The other side of Bill Tighe

May 8, 2020 by

Published in the May 8, 2020 edition.

Bill Tighe, who passed away on April 15 at the age of 95, was known as a legendary football coach. But he was also a dear friend to many. One of those friends was Wakefield’s Patsy Zagaria, a 1951 graduate of WHS. Tighe started in Wakefield as a young teacher/coach in 1949. The two had a lifelong friendship and often gathered to play music with a group of Wakefield friends. The following is a letter from Zagaria about Bill Tighe, the friend.

“Why Don’t We Do This More Often,” was the song that Bill would sing to start the evening of our get togethers.

Yes, Bill was a musician and entertainer too.

He was very adept at playing the Banjo and knew the words to every song of our era. The other entertainers in our group were John Moore and wife Jeanne, Bob MacKenna and wife Florence, Bob Dolbeare and Lorraine and Sharon and myself.

We always had others who were in the audience who joined in the singing like Lou Raca, Bill’s assistant coach and wife Marilyn. Bill would always say that Lou was the best assistant coach in Mass. Lou would be in charge of making the drinks for this occasion too. Once in a while, there was Rollie Wormstead and his wife. Rollie was a great professional golfer. Believe it or not, he qualified and played in the Open one year.

To start the evening, Bill would designate when each one of us would be featured. Believe me, we had some good entertainers. Wow! Could John Moore sing. John would sing the song “Old Man River” and he would bellow it out with such brilliance.

Then it would be Bob MacKenna’s turn. He would play the tuba.

“Okay Bob, I’m going to sit right down and write myself a letter,” and Bob would play with such authority. Bob MacKenna was a very funny man and a great entertainer. I could go on all day talking about his talents.

Bob and Bob would play (Bob MacKenna and Bob Dolbeare). Bob Dolbeare learned how to play a couple of Tambourine numbers.

Bill and I would play songs like Anchors Away or The Marines Hymn and the two Bob’s would play together in unison. I’m telling you they played with such great precision. Bob Dolbeare loved playing the tambourines.

My dear people we had so much fun. All we did was laugh.

Oh yes, now it was Mary and Bill’s turn to sing.

“Mary, it’s our turn; THUMBLE WEED.”

Mary would get up and put her arms around Bill and sing with such beautiful harmony.

My son Jeff and a friend were going out one evening when he turned to the group and said: “Can we stay here and watch, I never knew you old people had so much fun!”

Yes, Bill was such a wonderful man to all of us. He led by example!

Thank you for everything Bill.

Patsy Zagaria

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