When thinking about what kind of event her late husband Joe O’Grady would want to have in his memory, his wife thought of his two passions; sports and comedy.
Shannon O’Grady and longtime friends of the family are organizing a night of stand-up comedy for Friday, April 29, with all proceeds from the evening going towards the education of Joe and Shannon’s three children.
Tickets will be $100 each and the event will take place at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, where O’Grady had coached junior varsity baseball.
“My husband was an avid sports fan, and we juggled the idea of a golf tournament,” Shannon O’Grady said. “But I thought the best way to honor him in a unique way would be a comedy night, because at the end of his life he was a stand-up comedian, and unlike in a sports tournament, nobody gets eliminated.”
O’Grady, who was diagnosed in late 2008 with synovial sarcoma, a form of cancer that often develops in muscles, blood vessels and other body tissue, passed away in July 2010 at the young age of 39.
Shannon O’Grady, now 37, and Joe both grew up in Castle Hill, but never actually met until both were living in Throggs Neck in 1996.
“The number one adjective that people would describe him would be funny,” Shannon said. “And that’s one of the reasons I fell in love with him.”
Joe taught fifth and sixth grades at St. Martin of Tours School and Shannon is a fourth grade teacher at P.S. 304. Both schools are in the Bronx.
They married in 2003 and continued to live in Throggs Neck to build their family even though doctors told the O’Gradys that they would be unlikely to conceive due to a diagnosed medical condition and as a result, the couple decided to adopt two of their children from Haiti, with Idamene, who is now 10-years-old, and John, who is now 4. Despite doubt of being able to give birth to a child, Shannon learned that she was pregnant while in the process of adopting John and eventually gave birth to Thomas, who is now 3-years-old.
Rather than looking at the comedy event as purely an act of charity, the O’Grady’s and their friends look at the event as a way of remembering a beloved father, friend and active member of the community.
“I would call it a community of friends looking support his family and kids,” said Sheila Haney, one of the night’s organizers. “I think the event is there to bring people together to remember and honor him. He was very well loved and was a character that always had a hilarious, quick wit about him.”