- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

BOSTON (AP) - John “Wacko” Hurley, the longtime leader of the Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade and the plaintiff in a 1995 U.S. Supreme Court case that allowed organizers to bar gay groups, has died. He was 85.

The O’Brien Funeral Home in South Boston confirmed the death.

Hurley’s daughter, Lisa Hurley McDonough, told the Boston Herald her father suffered a seizure Tuesday and then “just slipped away.”

Although most famous for the court case, friends including former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn say Hurley cared deeply for his fellow veterans and the city.

A Korean war veteran who served in the U.S. Navy, Hurley was the longtime leader of the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council. For more than 50 years he organized the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston, his lifelong home.

Hurley and the council sued after state courts ordered that gay rights organizations be allowed to march in the parade. The high court ruled unanimously that it would violate the free speech rights of private citizens if they were forced to include groups that don’t share their message. The parade didn’t allow gay groups until this year.

McDonough said the origin of her father’s nickname, “Wacko,” was a closely-held secret and even she didn’t know it.

A funeral for Hurley will be held on Monday.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide