FRAMINGHAM – Four different Governors appointed Earl Haley to the Framingham Housing Authority.

Yesterday, the District 6 resident turned 100 years old.

The community honored him with a more than 100-vehicle parade down Pincushion Road, where he has lived for 65 years.

Haley, who was appointed by both Republican and Democratic governors to serve on the Town of Framingham Housing Authority Commissioner, loved politics.

“If you wanted to run for office, you had to go meet my uncle,” said Michael Haley.

Earl Haley was born in Bangor, Maine on June 3, 1920. He was the second oldest in his family. His parents were both in the restaurant business, said Michael Haley.

Earl Haley became a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles when he moved to Framingham. This is his 80th year as an Eagle. He was given a plague yesterday to mark the occasion.

Haley worked for 50 years as a bartender and the bar manager for the Eagles, first when it was at the former Happy Swallow, and then when the organization moved to its location on Park Street., said his nephew.

Haley’s was passionate about the Framingham Housing Authority.

Current Framingham Housing Authority Executive Director Paul Landers led yesterday’s vehicle parade. Former Authority Deputy Director Beth O’Grady was also a part of the parade.

“Earl worked on many prominent elections and had a vast amount of connections throughout the Commonwealth. Judges, State Reps, Governors to name a few. His dedication to the Housing Authority was second to none, whether it was his famous cookouts for the elderly, supporter and friend to all the employees, or taking a phone call from a tenant at home who had an issue,” said Landers.

“Earl was a throwback to another era when people went into public service to help their neighbors as opposed to today’s politicians who make a career living off the tax payer’s money. I actually tried to model my ten years as a commissioner after Earl. Working WITH the residents, working WITH the amazing staff that makes the FHA so great all while responsibly representing the board. That was Earl for sure,” said former Housing Authority Commissioner Mark Galante, who was a part of Wednesday afternoon’s car parade.

Phyllis May, the longest serving Housing Commisioner with almost 30 years, served with Earl in the 1980s.

May discussed Haley’s popularity.. “He was appointed by four different governors, both Democrat and Republican, something you dont normally see,” said May.

May & Haley have remained friends over the years. Until recently due to the pandemic, not a month had gone by when they did not visit each other.

The Rousseau brothers supplied music and an antique fire truck for the parade; and four, and perhaps five of the current Framingham Housing Authority Commissioners were in the parade beeping their horns & waving to Earl.

While Earl was passionate about the Housing Authority, politics may have been his first love.

When “Mayor James Michael Curley was running for Governor (In the 1930s) my uncle escorted him through Framingham on a horse and buggy to campaign,” said Michael Haley.

The politics bug never left Earl Haley, and he had his hand in many campaigns in the Town of Framingham over the years.

“I met Earl about 10 years ago when I first ran for Housing Authority. Marty Mulvey said to me ‘You have to meet this guy Earl Haley. He’s a great guy and will be very helpful for you.’ Well, I did meet with Earl and he agreed to help my campaign,” said current Framingham Housing Authority Chair Stephen Starr.

“We were actually putting up signs (Earl was like 80 then) he was in my truck when we rolled by St. Tarcisius Cemetery. I think I said something like too bad they can’t vote and Earl said something like well maybe they still can! I’m sorry I can remember the exact verbiage, but it was very funny to a guy who was sort of new to electoral politics,” joked Starr.

Five of the City’s Councilors participated in the parade, as did Framingham Fire Chief Michael Dutcher.

In between there were family, friends, and many community members with balloons and signs to celebrate the centenarian.

I was “happy to be a part of the birthday celebration of Earl, and its an honor to be his district City Councilor,” said District 6 City Councilor Phil Ottaviani Jr., who participated in the car parade. “He has been a friend of my dad’s for 50-plus years.”

Ottaviani said “we surprised him with 6 awesome Cuban cigars.”

Haley would “always come into our restaurant the Union House in the old days with cigars,” said Ottaviani.

Earl was smoking a cigar yesterday, sitting outside waiting for the car parade to begin.

“It was a honor to take part in today’s parade for Earl, seeing so many former colleagues and old friends was truly amazing,” said Framingham Housing Authority Commission Janet Leombruno.

“Earl is a legend in the Framingham Housing Authority, and by today’s turnout it spoke volumes to that,” said City Councilor Leombruno last night.

“What a fantastic turnout for a fantastic guy. Earl Haley is one of those very special people who would do anything to help someone especially those who were the most vulnerable,” said former City Council Chair Dennis Giombetti, who was a part of the 100+ car parade. “For many years I had the privilege to see him up close and in person doing it. The large drive-by turnout for his 100th birthday reflects that special characteristic.” 

“Earl has dedicated his life to Framingham. I met him when he was campaigning to reform the Housing Authority,’ said District 8 City Councilor John Stefanini, who was a part of the car parade. “At his core, he is always focused on people, neighbors. He helped lead the charge to upgrade its housing stock, unit by unit, to better serve our low-income neighbors.”

Tales about Haley & Framingham politics were legendary. Some were true and some were just rumors, that became legends.

Landers told the news outlet this rumor has been told time and time again – “A few days before the election Earl would work the phones at 2 a.m. calling people saying he was his opponent. He’d say “Vote for me” (meaning his opponent), the person on the other end of the phone would be angry then hang up the phone. When the recipients of the early morning calls went to vote they’d vote for Earl instead of his opponent due to the rude calls.  He said it worked every time.”

“I always felt that maybe he was a bit disappointed in my tenure at the Housing Authority for one reason or another but he has always been a very strong supporter and a very good friend,’ said Housing Authority Commissioner Starr.

“I don’t think it really matters whether or not you agree with him, or him with you, but that you do your job to the best of your ability and operate in good faith. Earl is one of those few people who make a community what it is and Framingham has been to me a place where the ‘old guard’ helps the new. I’m lucky to have him as a friend,” said Starr.

“We thank everyone who turned out today to celebrate Earl’s 100th birthday and special thanks to his family for working behind the scenes to make it happen,” said Framingham Housing Authority Executive Director Landers said last night.

First posted at 1:44 p.m. Last updated at 8 p.m.

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Photos by Petroni Media Company for SOURCE

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