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Two Pillars of Woonsocket's Irish-American Community Pass

Two prominent Irish Americans passed this week and will both be buried on September 3 from Woonsocket's Sacred Heart Church.

One was a well-known former mayor, credited with reforming what was known nationally as "...a wide open city" and prominent Democrat.  The other, the scion of one of Woonsocket's most notable "old families" and related to the largest personal stockholder of the former Industrial National/Fleet Bank, was a contradiction in terms: shy but opinionated, proud former Marine with a keen sense of history.  Son of Woonsocket who summered at exclusive Weekapaug.

Kevin K. Coleman, 89 served as mayor of Woonsocket in the 1950s and 1960s.  He gained national attention for his reform efforts that turned Woonsocket around from bastion of public corruption with slot machines in most corner stores, bookie parlors, after hour "clubs" and "nightlife" that went on 24/7.

Thomas C. Mee, Jr., 85, was a supervisor at a manufacturing plant for 34 years according to his obituary in the Woonsocket Call.  He was raised and lived for most of his life in the family home - an imposing structure at 253 Harris Avenue. He later moved to North Smithfield, all the while throughout his life enjoying an ocean front summer home in the exclusive Weekapaug section of Westerly.  He was the nephew of the legendary T.J. Mee, stockholder of the former Industrial National Bank, philantropist, and business leader.

On Saturday, September 3, both former parishioners of Sacred Heart Church will return to their religious home - Mee's funeral will be at 10 a.m., Coleman's at 11:30 a.m..  With the final blessing each will receive, an era in Woonsocket's history will pass onto the ages.  Peace to both.

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lew pryeor September 03, 2011 at 09:56 AM
its a disgrace that the school right across from the sacred heart church never was cleaned up.. The grass weeds etc was never cut i talked to jim fontaine in august and was told it would be cleaned up before school started .. tine to file a minimum housing report on the school.
English first September 03, 2011 at 10:15 PM
Thank you for sharing this information about two Woonsocket citizens who made the city finer.

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