Preserving the Past, Informing the Future
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Frank T. Healey - born in Waterbury, Connecticut, July 8, 1897; died in Waterbury, Connecticut, March 15, 1963.
In such few words it is possible to fix accurately in time the life of a human being. Indeed, in reference to Frank T. Healey, the same words quite accurately describe his life as to place or geography since, although his professional and social interests ranged throughout Connecticut and occasionally beyond its boundaries, Waterbury was the center of his existence. The man, the lawyer, and the judge always remained a hometown boy.
Such few barren statistical words are not sufficient, however, to bring to our attention the warm human qualities which distinguished Judge Healey or to recall to our memories the incidents of his good and fruitful life. For those who knew him well, no memorial is necessary, since each has in his mind and heart his private memorial based on his associations with Judge Healey. For those who knew him not quite so well, and for those who knew him not at all, it is most appropriate to have this record permanently established in the reports of the judicial system to which he devoted his adult life.
Judge Healey was the son of John and Catherine Slavin Healey, each a representative of old and respected Irish Catholic families. This fact is mentioned because Judge Healey would have wanted it so. He never left anyone in doubt about the fact that he was of Irish descent, and he was an almost militant Roman Catholic. He was proud of both distinctions.
His early education was at St. Mary's Parochial School and Crosby High School in Waterbury. In 1921, he received his bachelor's degree from Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts. He then taught mathematics in Wilby High School in Waterbury for a short time. In 1925, he was graduated from the Law School of Yale University. A few days thereafter he was admitted to the Connecticut bar.
Almost immediately he entered into association in the general and active practice of law with his brother, Patrick Healey. In later years, his son Frank T. Healey, Jr., and a nephew, James T. Healey, joined in this legal association. As the years progressed, the firm gradually began to specialize more and more in real estate, probate and public utilities law. Before his accession to the bench, Frank Healey frequently was legislation representative for a group of Connecticut public transportation organizations. Possibly his most noteworthy accomplishment in the public utilities field was in acting as receiver for the Cooke Street Bus Lines, a company which in 1952 was in a state of collapse. By January, 1955, he was able to return the company to its management on a sound financial basis.
Judge Healey distinguished many public offices. At one time he served as prosecutor for the City Court in Waterbury. In 1951, he was appointed special assistant United States attorney for Connecticut, and acted as chief of the trial section of the state Office of Price Stabilization. He was a member and a vice chairman of the board of fire commissioners for the city of Waterbury. During World War II, he acted as coroner while the incumbent was in federal service. In 1955, he was appointed a judge of the Court of Common Pleas. In 1957, he was elevated to the Superior Court on nomination of Governor Abraham Ribicoff. Judge Healey served on that court until his death. In the conduct of his office as judge, he showed not only a sound training in the fundamentals of the law but a universal courtesy to counsel, and he was able to bring a great deal of litigation to an end by settlement through the application of his advice and common sense.
Even before he attained voting age, Judge Healey became most interested in politics, and until his accession to the bench he was an active and constant worker for the Democratic party. He did not start at the top, but as a very young man cheerfully did the rather thankless chores which have to be done in any political organization at the lowest level. He had a phenomenal memory, particularly of the ramifications of the old Irish families. This knowledge stood him in good stead, and he gradually rose in the party's councils, so that from the early 1930's onward his advice was constantly sought and was received with the greatest respect. For many years he was a member of the Democratic state central committee.
In spite of his busy professional and political commitments, Frank Healey gave generously of his time and abilities in social service activities. He was a director of St. Mary's Hospital Corporation, and for many years was most active in the management and development of the hospital. He was a director of the Roman Catholic Cemeteries in Waterbury, was closely connected with the Diocesan Bureau in Waterbury, at one time being its president, and was a trustee for the Diocesan Bureau for the archdiocese. No one really knows how much time and effort Judge Healey gave in actively and personally assisting people who required the help of the local diocesan bureau.
In the ordinary sense of the word, Frank Healey was not a "joiner." He was, however, a member of various associations in which he had a real interest. He was a past exalted ruler of the Elks, a past president of the Lions Club, and a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Knights of St. Patrick. He was, of course, intensely interested in the activities of the Holy Cross College Alumni Association. Judge Healey was a founder and president of the Serra Club of Waterbury, a laymen's organization dedicated to assisting young men studying for the priesthood. In 1957, in recognition of his services to his church, Frank Healey was designated a Knight of St. Gregory by the late Pope Pius XII.
With all his professional, political, fraternal, social and religious activities, Judge Healey was deeply attached to his family and home. Unless it was unavoidable, he rarely stayed away from home overnight and usually made an effort to leave parties and meetings at an early hour in order to get home to his family. In 1927, he was married to Anne Dowling, to whom he was devoted until her untimely death in 1956. There were three sons of this marriage, Frank T. Healey, Jr., of Waterbury, an attorney; Joseph E. Healey, of Waterbury, who is on the staff of the American-Republican Inc., in Waterbury; and Edward P. Healey, of Clifton, New Jersey, a physician. In 1958, Judge Healey was married to Jeannette Blake, who had been closely associated with the Healey family for many years.
Besides Judge Healey's widow and his three sons, survivors include his brother, Patrick Healey, who is still actively practicing law, and his two sisters, Kathryn Healey and Helen Healey, both of Waterbury. Judge Healey also left two nephews and a niece and, although he was a comparatively young man when he died, ten grandchildren.
Judge Healey will be remembered as a man of great human kindness, great good humor, and staunch integrity.