Vox Populi: The O'Shaughnessy Files

By William O’Shaughnessy | Go to book overview

THE LAST PUBLIC REMARKS
OF OSSIE DAVIS

Ossie Davis, the great American actor, was a New Rochelle
neighbor. He was also a citizen-activist with whom we
collaborated on many civil rights and community issues
over the years. He would often appear in our lobby to
“enlighten” us. I was honored to introduce him at his last
public appearance, upon the occasion of Lincoln Hall’s
annual dinner at The Water Club, New York City, on
January 7, 2005.

WILLIAM O’SHAUGHNESSY: Welcome to the Lincoln Hall Annual Dinner. Thank you for the generosity of your purse and your willingness to leave hearth and home for a noble purpose. I’m reminded—as the late New York Governor Malcolm Wilson once observed—that I am, as the program indicates, the only one standing between you and your dinner (laughter), and I plan to extricate myself from that position promptly and expeditiously, if not deftly. (applause)

We’re here tonight, ladies and gentlemen, because no one in my home can resist a summons from Nancy Curry O’Shaughnessy, our dinner chair. (applause)

The towering reputation of your president, Jim Nugent, also compels our presence. For thirty years, he has served Lincoln Hall with relentless devotion, a personality flaw also shared by your vice president, Douglas Wyatt. (applause)

In the last few years, Lincoln Hall has raised over $100,000 for the McCooey Scholarship Fund, an organization providing grants to deserving young men after they leave your care and keeping.

Lincoln Hall, named for our greatest president, was founded some 139 years ago and has quietly compiled a remarkable record. Except for a small group of family judges, youth counselors, social workers, and Catholic officials, no one really knew anything about Lincoln Hall until just a few years ago. Of course,

-394-

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