of themselves to help others. Daughter Clare (spelled CLARE), who is named after County Clare in Ireland where Patrick was born, is a registered nurse at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Kevin and Brian – well, I don’t have to tell you what they do for a living. Perhaps the desire on the part of the boys to fight for the betterment of their fellow residents came from their maternal great aunt, Anna McCarthy, who was awarded medals for bravery as an army nurse in the 1916 Irish uprising; perhaps, too, their desire to enter politics came from their mother’s many years of active membership in the Democratic Ward 21 Committee at the urging of Norman Weinberg, or her holding signs at the polls, including the time that election day fell on Patrick’s birthday March 4th and he was the one bringing her cookies and cake to keep up her spirits. Under their porch, you will see the Honan for State Rep or Honan for City Council signs that Pat has made and that have been held at one time or another by all the Honans, including daughter-in-law Colleen, son-in-law Michael, and grandchildren Patrick (15 end of month complete BU hockey freak), Michelle (13, soccer, dancing, and flute), Stephanie (12) trumpet and Irish step dancing., and, I suspect, even little Molly. Uncle Charlie Doyle, himself active in local ward politics, has been part of the Honan political cause, often doing research for his nephews. Mary and Patrick never miss each Wednesday’s Boston City Council meetings on local cable TV, or Channel 44’s coverage of the Mass. House sessions. Patrick is enamored of the Sunday evenings C-Span coverage of the proceedings of the British House of Commons, hoping perhaps to pick up a few pointers of parliamentary procedure to pass along to his sons. Just this past Sunday he studied the results from Labor’s recent landslide victory so as to pass along helpful hints for his sons’ future political battles.

bu-award-2Kevin and Brian have many alma maters – both share educational experiences at the old Andrew Jackson Grammar School, Taft Jr. High School, St. Columbkille’s HS, and Boston College. Kevin’s post graduate work includes degrees from Leslie College and the Kennedy School of Government, the latter school about to receive Brian to add to his law degree from New England School of Law. But Kevin and Brian are being honored tonight by another, different kind of alma mater, one they have been part and parcel of, and highly supportive of, since day one for us in Allston. They were among the very first to join what was then the WEH Boys Club when our doors opened on Allston St. on October 4, 1971, and thirty years later they are still coming through those very same doors. As youngsters they were daily attendees, especially active on the WEH basketball teams.

Indeed, their association with basketball and the WEH extends in many ways – Brian, playing for St. Col’s, scored his 1,000th point in high school play on St. Col’s home court – which happened to be the WEH. Kevin sponsors the annual Honan Basketball League at the West End House, providing intramural competition each fall for well over 100 boys and girls. Both men always participate in the annual BB fundraising shootout at the WEH, with Brian’s 188 baskets last April made within 10 minutes eclipsed only by Kevin’s 220 baskets. Incidentally, both brothers sported sore arms for days afterwards; fortunately neither had to co-sign any bills or proclamations until feeling once again returned to their limbs.

As kids, the Honan Brothers took part in the Annual Road Races (as their mother helped serve the hot dogs to the crowds); as adolescents they volunteered as referees or coaches of our basketball teams; as adults, busy as they are, both men not only serve on our Board of Directors but also spend time at the Club, talking to the kids as well as to the Old Timers, not out of necessity or as part of their duties, but because they both take a genuine interest in the lives of the people who surround them.


When you are in politics, your time is not your own and everyone owns a piece of you. Kevin and Brian have willingly chosen that course and have willingly made themselves accessible to their constituents, nor have they let the power or prestige of their respective positions get to them. They are just as used to walking the corridors of City Hall or the State House as they are the corridors of the West End House, the JM Comm. Center, or the Veronica Smith Sr. Center. They listen to the voices of the folks of Allston-Brighton and act in the best of interests of all concerned. No, they cannot please everyone – no one can – but they have earned the respect of everyone. They have been supportive of the goals and mission of the WEHB&GC, they know what it is like to be a youngster in our Club, and they have not forgotten their roots. Mary Honan said that she always felt her boys were in a safe and caring place when they were at the West End House; now Kevin and Brian work to ensure that this same statement can be said about any youngster who enters our building and partakes in our programs.

There is a time limit to each speaker, and reluctantly I will abide by it, since I could go on and on. Selfishly, I hope we will again honor someone named Honan, so I can again spend some delightful afternoons at the Honan household at 60 Gordon Street. However, through the efforts of Brian and Kevin all of us become the recipients of the warmth, understanding, compassion, and dedication that emanates from the Honan household.. 60 Gordon Street, indeed, reaches out to all of us.

Thank you, Brian and Kevin, for your unwavering support of the youth of the WEH – but a word of caution: Today’s teenage ping pong competitor in the Club’s gamesroom just might be tomorrow’s political opponent.