Stephen M. O'Grady
8/29/69 - 9/26/99
Stephen O'Grady was born in Salem on August 29, 1969 to John and Theresa O'Grady. His father was killed in a car accident when Stephen was 10 months old. Stephen grew up in a one parent household with his mother Theresa, his sister Beth and his brother Paul.
Stephen was an enthusiastic and happy child who was active in many organizations throughout the city, including the Salem Fraternity- the original Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem, which would later play an important role in his life. He attended Salem High School and was the President of the Immaculate Conception Parish Youth Group and the Student Council. He was always interested in politics, and received a personal invitation from then Vice-President George Bush to visit the White House.
Though Stephen played in little league during his early years, his true skills shown through when he began coaching at the age of 16, and he went on to become the Vice President of Salem Little League. Though he had a special spot in his heart for his first team, the DOLPHINS, he became best known for his REDS who went on to capture several city championships. Stephen was not just a coach to his kids; he was a mentor, a role model, a big brother, a father figure to those who had none, and above all, a friend.
Stephen also lent his coaching skills to the basketball court, and began an affiliation with St. John's the Evangelist School in Beverly. At the age of 19, he was hired as Athletic Director. At an age when many of us are still trying to find our way in the world, Stephen had found his calling working with the children of the community. His dedication was relentless, and his enthusiasm was contagious.
In 1995 Stephen, took on the challenge of becoming the Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem. Through his tireless efforts and dedication, the Club became a thriving organization, providing a positive place for the children and young adults of Salem. The Club now serves over 1,000 members in the cities of Salem and Peabody.
Stephen was also a member of the Salem High School Athletic staff, and had the great pleasure of working with some of the same students he watched grow up over the years. His reputation for combining solid principles and hard work with a dash of his unique sense of humor brought his kids success, and brought Stephen well deserved respect throughout the community.
Stephen's family, friends and the local community were stunned and deeply saddened when Stephen was killed by a drunk driver on September 26, 1999 as he returned from a weekend trip to New Hampshire. It was less than a month after his 30th birthday.
With all that he accomplished in the short time he was here, we can hardly imagine a life more well lived.
Through his tireless work with the youth of the city, Stephen left us a legacy of future citizens whose lives will be greatly influenced by the teachings and actions of this outstanding individual.
We miss his leadership. We miss his compassion. We miss his friendship. We miss his sense of humor.
We miss you Stephen, and you'll never be forgotten.