EHS Notable Alumni
The Amazing Reverend Patrick Healy, EHS ’39
Photo: Nicolaus Czarnecki/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald
While the Boston Herald did an excellent piece on this amazing man we thought we would speak to Rev. Patrick Healy for some more details of his thoughts on his English High experience.
Rev. Healy, EHS ’39, grew up in Charlestown. He was the ninth child in a 10-child family. “Six girls and four boys, that’s why I became a priest, I couldn’t take any more women!” he quips.
Interested very much in playing baseball, the baseball coach at Charlestown High told him to go to English High instead because, “the English team was coached by Bill Ohrenberger, and I would have a better chance of getting a college scholarship by playing at English.” He played second base for The Blue and Blue.
“English High was on Tremont St. then, we had no field so we had to take a bus to Billings Field in West Roxbury to play.”
Healy also remembers the school’s dreary cafeteria “was in the basement, like the catacombs in Rome,” he joked.
In those days students were required to take Military Drill and Science twice a week and wore uniforms from WW I. The training came in handy when he went into the service. “They (the Army) were impressed with my ability to do the manual-of-arms when I was in boot-camp at Fort Dix.” Rev. Healy also played the trombone in the EHS Military band, “but I played a ‘lousy’ trombone,” he chuckled.
Overall his memory of English High was a “wonderful time.” He particularly praised the teaching staff. “We had many great teachers from Boston College, Holy Cross and Harvard. My favorite was my homeroom and English teacher ‘Buck’ Foley, the finest teacher. He commuted every day all the way from Winthrop!”
Rev. Healy also remembers English’s then 2500 student body had multiple races and “there was no discrimination, no prejudice, we all got along.”
As a Chaplin serving in Korea and Vietnam he counseled many soldiers and met many English High grads on the battlefields some of whom were star EHS athletes. As the Herald story stated he also gave last rites to dying soldiers though none were from English.
While he is now legally blind, Healy still says Mass “…from memory, and I keep them short, seven minutes!”
At 100 years young he’s not slowing done. His hobby is writing and he has written a number of books about faith and his experiences.