I was brought up in South Boston. I went to the Gate of Heaven School in South Boston until midway through the 8th grade when I had to enter a boarding school due to a death in the family. I attended high school at Mt. St. Charles Academy in Woonsocket,R.I. and then Boston University.
I was an Aviation Cadet in the Air Force and then flew KC-135 jet tankers in the Strategic Air Command for almost eight years. I then left the Air Force and flew as a pilot with TWA for 30 years. One year into my career with TWA I was sidetracked for a few months because I was the victim of a random shooting in Kansas City where I was training for International flights. I got one shot in the back from a range of a few inches and managed to duck a few more shots that followed. Fortunately I was able to continue flying after a few months recuperation.
My wife Renee Heenan was a flight attendant with TWA. Renee passed away in 1994 of breast cancer. I have a son Joseph, who is a graduate of Stetson University, Florida and a daughter Nora.
I started painting in the Air Force while stationed in Oklahoma and North Dakota after seeing another officer in the BOQ (bachelor officer quarters) have success in his initial attempts to paint. I continued painting a short while after joining TWA. Due to the time demands of commuting to fly from JFK in NY and the family I had to give up painting for a while. I started painting again about 10 years ago. I had no formal training in painting but I read as many instruction books as I can. I also have a good friend, Frank Strazzulla, who is a member of the prestigious Guild of Boston Artists. Whenever I visit his studio I pick his brains and learn a great deal. I took my first class in painting outdoors from Frank in September, 2005.
I joined the South Boston Arts Association and have found it to be an amazing group of highly intelligent and talented people who are very supportive of each other. That support enabled me to have the nerve to exhibit some paintings at a street festival for the first time. I was amazed to find that some people liked my work. I have exhibited in a number of shows in Quincy since and have won four awards there.
Exhibits and awards:
Quincy Art Association September Artsfest –
2002- Third award , Members category
2004 - Second award, Juried art category
2004 - Best Quincy Park Painting
2006 – Second award – Members category
South Boston Street Festival – 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006,2007,2008
South Boston Arts Association Open Studios – 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007,2008
South Boston Arts Association group exhibit in Boston City Hall, July, 2004
Quincy Marina Bay Art Fest, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007,2008
Sovereign Bank, South Boston, Nov., Dec. 2004, Jan, 2005
Crane Library, Quincy, Ma. April 1 – 29, 2005
375 views of Boston, Boston City Hall, May -Oct. 2005 -3 paintings – Mayor’s Gallery
Featured on “Chronicle” WCVB-TV CH 5 Sept 6, 2005
Organized and exhibited in So. Boston Arts Assoc exhibit .Massasoit Comm. Coll. Nov, 2005
Exhibited in group exhibit at Logan Airport , Fall, 2005
Cover painting, South Boston Literary Gazette, 3 issues
In South Boston Arts Association Group exhibit at Boston Convention Center – March – July, 2006
Exhibited in Boston City Hall, “Faces of Boston” Summer 2006 – Image printed in the
Boston Globe City weekly coverage on June 25, 2006
Organized and exhibited - South Boston Arts Association exhibit at Logan Airport Sept thru Dec. 31, 2006
Oct. 2008 thru May 2009