Paul Laurian McCann died on Feb. 21 at age 81.
Mr. McCann is survived by his beloved wife, Patricia Foley McCann; his son PJ McCann and his wife, Julie, of Dorchester, and their daughters, Cecily and Harriet; and his daughter Joanna McCann Frazier and her husband, Jamie, of Norwell, and their children Catalina and Dean.
Mr. McCann was the dear brother of William McCann of South Boston, Mary O’Brien (late Dr. Edward) of South Easton, Kathleen Neal (Gen. Richard I. Neal) of Washington, D.C., Rita White (Paul) of Hull, and the late Nancy, Leo, Sister Helen (CSJ), Joseph (Anne), Michael (Jeanne), and Frank (Paula). Mr. McCann is survived by his sisters-in-law, Kathleen Foley of Hull and Marie White (Charles) of Annapolis, Md., brother-in-law Thomas Foley (Betty) of Hingham, and 25 loving nieces and nephews.
The son of William and Anna McCann, Mr. McCann was born on June 23, 1940 and raised in South Boston as the middle child of 11. Mr. McCann was a natural negotiator and consensus builder, traits that made him uniquely successful in his 50-year career as a public servant.
Mr. McCann began working for the Boston Redevelopment Authority as an office boy while a student at BC High in 1958, the year after the agency was established. He worked at the BRA through Boston College, Suffolk Law School and service in the Army Reserves, and continued to serve the public good under 10 BRA directors and Mayors Hynes, Collins, White, Flynn, and Menino. In addition to his usual title as executive assistant to the director, he served as the acting director of the agency on four occasions.
Mr. McCann played an instrumental role in helping to develop affordable housing and preserve and grow many of Boston’s historic, cultural, social service, and civic institutions, as well as creating and revitalizing public spaces, including Quincy Market, the Charlestown Navy Yard, and the Harborwalk. In 1994, he received the Henry Shattuck Award for Public Service and was designated a special Boston landmark. As a constant and steadying presence at the agency, Mr. McCann served as the organization’s historian and mentor to many, providing institutional knowledge and guidance to colleagues at City Hall through decades of enormous change and growth.
While proud of his career of service, in Mr. McCann’s eyes, his most important legacies were his relationships with his family and friends, and the memories he created with them. Mr. McCann particularly loved sailing on his boat, the Peace and Plenty, and skiing at Attitash in New Hampshire. He took great joy in sharing these experiences with others across a lifetime of memorable weekends and days off. Mr. McCann lived with infectious joy and love every day of his 81 years. He loved people, and they loved him. The defining relationship of his life was with his beloved Pat, with whom he felt blessed to share nearly 80 loving years.
Visiting hours will be held on Sunday, Feb. 27 from 3-7 p.m. at Pyne Keohane Funeral Home, 21 Emerald St., Hingham. A funeral service is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 28 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in St. Ann’s Church, Hull. Burial will follow at Hull Village Cemetery. The family respectfully requests that guests wear face coverings while indoors.
Memorial donations may be made to the Pine Street Inn Development Office, 444 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02118, or www.pinestreetinn.org.
Visit www.Keohane.com online condolences.