When the church doors opened at St. John the Evangelist Church on Tuesday morning you could hear the distinct tune of the song “You Lift Me Up” and that’s what Detective Michael Delehanty did to everyone who crossed his path.
Delehanty, 58, died Thursday, Jan. 24 at Massachusetts General Hospital after battling a cardiac illness. He leaves behind his wife, Emily (Leone) and six children: Meaghan, Michael, Stephanie, Matthew, Daniel and Ryan.
Delehanty was a 25-year veteran of the Winthrop Police Department, Badge number 939, serving as a detective, a motorcycle officer and he was the police prosecutor at East Boston District Court.
He had been out of work since July 2017 when he suffered a cardiac arrhythmia while on duty.
Detective Delehanty was known as a strong yet gentle street cop with a fierce loyalty to the citizens of Winthrop. He earned a reputation for always extending a helping hand to anyone in need.
The funeral procession began at Caggiano’s Funeral Home, with the large Delehanty family in cars, followed by Winthrop Police and a large contingent of motorcycle police officers from around the Commonwealth. As they neared the church they all passed under a large suspended flag from a crane.
His flag-draped casket was brought into the church by his fellow officers, some who had been friends from childhood.
Sgt. Mary Crisafi, Detective Dawne Armistead, Officer Giulio Bonavita, Sgt. Stephen Rogers, Sgt. Jim Feeley and Detective Dennis Hickey served as pallbearers. Officer Ignacio Oyola carried in Delehanty’s motorcycle helmet and it was placed on top of his casket during the service.
The Winthrop Police Department and the motorcycle officers stood in formation on Winthrop Street in front of the church, and the pipe and drum corp from the Boston Police Department played.
Rev. Richard Uftring, of the Logan Airport Chapel, conducted the funeral mass and said “Thank you for sharing Michael with us.”
His youngest brother, Winthrop Chief of Police Terence Delehanty gave the eulogy.
Det. Delehanty was a dedicated volunteer who was recently given a community service award for his more than 20 years of service to Winthrop Advocacy, Resources, Community (WINARC) and for organizing the annual Driscoll-Mahegan Track and Field event in town. He was a natural organizer and was the department’s go-to person for event planning and community events, said Terence Delehanty.
Det. Delehanty was the long-term president of the Winthrop Police Association, a member of the Winthrop Yacht Club, the Winthrop Patrolman’s Union and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local #103 to which he belonged to for 36 years. He was also a graduate of Winthrop High School, Class of 1978.
“He earned a reputation as a “worker” in the department, often working long hours to ensure he could provide a good life for his six children and one grandson,” said Terence Delehanty.
The Delehanty family has a long history of public service in Massachusetts. Four of the seven Delehanty children currently work in law enforcement, including Winthrop Police Chief Terence M. Delehanty, Winthrop Police Officer Sean Delehanty and Natick Police Detective Kevin Delehanty.
Det. Delehanty is the son of Mary Mahoney and the late Edwin Delehanty. He leaves behind his siblings Maureen Delehanty of Winthrop, Sean Delehanty, WPD of Winthrop, Kevin Delehanty of Natick, Noreen Huff of Florida, Brian Delehanty of Winthrop and Chief Terry Delehanty, WPD of Winthrop. Cherished grandfather of M.J. Also survived by many loving nieces and nephews.
“Michael has left a giant shoe print in life,” Terry Delehanty said. He has shown us how to be responsible, hardworking, compassinate, loyal and supportive. We did everything we could possibly do for you but I am sad to say it wasn’t enough. Now the only thing we can do is lay you to rest.”
Burial was in the Cross Street section of the Winthrop Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to WINARC at www.winarc.org