There were a few teachers from my elementary school days, first at Holy Angel, then at St. Mark, who will always be ultimate favourites of mine.
And one of them, Mr. Larry McNally, happened to be my teacher at both Holy Angel and St. Mark.
He was also my softball coach at both schools.
I loved him as a teacher and a coach. And my fondness for him carried on when I became an adult and got to know him even more.
He was an awesome teacher, an awesome coach and an awesome person.
Over the years, I would see him often and he always made a point to commend me for a story I had written for the Sault This Week. It was not so much about the content but rather about how the story was written that Mr. McNally would praise me for.
“I must have taught you well,” he would invariably smile, with a hearty laugh and a pat on the shoulder.
I in turn would tell him how good he looked and how I still thought of him as a favourite teacher — even though he was fond of giving out 500 lines for classroom infractions — and a favourite coach.
It does bother me, though, that I had the opportunity to go to visit Mr. McNally at his home recently — but I didn’t get there. I had seen his wife, Jane, out at supper not too long ago and she made a point of inviting me to drop by the house and see Mr. McNally.
“Just phone before you come over,” Mrs. McNally told me.
Well, I did try to call the McNally house one day but got a busy signal. I should have tried later but I didn’t. And that makes me sad that I did not get to see Mr. McNally one more time.
Yes, Mr. McNally passed away the other day at the age of 82.
He leaves behind his sweet lady Jane and their daughters and grand children, among other family members.
A devout Catholic who liked the taste of a cold beer, Mr. McNally was a good, good person who battled a kidney ailment for quite a long time.
It saddens me so much that Mr. McNally has passed away.
But it brightens me when I think of him as an amazing teacher, amazing coach and amazing person.
Following is the obituary for Mr. McNally.
Passed away peacefully while surrounded by family on December 8, 2020 at the age of 82. Adoring husband to Jane and loving father to Michelle and Catherine. Beloved Grampa to Zachary, Samuel, Natasha and Renee. Brother to Linda Hamel (Len) and Colleen McBride (Ken). Larry was preceded in death by his parents, Rose and Russell McNally, and his twin brother, Gerald McNally (Monica). He will be deeply missed by many nieces and nephews and their children. Due to COVID restrictions, a PRIVATE funeral mass will be held at St. Gerard Majella Church by invitation only. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Larry payable to or online to the Renal Care Fund at the Sault Area Hospital. Arrangements entrusted to O’Sullivan Funeral Home and Cremation Centre, 215 St. James St, 705-759-8456.