Vox Populi: The O'Shaughnessy Files

By William O’Shaughnessy | Go to book overview

“AN IRISHMAN NAMED WELLINGTON
WHOSE FATHER WAS A BOOKMAKER”:
EULOGY TO HIS FATHER BY JOHN MARA
AT ST. PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL

On behalf of my mother and our family, I want to thank everyone here to celebrate my father’s life. Many of you came from far away, and we are very appreciative. The outpouring of love and affection for my father has been overwhelming.

Also, special thanks to Edward Cardinal Egan for his comforting words; Bishop McCormick, who brought him communion; and Frank Gifford, who has been a true friend to my family for so many years.

Thank you also to those at Sloan-Kettering who took such good care of my father the last six weeks. They treated him as if he were their own father. When he finally decided he wanted to go home and checked out of the hospital, the nurses and staff were all in tears. That is how close a bond they forged.

There is one caregiver who deserves special mention: Ronnie Barnes, whom my mother refers to as her twelfth child. Ronnie spent many days and nights in my father’s hospital room. “Is Ronnie coming tonight?” my father would ask. Of course, the answer was almost always, “Yes,” and my father’s face would light up in response.

We joked with Ronnie about his motivation, accusing him of avoiding the nurses who kept trying to slip him their phone numbers. My father asked him one night, “Ronnie, why are you so good to me?” “Because, Mr. Mara, you’ve been so good to me,” Ronnie replied.

As we made our way over here to St. Patrick’s this morning, I thought my father would have been so embarrassed by all this, the police escort, the traffic stopped, the bagpipes; he would have just shaken his head and tried to hide somewhere.

As painful as it is to say goodbye to someone you love so much, to someone who has been such an integral part of your life, I realize

-515-

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