News Stories, Obituary

Obituary: Beloved Family Man and Active Community Member, Donald J. “Don” Flaherty, 71

Donald J. Flaherty, a man dedicated to his family and the community he lived in, passed away at his home with his loving family by his side on Saturday morning, March 5, 2022.  The beloved husband of Sheila (Fazio) and proud father of Chris, he was 71 years old.

Don was born in Somerville. He was the son of the late John F. and Grace V. Flaherty.  Don was raised and educated in Somerville and Medford, Don graduated from Medford High School in 1968. After high school Don served his country in the United States Army during the Vietnam era and was the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal. Don married his best friend and soulmate Sheila Fazio in 1982 and moved to Burlington in 1986.  

Following his service Don worked as a Rigger Helper at the Charlestown Navy Shipyard and later a Supply Foreman at Weymouth Navy Shipyard. Don then went to work at Hanscom Air Force for over 30 years retiring as a Protocol Officer. Don also worked part-time as a Chief Usher at the Boston Garden for over 26 years. Working at the Garden gave Don, Sheila, and members of their families so many opportunities to see Bruins and Celtic games, meet the players and attend concerts. 

There were very few in Burlington who didn’t know Don as he was involved in many aspects of the community and made an impact on so many. Don was the first face you saw when you went to the polls to vote as the greeter and parking coordinator. As part of the July 4th Parade Committee, he was the man you would see driving up and down the parade route in the official “golf cart” making sure it ran smoothly. He was a campaign manager in Town Elections a could always be found holding signs for candidates and worked hard for his candidates and friends.  When you needed something done, Don was the “go to man”. When People Helping People needed help moving hundreds of gifts for the Holiday Wish Tree, Don was the one they reached out to year after year to provide the manpower. When a candidate needed signatures for their election bid, Don was the one they reached out to. When the recreation department needed volunteers, Don was always there to help. When BCAT needed help at the annual gala, Don was there organizing the parking and jumped in to co-chair the BHS post grad party for several years. The contributions that Don made in the town are just too numerous to mention. He was always there to help others.

Don worked for Newmart Productions and managed their gun-shows for over 25 years. He organized the employees, vendors and directed the set up and take down of the shows. He was a valued member of the Sullivan Funeral Home working the funerals and organizing the parking for wakes.  

Don and Sheila had a wonderful life together. They, along with their son Chris and cousin Darlene, traveled extensively as a group. As a child Don’s family had a home at Hampton Beach and it was a treasured place for him to visit throughout his life. He wouldn’t think twice of just getting in his car and spending the day at Hampton enjoying the sun. 

He had a wonderful relationship with his son Chris, they weren’t just father and son, they were the best of friends that did everything together. Don was so proud to see Chris follow-in his footsteps and become involved in the community when Chris took a position at Burlington Cable Access Television. Don and Sheila had a wonderful life together, whether it was enjoying a cocktail at Sweet Ginger or Bamboo with friends, rooting at a Red Sox game or attending the 4:30 Mass at Saint Margaret’s they were inseparable.  

Don will be remembered for his gift of gab, always having a smile on his face and always ready to help which is why there are very few people in the Town of Burlington that did not know Donald J. Flaherty.

Don was the beloved husband of Sheila (Fazio).  He was the loving and proud father of Christopher of Woburn.  Brother of John F. Flaherty, Jr. & his wife Michelle of Burlington, Maureen Neary of Woburn, Patricia O’Connor-Fluhr & her husband Charles Fluhr of Charlestown and Timothy J. Flaherty of Andover.  Loving cousin of Darlene Griffin of Burlington, Joanne Grande of Medford, and Susan Mantia of Burlington, and her daughter Dr. Charlene Mantia-Edson, who were there by his side from the first diagnosis to the very end. Don is also survived by many cousins, nieces, nephews & friends.  Visiting hours will be held at the Edward V Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn St., BURLINGTON on Thursday, March 10 from 4-7 p.m.  Funeral from the Funeral Home on Friday, March 11 at 9 a.m. Followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Margaret’s Church, in St. Veronica Parish, 111 Winn St., Burlington at 10 a.m.   Burial to follow in Pine Haven Cemetery, Burlington.  In lieu of flowers, memorials in Don’s name may be made to Burlington Cable Access Television (BCAT) PO Box 740, Burlington, MA 01803.

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