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The Boston Globe


A Grateful Beneficiary

News sends an old friend reeling, but he understands

He calls him Tommy. ­Tommy calls him Mr. O’Brien or, for reasons not entirely known, Grumpy.

It’s pretty much been that way since the beginning: When Bill O’Brien was coaching his son in hockey and Tommy was a state senator’s staffer. When O’Brien was one of five guys hunkered in Tommy’s Hyde Park basement plotting his first run for office. When Tommy was a city councilor and quietly slipped away from Saturday morning games at the George Wright Golf Course to attend a neighborhood meeting and ­often another at night. When Tommy shouted hello to O’Brien from behind a wall of people wanting a word with the mayor as he breakfasted at the Westbury Restaurant after church on Sundays.

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