William “Bo” Holland, 1943 – 2007

Bo Holland

A person who knows as much about Boston politics as anyone, Bo Holland, died this week. Bo’s name wasn’t one you’d see much in the papers but he was part of the fabric of civic politics.

I got to know Bo when I was Mayor Menino’s press secretary. From that first time Bo sat me down in his office, I found him to be a font of political wisdom and insight. Having headed up Kevin White’s “Little City Hall” program, Bo had a comprehensive familiarity of the workings of the city’s neighborhoods. He explained to me the history of certain sections of Dorchester, the nature of parents in West Roxbury and Roslindale and myriad of other invaluable pieces of Boston lore you won’t find written down anywhere.

He was also a person who could provide the link between our modern era and the 1960s. He regalled me with stories of the White Administration. A veteran of so many political wars, he also helped me keep things in perspective when things were tough. But it would be wrong to suggest that he was merely a local politico. He was a keen observer of national politics and an expert on the Democratic primary process.

He enjoyed Nantasket Beach in Hull, where I grew up and his sister lives, and I always liked conversing with him there as well.

He worked with three significant Boston political figures, Kevin White, Tom Menino and Tom O’Neill, which is a tribute to him as well.

Bo leaves a college age son, Peter, whose mother also died several years ago. A golf tournament to raise money for a scholarship fund for Pete has been established. There will be what those in the know are calling “a real Irish wake” for Bo this Tuesday, June 26, at Doyle’s in Jamaica Plain, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at which donations can be made.

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