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Edward Rooney Jr.

Obituary
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The family of Edward Stanton Rooney, Jr., longtime Newton resident who died at home on February 18, 2013, at age 65, often joked that Ed never met a microphone he didnt like. At any celebrationthe weddings of his three sons; the lobster-and-clam party he and his four sisters threw each summer at their lake-shore property in Lake George, New York; an awards ceremony for one of the many youth-sports teams he coached; the company outing of one of the law firms at which he was a partnerif an opportunity to take the stage presented itself, Ed was there to grab it. He would give a speech full of affectionate praise, gentle teasing, corny jokes, and rambling stories, making his listeners laugh and roll their eyes, moving and charming them. It was an expression not of a desire to be the center of attentionas a coach he was dismissive of what he called hot-dogging or showboatingbut of his sunny, sociable nature and the great pleasure he took in other people and the good times of life. Ed was born and grew up in Albany, New York, and first came to the Newton area to attend Boston College. While in college he met his wife Mary Ann, who was a student at Newton College of the Sacred Heart, and in 1969 they married. Their relationship was a lifelong continuous conversation, with nothing they couldnt discuss, nothing they couldnt laugh about. In 1974, after Ed had graduated from Syracuse University College of Law, they moved permanently to Newton, where they would raise three sons, Ted, Brian, and Tim. Ed was a generous and playful father, one who could easily be induced to play catch or shoot baskets even when he had a pile of work on his desk, one who played hard enough to make his sons feel like he was trying, but who always let them win. As Eds sons grew, they joined that continuous conversation Ed and Mary Ann had been having, and nearly on equal footing. In adulthood they became friends as much as sons, and their wives Maggie, Deb, and Lindsey were friends as much as daughters-in-law. To Brian and Debs children Matt, Kate, Will, and Tommy, and to Tim and Lindseys children Chase and Taylor, who knew him as Pop, he was a grandfather in the same lively fashion he had been a father, playing sports with them, attending their games and performances, and accompanying them to the amusement park, the zoo, or a Boston College basketball game. Ed made an array of connections within the Newton community, many of them through sports. He was a vigorous athlete all his life. He was a high-school basketball and track star at Vincentian Institute in Albany, for which he was later inducted into the schools athletic hall of fame. His basketball skills earned him an athletic scholarship to Boston College, where he played for head coach Bob Cousy. Following college he participated in a number of adult-recreation basketball leagues, but his focus shifted to tennis. He sometimes played three times a day, singles and doubles, with players of greater and lesser ability, younger and older, leading Mary Ann to quip that on a bathroom wall somewhere was scrawled, For a good tennis game, call Ed. He played regularly even during the five years of cancer and chemotherapy; his final game was just three weeks before he died. It was natural, then, that Ed would coach all his sons Little League and Newton Athletic Association (NAA) basketball teams and become heavily involved in youth sports in general, serving as president of both Newton Central Little League and the NAA, and natural that he would become an active, longtime member and president of Newton Squash and Tennis Club. Ed relished how these organizations gave him the opportunity to meet and mingle with people from all parts of Newton, and he was energized by the festive atmosphere of the games and events. The organizations were his equivalent of a county fair, each a place to shoot the breeze and enjoy folks enjoying themselves. In his career, too, Ed drew immense satisfaction from the people he encountered and the relationships he formed. A civil-litigation attorney, an occupation that suited his logical mind and athletes competitiveness, he worked from 1974 to 2000 at Lyne, Woodworth, and Evarts and from 2001 until his death at Eckert, Seamans, Cherin, and Mellott. At both firms he was a close colleague to all, regardless of rank; when his partnership at Lyne, Woodworth was announced, the head partner noted that never before had a new partner so completely won over all the firms employees, from partners to associates to administrative staff. In the latter part of his career, he was a volunteer mediator at the Boston Municipal Court, and this activity perhaps summed him up as well as anything, because nothing gratified him more than bringing people together. In addition to his wife, his sons and their wives, and his grandchildren, Ed is survived by his sisters Clare Decker and Kit Rooney of Lake George and Ellen Breslin of Delmar, New York. A funeral Mass will be held for him on March 15 at 12:00 p.m. at Our Lady Help of Christians Parish Church, 573 Washington St., Newton. Following the Mass will be a 1:00-4:00 reception at the Commanders Mansion, 440 Talcott Ave., Watertown. To make a donation in Eds name, please consider Tenacity, a Boston organization whose mission is to improve the scholastic, character and physical development of urban youth by combining tennis instruction and academic support with a focus on life skills. Its Web address is Tenacity.org and its mail address is Tenacity, 38 Everett St., Suite 50, Boston, MA 02134.

Published in The Newton Tab from Feb. 26 to Mar. 5, 2013
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