Brian's Life and Legacy


Local Leadership

Brian Honan was born on April 2, 1963 in Allston, Massachusetts. His parents, Patrick, a union sprinkler fitter and Mary, a lunch mother at the Jackson/Mann School instilled in Brian, his sister Clare and his brother Kevin, a deep commitment to public service, a love of politics, a passion for sports and athletics, and an unparalleled devotion to family and friends.

As a young boy, Brian attended elementary schools in Allston/Brighton. A standout in the classroom and in the gym, Brian made a name for himself on the basketball courts of Ringer Park, the West End House and in his family’s front yard on Gordon Street. As a high school player Brian made all league honors, scored over 1,000 points and his team won the league championship at Saint Columbkille’s High School in Brighton.

Brian Honan’s life was distinguished for his continual and untiring service to the people of Allston/Brighton and throughout Boston. As a young man, he exhibited an extraordinary sense of friendship and camaraderie on the streets, schools and parks of Allston/Brighton. One of Brian’s first jobs was Director of the Parks Improvement Program for the Allston/Brighton Community Development Corporation. Working with young people cleaning up playgrounds and parks throughout the neighborhood, Brian forged a work ethic and friendships that would last his entire life. While his close family life was always the greatest inspiration to help people, Brian also found a great friend and mentor in public life in Allston-Brighton’s own Judge Norman Weinberg.

After graduating from Boston College, Brian became a teacher at Saint Patrick’s High School in Watertown, Massachusetts. His role as teacher, mentor and friend resulted, once again, in long lasting friendships with his colleagues and many of his current and former students. His love of sports and basketball brought him to the court once again, this time as a referee – perhaps his most notable “second career.” Off the court, one of Brian’s favorite hobbies in life was developing; a great love for “punk” and “new wave” music. Wherever he was – at home, work or on the basketball court – The Clash, Stiff Little Fingers, The Alarm, U2 and The Psychedelic Furs were never far behind.

While at Saint Patrick’s, Brian began classes at the New England School of Law in Boston. Graduating in 1989, Brian left Saint Patrick’s and became an Assistant District Attorney in Massachusetts’ Suffolk County. One of his life’s great mentors, District Attorney Ralph Martin, helped Brian carve out a career as a prosecutor, and it would be there–in the courtrooms of Roxbury and Dorchester – that he would begin to shape his career in public life.

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During his tenure at Saint Patrick’s and the District Attorney’s office, Brian became more and more involved in the day to day life of Allston and Brighton, continuing the work he had begun as a young man with the West End House and the YMCA, and joining organizations like the Elks and the Kiwanis. He would also begin to participate in many of the organizations which would one day enhance his profile as a candidate for public office, such as the Allston/Brighton Area Planning Action Committee, the Allston/Brighton Healthy Boston Coalition, the Ward 21 and 22 Democratic Committees, the Allston Civic Association, Brighton Allston Improvement Association, the Boston Police Planning Committee and the North Allston Master Planning Task Force.

In 1995, Brian was elected to the Boston City Council representing his home district of Allston and Brighton. Through his work on the Neighborhood Housing Trust, and as Chairman of the Committee on University and Community Relations, Brian discovered one of the true passions of his public career – the development of affordable housing. Over the years, going door to door and attending community meetings, Brian realized that housing was critical to the betterment of life in so many other areas – family life, education and health. He was committed to the idea that housing was not just bricks and mortar, but that it was the dignity of a place to call “home.” While on the City Council, Brian also continued his distinguished practice of law at the firm of Salon and Kantrovitz in downtown Boston.

Brian was re-elected to the Boston City Council three times. In 2002, he entered the race for the Suffolk County District seat being vacated by his friend, mentor and former boss, Ralph Martin. In his usual engaging fashion, Brian made friends and gained widespread support throughout the county. Tragically, this campaign would be Brian’s last. He passed away on July 30, 2002 from complications linked to cancer surgery.

Brian’s life was one of academic distinction, athletic achievement and a devotion to public service. He was a consummate professional and his true calling in life was people – his family, friends, neighbors and constituents. His was a life of achievement, integrity and success – in the schools, the parks, the courtrooms and the halls of government of Massachusetts. He had an uncanny knack for humor, friendship and loyalty – traits which later in life would contribute to his great success as a consensus builder and a public servant renowned for bringing people together.

Brian’s good work and legacy live on, and his family is proud that he has been honored in several ways. The Allston Branch of the Boston Public Library, a cause for which Brian worked very hard in his lifetime, was named the Honan-Allston Branch by Mayor Thomas Menino and the Boston City Council in April of 2003. A joint venture – of the City of Boston, the Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation, and Harvard University – resulted in the naming of an affordable housing development as the Brian J. Honan apartments. Also in 2003, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley, Brian’s colleague on the City Council, named an annual public service award in his honor. In the fall of 2004, the first annual Honan 5k road race benefiting the Brian J. Honan Foundation and several other community-oriented groups took place on the morning of the Allston/Brighton Parade. The Boston City Councilor Brian J. Honan Park, located on Allston Street near the Monarch Condominiums, was dedicated in June 2005.

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