Charles Leo Hanafin
October 1, 2017

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  Charles L. Hanafin a devout Catholic and family man passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday morning, October 1, 2017. He was 86 years old.

Charlie was born in Boston as one of 8 children born to Cornelius and Margaret Hanafin. He grew up in the Mission Hill Section of Roxbury. He was a 1948 graduate of Mission Church High School who went on to earn an Accounting Degree from Boston College in 1952. He then commissioned into the Marine Corps. He achieved the rank of Captain. He was proud to see his sons’ service to others as members of the State Police, Burlington Police, and Burlington Fire Department as well as his grandchildren’s service in the Marine Corps, Army and Air Force. While still in the service, he married his soul mate, Rose McGillicuddy.

After his military service, he began his career in Banking. He ultimately retired as the Chief Executive Officer of Cambridge Online Services, a subsidiary of Cambridge Trust. During his working years, he earned his Master’s Degree from Stonier School of Banking at Rutgers University. Charlie had a very accomplished career, but would prefer to be remembered as a man devoted to his Catholic faith and his family. He and Rose settled into a modest 3 bedroom home Burlington in 1955, then filled it with 11 children. He set high expectations for his children and raised them in a home filled with faith. He and Rose did a remarkable job raising their children who all went onto to all have large families of their own. He and Rose were proud to see their family grow to 11 children and their spouses, 65 grandchildren, many of whom have married, and 26 great grandchildren. It is quite a legacy. Charlie’s strong Catholic Faith radiated from him. He embraced all the church’s teachings, understood the importance of daily Mass and prayer, and the blessings of the Church’s sacraments. Saint Margaret’s Parish and the Mission Church were a very important part of Charlie’s family’s life. Charlie and many members of the Hanafin family taught CCD, served as altar servers, attended daily mass followed by saying the rosary, and supported the church in whatever manner possible. He and Rose were Burlington Chapter Chairs of Massachusetts Citizens for Life. In 2011 they were recognized by MCFL as the Family of the Year. He led the restoration drive at Mission Church in the early 80’s achieving the goal of raising 3 million dollars for church renovations. He was recognized as an honorary Redemptorist Oblate and Xavierian Brother. Charlie never did these things for the recognition. He was a humble servant of God who used his talents, treasures, and resolve to do God’s work and live his Catholic faith to the best of his ability.

Charles was the beloved husband of 63 years of Rose (McGillicuddy). Loving father of Charles and his wife Judy, Rosemary Farrow and her husband Michael, John and his wife Mary, Jim and his wife Susan, Gerard and his wife Cecile, Diane Reale and her husband Dan, Christine Scola and her husband Michael, Kathleen Coluci and her husband Kevin, David and his wife Lori, Daniel and his Wife Angela all of Burlington, and Jean Armano and her husband Robert of Methuen. Brother of William of Roslindale, Helen Dignan of Burlington, Catherine “Kitty” Provost of Nashua, The late Connie, Jack, George, and Jim. Grandfather of 65 and great grandfather of 26.

Visiting hours will be held at St. Margaret’s Church, 111 Winn Street on Thursday, Oct. 5 from 4-8 p.m. The evening will conclude with a Wake Vigil beginning at 8 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at St. Margaret’s Church on Friday at 10 a.m. The interment will follow at Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Burlington. Memorials in Charles’s name may be made to Heartbeat Pregnancy Help Center, PO Box 153 Burlington, MA 01803

Family Remembrance by David Hanafin

Our family would like to thank all of you for your kindness this past week. The visits, phone calls, the meals that have been dropped off, and most importantly – the prayers that have been offered for our father and our family are greatly appreciated.

A friend sent a text late last night that read “do you want to live your life for your resume or live your life for your obituary?” Your father clearly lived for the latter. The wake last night was incredible. Thank you all so much for being there.

We now have the impossible task of trying to find the right words to describe our father’s life and the impact that he had on the world around him. To do so, you have to begin by talking about the relationship that he had with his beautiful Rose. He died 6 days ago and we can all promise you that at that moment, he loved her even more then than he did on the day that he married her. They created a beautiful love story and we were all privileged to be witness to it.

He grew up on Mission Hill with great parents and 7 siblings whom he loved very much. All of them have remained incredibly close throughout their entire lives. The best evidence of this is the phone call that our father received every night from his brother Bill. Like clockwork the phone would ring and there would be a simple… ”How’re you doing, Charlie?”

“Pretty good, Bill”

“I love you”

“I love you too, Bill. Thanks for calling”

“OK, talk to you tomorrow”

“Good Night”

Every Night!

My mother also grew up on Mission Hill and she tells us that she prayed every night from the time that she was a little girl that she would meet and marry a man like our father. Her prayers were answered and they were married in Mission Church 63 years ago.

They built a modest 3 bedroom house in Burlington in 1955 and raised their 11 children in a home where faith was the air that was breathed. They built a life that centered on a love of God and the Church. They taught us that all of this life should be a prayer and that what you are is God’s gift to you and what you become is your gift to God.

They showed us what true love is. Our father didn’t have to tell us very often how much he loved us – he showed us with his every action. He was there for us. He never took a day off from being our father. He showed us what it means to be a man, but never let us lose sight of what it means to be human. He truly loved and cared about everyone in his life. St. Francis de Sales said “There is nothing so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.”

He was the strongest & toughest man that we will ever know, yet he never felt the need to tell you about it or to prove it – you just knew. There were times when after we would say the prayers at night he would scoop a few of us up and tell the rest to climb on. We would jump on him – grab a limb or his neck or jump on his back – we’d be hanging off everywhere and he would carry us all at once upstairs to the bedrooms. He had a lot of kids!

Our father lived his life like the Bible tells us to. He let his yes be yes and his no be no. He never had to swear on anything to prove that he was telling the truth. If he said that this is the way something is; then that’s exactly the way it is. He didn’t fib or embellish a story – he just told it straight. He was honest.

There was no moral relativism with him. He believed in right and wrong and he strived every day to do what was right. He was the first one to say that nobody is perfect – no family is perfect, but what we saw from him was as close as one could come. I think that a big reason for that is because he knew that we were always watching. He knew that he had a responsibility to set a good example for us – so he always did. He didn’t gossip or speak ill of people behind their back. I never heard a swear come out of my father’s mouth. He always set a good example.

It has been said, though, that true character is who you are when nobody is watching. All of us have examples of his true character. I remember one night as a kid when I got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night – the one bathroom for 13 people. For some reason I went the long way around at the bottom of the staircase. As I turned the corner I saw my father kneeling on the kitchen floor looking up at the statue of the Blessed Mother on the hill in the backyard that he had shined a spotlight on. He was praying the rosary. He wasn’t posing for anybody. He had no idea that anyone was watching – that’s just who he was.

Our parents taught us that going to mass wasn’t just a Sunday obligation; it’s an important part of daily life. They were daily communicants. He understood that as kids it is easier to sleep in on a Saturday morning than it is to get up for 9:00 mass so on a few occasions he came upstairs with a can of shaving cream. He would squirt you on the nose so you’d wake up rubbing shaving cream all over your face and he’d be laughing at you – then you’d jump out of bed and watch him get the other kids and watch them do the same and you’d be laughing at them. Before you knew it we were all dressed and out the door with our mother and father on the way to 9:00 mass. After mass we would say the rosary together then head home and get to work. Saturday was a workday.

See, our parents always wanted what was best for us. They knew that in order to have a good life we had to have our priorities in order. Faith always has to come first, then your family, then you had to do your job. They made sure that we were raised with a work ethic. We had chores to do.

He tried to make that fun on occasion as well. A few times he had us march around the yard behind him singing “Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho it’s off to work we go…” We would be all goofy and laughing – then about 15 minutes in we did realize that we were going to be raking leaves for the next few hours and…at least it started out fun. We had so many reasons to be proud of our father. He specifically did not want us mentioning anything about how incredibly successful he was throughout his entire professional career or how great an athlete he was – how he was inducted into multiple Halls of Fame because of his athletic accomplishments – so I’m not going to mention any of that.

We were always proud that Charlie Hanafin was our Dad. Everybody loved him. We would be out in the street playing when he would come home from work and we would all run over to the car to greet him. All of the other kids in the neighborhood would run over to greet him as well. He would let us jump in the car and take turns sitting on his lap so that we could steer the car the rest of the way into the driveway. He would load us up to take us to McDonald’s or to get an ice cream and if there were other kids around he’d grab them too – what was a few more?

While driving there he would say “I’m not stopping at any red lights.” He would let the car come to a crawl, but he would never stop – did this at every light. We loved it. He really was so much fun to be around and we were always proud that he was our Dad.

He was a grandfather. He had 65 grandchildren and 26 great grandchildren. We can assure you that there has never been a better grandfather. Everybody adored Papa. Everyone was his favorite. He knew every birthday – he knew the exact birth order. If you quizzed him and asked “who’s number 47?”; he would tell you right off the top of his head. He and Nana always had skittles and blow pops. Every granddaughter was greeted with “Kiss your hand Madame” where he would kiss both their hands followed by a kiss on the cheek and a big hug. Every boy knows Papa’s special handshake.

Our father loved his Catholic faith. He loved the Church and its precepts and practices and traditions. One of the great traditions that we have as Catholics is that we are instructed to pray for the living and the dead – it’s one of the Spiritual Work of Mercy.

My father said a few years ago that the Catholic Church takes hundreds of years to canonize someone a Saint in most cases, but now we’ve fallen into this unfortunate habit of doing it overnight. He said that we are doing a great disservice to the deceased to say right away that “He’s in a better place” or “You know he’s in Heaven now” because in doing so you may forget to pray for their soul. He said “When I’m gone, I do not want praise – all I want are your prayers.”

Our father loved God more than anyone that we have ever known, but he did so like the rest of us – imperfectly. He always wanted to make sure that we would remember to pray for him. You know that he always prayed for us – so please remember to pray every day for our father.

So now it is time to say “So long for now Papa”. God Bless You. God Love You. We love you – and we will MISS you!
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