Remembering Peter Looney

The bright green sign announcing to all who come that this is Peter Looney Park looks all the more impressive after a year of standing. If one looks closely through the fencing, park goers are seen enjoying the amenities.

The one year anniversary of Peter Looney’s death has just passed.

It kind of takes your breath away to think about how quickly time passes, how death is so final and how it helps to define what is so important about our lives.

Death, however, in Peter Looney’s case, has not done much to dim the powerful positive image most people who knew him and who loved him still hold inside their minds.

Even when Peter was deathly ill, he remained a positive force in this neighborhood. As he approached the end, he did not complain about his fate. He did not question his faith. He did the best he could under the difficult circumstances until his time had come.

Before that dreadful day when he died, he was honored more than several times by his important friends like Mayor Menino and former Mayor Ray Flynn and by his local friends too numerous to name and of course by his wife and family.

What he especially cherished at the dedication of the park which carries his name by the skating rink were the beautiful words spoken by his grandchildren about him and by being surrounded by friends and relatives, young and old, rich and poor, who came to celebrate with him the naming of the park.

He was being pushed around in a wheelchair at that time and needing oxygen.

Several months before, Peter was still walking and getting about on his own, obviously ill, but again, making the best of a bad situation and attempting to enjoy every bit of normalcy before the cancer inside him took its toll.

The sickness had taken its toll on him but he remained quintessentially himself – that is – outgoing, engaging, interested in what others had to say, and very much connected with the Charlestown neighborhood where he had spent his life.

And he was sharp of mind with names and recollections of events and ideas and he was always interested in the news and what was going on around him.

Then he died.

His funeral was massive. The words about him were effusive, perhaps even more effusive than he would have liked, but in retrospect, all the good things said about him were deserved.

He was, after all, a class act, a complete gentleman, someone who wanted to make friends and who had virtually no enemies, who wanted to make a difference in the neighborhood he loved.

Peter Looney has been gone a year.

His absence proves that a year can seem like an awful long time when you’ve lost someone who was so important to the well being of Charlestown.

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