Former Alderman Thomas Joseph Beirne Jr. died Monday morning, Feb. 19.

Beirne, who served as an alderman during the late Fred Lisman administration, also served as board chairman from 2005 to 2007.

He later served on the pension board, as well as the Milford Legends Committee and the Milford Cemetery Commission, where he worked to preserve the remains of Milford’s Revolutionary War veterans. He led re-enactments at Gulf Beach for a number of years, recreating the historical account of soldiers with smallpox who were sent from a British warship to Milford’s shores in 1777.

In 2009, Beirne considered a run for mayor, planning to seek the Republican nod over then incumbent Mayor James Richetelli Jr. When Beirne withdrew his name from the race, with a characteristic quip he summed up his decision by saying, “I wouldn’t want to break up a good party.”

Richetelli said politics is politics, and this week he lamented the passing of a man dedicated to the community.

“Tom Beirne was a colorful guy,” Richetelli said. “He and his family have given a lot of themselves for the betterment of this great community. Tom was devoted to many causes and he was passionate about those causes. I am saddened by his passing and offer my heartfelt condolences to Sheila, his children and grandchildren.”

Beirne, 81, lived a charmed life, his family said. “His quick wit and eternal humor brought laughter to all he knew.”

Born in New York City to a large Irish family, he lived a blessed childhood surrounded by his five sisters and brother, his family said. His father and namesake, the politically skilled leader of the Teamsters Union, died when Tom was 13. His tough-as-nails mother, Elizabeth, held the family together and Tom persevered, graduating at the top of his
class from Manhattan Prep and Manhattan College.

Beirne served in the United States Navy Reserve during the Korean War, and after working on the New York Stock Exchange, joined the Hartford Insurance Co.

Here fate — in the form of a car accident — brought him to the home of the love of his life, Sheila Logan. After a seven-month romance, they married and settled in Bronxville, N.Y. Four children later, Tom and Sheila knocked down their beach house in Milford to build one that better fit their quickly growing family.

Devoted to his community, Beirne also served as the chairman of the Bay View Board of Governors for 30 years, and in many other public roles. He was grand knight of the St. Mary’s Knights of Columbus Council, in addition to planning and personally financing historical re-enactments around town. On top of his extensive public service and his many business successes, he found time to help write a best-selling history book — all while putting his family first.

Mayor Ben Blake said, “I’ve know Tom Beirne most of my life and always appreciated his love for his family, for Bayview and for Milford. He was a good friend who made us all laugh with his dry comedic delivery. We’ve lost a community treasure.”
Beirne is survived by his wife, Sheila, his four children, Thomas III (Colleen), Deirdre, Sean, and Brian Logan, and two grandchildren, Thomas IV and Collin.

“As kind as he was brilliant, Tom was beloved by his family, many friends and community,” his family said.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 1 p.m. at St. Mary’s Church in Milford, and interment will follow with full military honors.