Just hours after merchants played a softball game in his honor, beloved community figure Joe O’Grady passed away peacefully.
O’Grady, 39, will be remembered not only by his three children and his wife Shannon, but by an extended family of friends from the Throggs Neck community and beyond. O’Grady, a member of the Turner Club and lifelong Throgs Neck Little League player, umpire and coach, passed away from complications of a rare cancer, Synovial Sarcoma.
O’Grady was a fifth and sixth grade teacher at St. Martin of Tours elementary school and a baseball coach at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, New York.
His funeral mass will be said by Father John Flynn, the longtime pastor of St. Martin of Tours, who was an inspiration to O’Grady’s teaching, his wife said.
Plans are in the works to establish a trust fund for the education of his three children. He had one biological child and two adopted children of Haitian origin. O’Grady’s three children are Ivanmene, 9, John, 3, and Thomas, 2.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to a trust being set up for his childrens’ educations.
“We never accepted any money from anyone, even though the Throggs Neck Benevolent Association and numerous people offered,” his wife Shannon said. “While our insurance was covering what we needed, Joe thought the money should be used on people who really needed it. I would never accept money for myself, but I am definitely grateful for a donation to his children’s educations in honor of his memory.”
O’Grady was diagnosed in the fall of 2008, and passed away peacefully at 10:59 p.m. on Sunday, July 25 in a recliner in his home in Spencer Estate, his wife said. She was holding one of his hands, while his best friend held the other.
Merchants from Throggs Neck, Morris Park, Westchester Square, and Pelham Bay played a charity softball game in O’Grady’s honor on Friday, July 23 and Saturday, July 24 at the Throgs Neck Little League Field, with proceeds raised from sponsorships going towards the New York Blood Center, which provided O’Grady with free and frequent blood transfusions.
The community donated pints of blood to New York Blood Center in drives held at Archbishop Stepinac High School, St. Benedict’s Church, and during the softball game.
The merchants participating in the softball game raised $2,900 for the blood center, and collected 42 pints of blood.
Those who knew him well said that the outpouring of support he got from the community was the result of a life well-lived.
“When someone dies much too young, their life tends to get airbrushed in papers,” said longtime friend Brian Conway. “But with Joe, there is no airbrushing needed. He was that great a guy.”
The wake will be held at Schuyler Hill Funeral Home at on Wednesday, July 27 and Thursday, July 28, with a 10:30 a.m. funeral mass at St. Martin of Tours Church, 664 Grote Street on Friday, July 29.
©2010 Community News Group