Q&A: Celebration of Bo Hickey’s Life Set for May 21

A remembrance for the late Bo Hickey—longtime New Canaan High School football and hockey coach, and superintendent of Lakeview Cemetery—is to be held 4 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 21 at Waveny House. Free and open to the public, the celebration of Hickey’s impactful life will include food and drinks for attendees (RSVP here), and donations to to a scholarship established in his name are welcome. We put some questions to co-organizer Terry Dinan, a lifelong New Canaan resident, sports historian and board member of the New Canaan Old Timers/Athletic Alumni Association who put the celebration together with Scott Overbeck, Lou Marinelli, Frank Granito, Rick Ericson and Mary Miller. Here’s our exchange. New Canaanite: How would you describe Bo Hickey to those who didn’t know him?

After 34 Years, Bo Hickey To Retire As Lakeview Cemetery Superintendent

Bo Hickey has connected with generations of locals through the different hats he’s worn in New Canaan, perhaps most visibly as a coach in the high school football program and of the varsity hockey team—seeing many of the town’s best athletes achieve excellence in some of their most memorable, dramatic moments. Yet for many local families, Hickey may have played his most important role during their most difficult times, in his work since August of 1981 as superintendent of the pond-dotted, green and rolling Lakeview Cemetery. “My job is to make sure, first of all, that the grounds are in decent order, selling property, interring people, and just the upkeep of the cemetery itself,” Hickey said Monday afternoon from the small office at 352 Main St., just over the wooden bridge that spans the Fivemile River inside the cemetery’s gates. “There is 40 acres here. So it’s a large piece of property.”

And a large responsibility.

Wilky Gilmore: ‘He Was One of Our Own’

In among the trophies in the lobby of the New Canaan High School Athletic Complex hangs a framed, vintage number-12 Rams jersey. There is no plaque, no marker, no inscription identifying whose jersey it was. As a result, hundreds of students, parents and fans filter past the jersey every day, unaware of the history or the significance behind it, unaware of Maurice ‘Wilky’ Gilmore. Yet for legions of New Canaanites, especially friends and relatives who were lucky enough to know him personally, Gilmore—selfless, charismatic, intelligent and graceful—etched a singular legacy here in town. That he did so in an era marked by civil unrest makes his accomplishments perhaps that much more impressive—though those close to Gilmore say his rare gifts of compassion and decency saw him transcend matters such as race and, in more than one way, “raise the game” of everyone around him.

VIDEO: Thank-You to Bo Hickey, Retiring NCHS Ice Hockey Coach

Bo Hickey tribute 8 19 14
New Canaan “Old Timer” Len Paglialunga, a Rams football star in his own right back in the ‘60s, first heard the name Bo Hickey as a teenager. Hickey, a standout Stamford Catholic High School running back, went on to Maryland, the CFL and a single (and outstanding, four TDs) season with the Denver Broncos before injuries sidelined him. He returned to this area and joined the New Canaan High School football coaching staff under Lou Marinelli, and then 20 years ago, took over as head coach of the varsity ice hockey team—a program he lifted to a never-before seen, consistently high-achieving level. On Monday night, Hickey announced that he’s retiring from the position—a fact first reported by Dave Stewart of the New Canaan Advertiser. The news triggered expressions of respect and fond memories from Paglialunga, like so many involved in New Canaan sports.