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Bidding farewell to Haggerty

Ex-councilor remembered for love of town

Bernard Haggerty. (click for larger version)
November 18, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Ask people who knew him what former Town Councilor Bernard Haggerty was like, and one word comes up often — "interesting." The same people are also likely to remark on how "Irish" and sometimes "controversial" he was.

"He had an air of arrogance that both worked for the town and against him personally," said former state Rep. Mark Carron. "The town was served very, very well by him. … Was the world a better place because Bernie Haggerty walked the ground? Absolutely."

Haggerty died late last week at age 84, the same weekend as his friend and fellow councilor Laurent McDonald. Some, in fact, recall the two of them in the same breath; one of those is former Town Manager Michael Coughlin, now administrator in Westport.

"I took them to meet President Clinton at Logan Airport. Both people offered their hands to the president at the same time, but protocol demanded Larry, as chairman, go first. Larry later complained Bernie stepped on his foot getting there," Coughlin recalled. "… I'm just glad they weren't both arrested by the Secret Service, because it looked like they were both lunging at [Clinton]."

He said the two councilors were "a dynamic one-two punch," that was most effective when McDonald was chair and Haggerty vice-chair. They "really balanced each other," he said.

"Bernie had a razor-sharp wit and the Irish gift of gab, but it sometimes got him in trouble," Coughlin added. "You might not always agree with him, but you knew where he stood."

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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