It was the Rev. J. Donald Monan, then president of Boston College, who best captured Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill Jr., in a eulogy at the services at St. John the Evangelist on that cold day in 1994. “Those of us who have lived through the decades since the 1930s, of dramatic change in the moral dilemmas that modernity brings . . . realize that Speaker O’Neill’s legendary sense of loyalty, either to old friends or to God, was no dull or wooden conformity,” said the priest. “It has been a creative fidelity to values pledged in his youth that he kept relevant to a world of constant change by dint of effort and imagination and at the cost of personal sacrifice.”
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