He had the write stuff
The longest-serving commissioner in Essex County history, Mr. Cahill was also a former Lynn City Council president, sports editor and columnist at the Daily Item of Lynn, radio personality and sought-after toastmaster and story teller.
“It’s amazing to think about how many different aspects of North Shore life he was a part of for five decades,” said his son, Edward L. Cahill. “People still tell us that he used his newspaper and political positions to celebrate and help others.”
If the younger Cahill had to sum up the lessons of his father in one word, it would be integrity.
“He said to us, ‘always do the right thing, no matter what anyone else says or thinks, and always be kind to people,’” he said.
“Not only was he a gentle man, he was a fine public servant in every capacity that he served,” said former Mayor and Postmaster Thomas P. Costin Jr.
A lifelong resident of Lynn, Mr. Cahill attended Classical High School and began his newspaper career as an Item high school correspondent in 1925. He was later hired as a reporter, served as sports editor from 1946-74 and ended his Item career as copy editor on the city desk in 1978.
He was known for his popular daily “Cracker Barrel” column and for his coverage of local teams. He took the reins as sports editor during the golden era of Lynn sports and had close relationships with local greats such as Harry Agganis, Johnny Pesky and Jim Hegan. He met his St. Louis-born wife, Mildred, in 1946 while covering the Red Sox- Cardinals World Series.
In 1939, Mr. Cahill launched his career in politics when he was elected councilor at large in Lynn. When he enlisted in the Marines during World War II, he gave up his council seat to his father, but was reelected in 1945. He served on the council until 1957. In 1958, he was elected an Essex County commissioner, a position he held for seven terms, totaling 28 years, eclipsing the previous record set by the late C.F. Nelson Pratt of Saugus. He served several years as chairman of the commission.
In addition to his newsroom and political responsibilities, Mr. Cahill hosted a sports radio show on WLYN during the 1950s and served as the public address announcer at Manning Bowl and Fraser Field, as well as master of ceremonies at many charitable events. He also served a short stint as general manager of a minor-league baseball team, the Lawrence Millionaires.
Mr. Cahill played an integral role in founding the Item All-Star teams and was passionate about supporting the Agganis Foundation, among other nonprofit organizations. He passed away in 1994, leaving his wife and their three children, Edward, Ellen and Eileen.