[Congressional Record Volume 146, Number 135 (Wednesday, October 25, 2000)]
[Pages S10994-S10995]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, all of us who know and admire our 
distinguished colleague in the House of Representatives, Congressman 
Marty Meehan, were saddened to learn of his father's death earlier this 
  At the funeral service for his father on October 14 in Lowell, 
Massachusetts, Congressman Meehan delivered an eloquent tribute to his 
father that deeply touched all of those who were present. He described 
in vivid terms and in many wonderful stories the lifelong love and 
support that Mr. Meehan gave to his family.
  I believe that Congressman Meehan's moving eulogy to his father will 
be of interest to all of us in Congress, and I ask unanimous consent 
that it may be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                       Eulogy of Martin T. Meehan

           (By U.S. Rep. Martin T. Meehan, October 14, 2000)

       On behalf of my mother, brothers and sisters, my Aunt 
     Katherine and Uncle John, my cousins, and my entire family, I 
     want to thank all of you for joining us today to help 
     celebrate our father's life. We are all honored by your 
     presence and are grateful for your support and affection over 
     the last few days.
       I can imagine my father looking out at the long lines 
     forming outside the McCabe's funeral Home yesterday. He would 
     have said, ``Frankie McCabe must be giving something out for 
       Frank isn't, Dad, believe me.
       My father was born in Lowell on July 16, 1927 to Martin H. 
     Meehan and Josephine Ashe Meehan. His father immigrated to 
     the United States from County Clare, Ireland in 1912. His 
     mother, immigrated from County

[[Page S10995]]

     Kerry the year before, was a cousin of the great Irish 
     patriot Thomas Ashe, who died during one of the first hungers 
     strikes--in Ireland's fight for freedom in Mount Joy Jail in 
       Thomas Ashe's picture was hung on the wall of his family 
     home on Batchelder Street in the Acre Section of Lowell. In 
     1963, a portrait of President Kennedy was added.
       The Acre was where the Greek and Irish immigrants settled 
     in Lowell. My father grew up there and he loved it. Swimming 
     in the canals, playing baseball for St. Patrick's and Lowell 
     High School, and building lifetime bonds. It was a 
     neighborhood where the kids were tough and strong, and 
     everyone had a nick name--hence ``Buster.'' The Acre was 
     where thousands of new immigrant families were becoming part 
     of the great American Dream.
       In 1946, Dad met my mother at a party her cousin Maureen 
     Gay had. Dad was not invited, he crashed. And my mother was 
     glad he did. There were married three years later.
       My father had a saying for everything in life. Some of them 
     really bugged me at times. But they all had a purpose and 
     wisdom for how to lead a good life.
       ``One God, One County, One Woman'' he used to say. That--
     one woman--was my mother. He was passionately in love with 
     her through 51 years of marriage. Their love for each other 
     intensified and grew. I believe the love our father and 
     mother shared for one another was extended to every person 
     who was a part of their lives.
       I can remember as a very small boy first learning the 
     concept of love. ``I love you kids with all my heart'' he'd 
     say. ``But I love your mother even more''. ``But Dad'', I 
     once replied, ``Who am I supposed to love more? You or Ma? 
     ``You kids should love your mother the most'', he'd say. 
     ``She gave birth to you.''
       First they lived in a three tenement on Lincoln Street 
     where Colleen and Kathy and I were born. Later they bought an 
     eight-room house the next street over at 22 London Street 
     where they raised seven children in a home that was filled 
     with love, laughter, energy . . . action 24 hour a day . . . 
     a strong commitment to the Catholic Church and to family.
       It was a great neighborhood--and my father helped us spread 
     our family's love all over it. And there isn't a better 
     testament to that love--than our relationship with the Durkin 
     family who had seven children of their own, just down the 
     street. So many memories, so many stories.
       Visiting the ice cream stand with Dad was unforgettable. He 
     would load all of us into the car with as many of our friends 
     as would fit. He would ask us what we wanted. ``I'll have a 
     banana split,'' I'd shout. My sisters would say, ``I'll have 
     a hot fudge Sunday.'' Our friends couldn't believe it--they 
     would order a shake or double ice cream scoop with extra 
     nuts, extra whipped cream!
       He'd take everyone's order and then go up to the line. 
     Don't worry, he'd say, ``I'll carry it back''.
       Ten minutes later he'd return with 13 single cups of 
     chocolate ice cream. ``That's all they'd had,'' he'd shrug?
       Dad was also a very successful little league coach. On 
     Dad's White Sox team everyone played--at least three innings. 
     I remember how embarrassed I was when Dad's White Sox lost 
     every game--0-18. Some games we were winning after three 
     winnings, 8 to 4 or even 7 to 2. But in the fourth inning Dad 
     put all of the subs in--no matter what. ``Everyone plays!'' 
     he'd say. The other teams kept the best players in for the 
     whole game. Naturally, they would win.
       Today I am so proud of the way my Dad coached the kids on 
     that 0 and 18 team. Today, I am so proud of how my father 
     lived his life.
       As children, we shared so many happy times together each 
     summer with family and friends at Seabrook Beach. Later as 
     adults, with his grandchildren, we spent weekends at dad and 
     Mom's beach house. After a few morning hours together on the 
     beach, Mom and Dad would head back to the house to begin the 
     daylong cooking ritual so that we could have a dinner 
     together. Many times in the evenings, we would sing songs 
     around a bonfire on the beach. We enjoyed lobster bakes and 
     thankfully Mom and Dad got to enjoy an occasional sunrise 
     together. And many times, after a long day, many of us would 
     sit together and watch the sun go down and our father would 
     say to us all, ``It's a great life and it's a great 
       Dad worked at the Lowell Sun Publishing Company for 43 
     years. He started as a truck driver . . . became a linotype 
     operator . . . Then became Assistant Foreman in the Composing 
     Room. He loved the Sun and the newspaper business, and he 
     knew it from soup to nuts. There were a lot of great 
     reporters that came through the Sun over the years, but my 
     father never hesitated to tell them when he felt they just 
     didn't get it right--especially on a political story.
       Frank Phillips, Chris Black, Brian Mooney and others all 
     heard from Dad on more than one occasion. When he was 
     finished he had earned their respect and they appreciated his 
     wisdom and experience. And they all affectionately repeat 
     those stories--even today.
       Dad was an active lifetime member of the Typographical 
     Union--serving in a leadership position. He always stressed 
     the importance of workers being able to organize for fair 
     wages and benefits. It's not surprising that my sisters 
     Colleen and Kathy are members of the teachers union and Mark 
     and Paul are active members of their respective unions as 
       But as strong a union person as he was--he loved the Lowell 
     Sun and the company's ownership, the Costello Family. He 
     followed the Costello kids' lives as if they were his own--
     always loyal to the company and the Costello family.
       Supporting Mom and seven young children was not always 
     easy. For seven years he got a second job working nights as a 
     Corrections Officer. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays he 
     would get up at 5:30 to be at the Sun to punch in at 7 
     o'clock. His shift was over at 3:30. He'd put on his uniform 
     at the Paper, punch in at the Jail at 4 o'clock and work 
     until midnight. He got home by 12:30 in the morning, and went 
     to bed for five hours so he could be back at the paper by 7 
       I'm sure it wasn't easy--but he wanted the best for his 
     children and he wanted my mother to be able to be home with 
       My father didn't care what we did for work--but he wanted 
     us to get an education. And we all did. He was especially 
     proud of the fact that my sisters Colleen, Kathy, and Mary 
     all became school teachers. He thought it was the most 
     important job of all. ``Teaching is not a job''--Dad would 
     say--``it's a vocation''. He loved the idea that his 
     daughters were helping to shape the minds of 25 kids in a 
     classroom each day.
       He was so proud of all his children, in a unique and 
     special way. My brother Mark, a master electrician, ``has the 
     biggest and best heart of all my kids'', he'd say. And Mark 
     gave Dad his newest precious grandchild ``Sarah'' just two 
     weeks ago. He was so proud that Paul followed him to the 
     Sheriff's Department. Paul is a model for overcoming 
     obstacles and winning. He recently went back to school for 
     his degree, got married and was promoted to Captain as well.
       When I ran for Congress in 1992 my sister Maureen answered 
     the call and put her work--and life--on hold to take the most 
     important job in the campaign--raising the money to win. My 
     Dad just loved the fact that I turned to my sister. And when 
     we won he knew it was Maureen who was the rock behind us. 
     ``Politics is a tough business,'' he'd say--``you need people 
     you can really trust--and that means family''. That's why 
     President Kennedy had Bobby. 'Course after the election, I 
     remember Maureen was sick and I asked, ``What's wrong with 
     her now?''--Dad's split second response--``Working for you!''
       Dad was so well read, a voracious reader . . . A lover of 
     poetry and words, and boy did he love to sing!
       So much love in his heart, and this extension of love was 
     felt by his grandchildren and in-laws. The term ``in-laws'' 
     didn't mean much to Dad--he welcomed them and loved them like 
     they were his own. And they loved him back.
       All fifteen of his grandchildren are loved as individuals 
     and each of them realizes the power of love and family 
     through their papa and munama. One of my young nieces asked 
     during the last couple of days, ``How did Papa have so much 
     love to give to so many people?'' Well, I really don't know 
     the answer to that for sure. I just know he did. Every time 
     our father gave us a hug--or as he would say a hug-a-deen--he 
     would accompany it with an ``I love you''. ``Aren't they 
     wonderful'', Dad would say. ``Your mother and I will live in 
     them in the next generation through these beautiful kids . . 
     . and as I've told you'', he'd say, ``that's the sweet 
     mystery of life''.
       So happy, so content, there was nothing more in life that 
     he wanted--than that which he already had--His Family.
       And he thanked God for our happiness every single day.
       Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., once said that the measure of a 
     man's success in life was not the money he had made, but 
     rather the family he had raised. That quote has been framed 
     in my parents' home over 15 years. My father believed it and 
     devoted himself to family every day of his life for 73 years. 
     He was an immensely successful man.
       We love you Dad and will miss you.