William J. Horrigan

June 13, 2012

WILLIAM J. HORRIGAN – of Woburn, June 13th. Beloved husband of the late Shirley (Dunn) Horrigan. Devoted father of Mary Ann Murphy and her husband Michael of Manchester, NH, Ellen Hyde and her husband Mark of Hollis, NH, Jane McKenna and her husband Douglas of Tewksbury, Kathleen Sakati and her husband Dean of Hudson, NH, Julie Wilkins and her husband ???Ted??? of Pembroke, and Christine Davidson and her husband Stephen of Littleton. Beloved twin brother of Ann Coakley of Jamaica Plain. Loving grandfather of Meredith, Stephanie, Alex, Christopher, Nicole, Connor, Jennifer, Abigail, Ryan, Surina, Madison, Nelson, Devyn and Shea. Also survived by several nieces and nephews. Funeral from the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn, on Tuesday, June 19th at 10:45 a.m. Funeral Mass in St. Barbara’s Church, 138 Cambridge Road, Woburn, at 11:30. Calling hours Monday from 3 to 7 p.m. Interment in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, 990 LaGrange Street, W. Roxbury. Donations may be made in Mr. Horrigan’s memory to the Woburn High School Scholarship Fund, PO Box 202, Woburn, MA 01801.

OBITUARY:

William J. “Bill” Horrigan, a highly respected school administrator with the Woburn School Department, passed away at his home in Tewksbury Wednesday morning, June 13th, surrounded by his loving family. The beloved husband of the late Shirley M. (Dunn) Horrigan, he was just two days shy of his eighty-fourth birthday.

Born in Boston along with his twin sister Ann, Bill was the son of the late Patrick J. and Anna M. (Frawley) Horrigan. He was raised in West Roxbury and was a proud “triple Eagle,” having graduated from BC High School in 1946, Boston College in 1950, where he served as Class President, and earning a graduate degree from BC a few years later. His enthusiasm for his alma mater continued throughout his life. He was very active in the alumni association, held membership in the Gridiron Club, and was a season ticket holder for the football games.

Bill began his teaching career at Boston College High School before coming to Woburn. He taught mathematics at Woburn High School and later became Department Head of Mathematics and Science. Many former students recall him as a favorite teacher, and were inspired to continue in the field of mathematics due to his influence. It was at Woburn High that he was fortunate enough to meet a young English teacher named Shirley Dunn. They married and made their home in Bedford before taking up residence on Woburn’s West Side in 1965. Bill later became Assistant Principal of the John F. Kennedy Junior High School (later called the Kennedy Middle School) and worked with Principal Bart McDonough until he was named Principal of his beloved Kennedy Middle School.

Mr. Horrigan, as he was called formally by staff and students, was a favorite of his staff over the years and an individual who took great delight in all achievements of his students, as well as being instrumental in implementing the team teaching innovative approach (IGE Team Teaching Model) into practice at the school. He was a master in the development of science fairs at Woburn High School and the Kennedy Middle School. He was later appointed Assistant Superintendent for Business in the Woburn Public Schools.

The Assistant Superintendent, who worked alongside then-Superintendent Paul Andrews, exercised his great mathematics background, knowledge and skills, and was always working in his school budget presentations to respond to questions from officials and the public. He would always know where every document was in his office, taking great pleasure in making “the numbers come out and be perfect.” As a member of the committee to construct the new Woburn Memorial High School, he was instrumental in all aspects of the project, and was honored to have his name on the dedication plaque in the foyer of the new high school.

The beloved former educator had many fraternal and educational affiliations, including the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials and numerous others, with a special place in his heart for activities at Boston College High School and Boston College, where he had a host of faculty friends over his many years.

Always loving a great laugh, Bill enjoyed hearing a good story as well as telling a few, especially about the loves of his life: his wonderful wife Shirley and their six beautiful daughters. They were all favorite sources of his strength. Other stories came from a well-known part of his life in Fenway Park. His “second career,” which continued for over 68 years, was with the concession operation at Fenway Park. Starting as a vendor at the age of 14, Bill served in management positions for the Harry M. Stevens and Aramark Corporation, major national concession firms who handled all food services at Fenway Park. He became the Director of Operations in charge of the money room at Fenway, and would often travel to other major parks to instruct others on the accounting techniques he had implemented at Fenway. Following his retirement from the Woburn Public Schools he became more active with Fenway until his retirement after the 2010 baseball season. He would comment on several occasions, “the folks at Fenway have been wonderful to me, as were the folks in the Woburn schools and especially the Kennedy.” Many local young people gained employment at Fenway through Bill’s efforts over the years.

In many ways a very private person, Bill would do anything for anybody and was always ready to assist with a warm welcome. Bill and his late wife Shirley held a special place in their hearts for St. Barbara’s Parish in Woburn’s West Side, devoting hours together to the RICA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) Program as co-directors, bringing instruction to numerous adults to the goal of coming into the Catholic Church. Bill also served on the Parish Council and the Finance Committee for the church. Almost to the day of his hospitalization, Bill continued to serve his beloved St. Barbara’s as a Lector and Extraordinary Minister at Masses to assist his parish and Pastor, Rev. Vincent Mellone. He remained to the end a loyal member of the Parish. He was a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus in West Roxbury and served as Grand Knight in the 1970’s.

The Horrigan family loved their summer vacations each year in South Yarmouth on Cape Cod. The time was so special to Bill and Shirley as the Horrigan “girls” (as he would call them) always found the special time to be together for a few weeks. This was a precious time for all members of the Horrigan family, which later included their cherished grandchildren, over the years.

“Bill Horrigan was one in a million and we are so very blessed to have had him over these years,” said one of his closest friends in hearing of his passing, but added, “Bill is today in heaven with his wife Shirley, talking about their very special daughters and sons-in-law, and their grandchildren, who they both nurtured with great pride and admiration.”

Surviving are six daughters: Mary Ann Murphy and her husband Michael of Manchester, NH, Ellen Hyde and her husband Mark of Hollis, NH, Jane McKenna and her husband Douglas of Tewksbury, Kathleen Sakati and her husband Dean of Hudson, NH, Julie Wilkins and her husband ”Ted” of Pembroke, and Christine Davidson and her husband Stephen of Littleton. He was the devoted twin brother of Ann Coakley of Jamaica Plain, and the cherished grandfather of Meredith, Stephanie, Alex, Christopher, Nicole, Connor, Jennifer, Abigail, Ryan, Surina, Madison, Nelson, Devyn and Shea. Also surviving are several nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be held from the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn, on Tuesday, June 19th at 10:45 a.m., followed by a Funeral Mass in St. Barbara’s Church, 138 Cambridge Road, Woburn, at 11:30. Burial will take place in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, 990 LaGrange Street, W. Roxbury.

Relatives and friends are invited to call at the funeral home on Monday from 3 to 7 p.m.

Donations may be made in Mr. Horrigan’s memory to the Woburn High School Scholarship Fund, PO Box 202, Woburn, MA 01801.

Guestbook

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  1. I went to Kennedy Junior High back in the 70’s. I remember how nervous and scared I was the first day of going to that new school after six years at Wyman. Mr. Horrigan could tell I was lost while looking for one of my new classes. He put his comforting hand on my shoulder, put me at ease, and personally took me to the room I was looking for. He gave me a warm smile and a wink as he walked away. A lot of principles wouldn’t take the time to do that, but he did. That spoke volumes about this man’s character, and soul. My sympathy to his family. You lost a wonderful person. Dave Olson

  2. Had the privilege of spending many Saturday’s in the Fall tailgaiting with Mr & Mrs. H at Boston College. We enjoyed those days immensely and will always cherish those as very fond memories. Godspeed.

    Love Ann Marie & Greg

  3. Bob Upton “class of 1962”

    There is no doubt that Mr Horrigan left a lasting impression on his students. His classses made a very important impression on me. We have a lot of teachers in our lives but few are remembered. Mr Horrigan was has always been on the top of my list and I am sadded to hear of his passing. I am sure he will make an impression 100 times greater in heaven. My condolences to his family and all the many friends he left behind.

  4. Visiting Boston during college I was always welcome in the home of Shirley and Bill Horrigan. Whether it was summer vacation, a Thanksgiving with nowhere to go, or sitting around their kitchen table talking, my memories are fond. Mr.Horrigan will be deeply missed by many people, especially his loving daughters, and my very best friend Julie. He raised some awesome women!

    Kim Rowland

  5. Great Man!

    At the Kennedy I will always remember him using the phrase “You have one foot on a banana peel and one foot out the door”

    We used to laugh so much at that. RIP

  6. Ruth Lehoux former Aranmark Employee

    I worked with Bill for over 16 years both in the money room and first Base Station, at Fenway Park. He was always a gentleman and demanded accountability from his team. When I left Fenway he was one of the Management I missed the most.RIP Bill.

  7. I was fortunate to have both or your parents as teachers. Your dad made math accessible to all his students. He always seemed to have time to give me the extra help I so often required. He was a model for me throughout my career. Joe Riley, Professor of Math and Science University of Georgia

  8. Former Mayor Tom McLaughlin

    As a graduate of the Class of 1963..I would later find myself working together with Bill on the new Woburn High School Building Committee.

    Bill was such a decent person , likeable, easy to work with, cooperative in every way possible…. a pleasure to talk to and to be around. He was always happy to see you.

    The City of Woburn was so fortunate to have such a qualified person serve as an educator, administrator and one of its appointed members of the new WMHS building committee. It seems so fitting a tribute to his memory that his name appears on the decication plaque in the foyer of the new high school.

  9. Very, very sad. We have always held Bill Horrigan in the highest regard. He was a fine and caring person, a conscientious professional, and a true friend. So very sorry for your loss. Kathy and I will always remember him, Shirley, and your fine family fondly. –Rick Cooper

  10. Patricia (Bowman) Canavan
    I had your mom and dad both as teachers and I have to tell you they were the best Math and English teachers I ever had.
    My sympathies to your family and may you find peace knowing that your parents are together forever.
    With thought and prayers
    Patricia Canavan

  11. My deepest sympahies go to the Horrigan family. Mr. Horrigan and Mrs.Horrigan were very special and appreciated teachers. God Bless them and may they celebrate in heaven forever.

  12. Robert Eddy, Woburn High 1962; Whittier, California

    Not only was Mr. Horrigan an outstanding teacher but he was extremely successful in spreading his enthusiasm for learning to his students. His Math 12 class ignited my intellectual curiosities and developed enthusiasms which have served me well over the years. I am hoping that the donation I’m making in his memory to the Woburn High Scholarship Fund will help keep that special fire burning for those students yet to come.

  13. I do remember Mr. Horrigan and Miss Dunn from Woburn High. They were a class act. My sympathies to the family.

  14. Had the distinct pleasure of having had both Mr. And Mrs. as teachers. Had and still have the utmost respect for both. Please accept my sincere condolences for your loss. Be warmed somewhat with the knowledge of the positive impact they had on so many lives and to this day bring back fond memories to many others who will also be saddened with the loss. May they both rest in peace together again.

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