Little League’s Giant : Jimmy O’Regan, Youth Sports Leader, Dies at 75

Special to the Record

We know he coached the Cardinals in the Chelsea Little League but everyone knew he was a true Giant.

A long-time and revered youth sports leader and coach who never sought recognition for his volunteer efforts in this city, James “Jimmy” O’Regan died on Aug. 30, 2019. He was 75.

Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson knew Mr. O’Regan many years before he served as president of the Chelsea Little League.

“Jimmy was an outstanding athlete at the Shurtleff School and Chelsea High (Class of 1963) but more importantly he was always a gentleman and so nice to people,” recalled Robinson. “It didn’t surprise me at all that Jimmy became president of the Little League and wanted to make sure that other kids would have the opportunity to enjoy sports as much as he did.”

After high school, Mr. O’Regan was drafted in to the United States Army and he served his country before being honorably discharged on Sept. 29, 1968.

Returning home from the service, Mr. O’Regan worked at the Thomas Strahan Company in Chelsea for 30 years before his retirement.

Mr. O’Regan and his wife, Patricia “Patty’ A. (Ells), shared 46 years of marriage, making Chelsea their home and the community where they raised their four boys.

The O’Regan boys followed their father’s lead in to sports, often having the honor of their father as their coach.

The sons also followed their father into leadership positions in the city. James O’Regan Jr. served two terms on the Chelsea School Committee and is a candidate in this fall’s election.

Former Chelsea School Committee member Shawn O’Regan and his younger brother, Kevin, have taken the city’s youth sports scene by storm. Shawn is the president of Chelsea’s youth baseball league and a leader of the Chelsea Pride youth football and cheerleading organization. Kevin is the Pride’s equipment manager and coach of the fifth and sixth grade football team.

They are carrying on their father’s legacy of youth sports leadership, helping boys and girls set the foundation for their entry in to interscholastic athletics.

And just like their father, the O’Regan boys are competitive, having led their teams to championships but always putting sportsmanship and fair play first.

“He was a great father,” said Shawn O’Regan, who is running for a seat on the School Committee. “He taught us how to play the game of baseball and got us involved in basketball.”

From Phil Spelman to Arnold Goodman to Earl Ham to Rick Chapin, there have been men who have devoted countless hours to helping Chelsea youths appreciate sports and take the right path to becoming fine young adults.

 James “Jimmy” O’Regan Sr. has earned his spot on the list of the all-time great ambassadors for youth sports in this city. Chelsea parents were fortunate to have had a gentleman like Jimmy O’Regan teaching their children how to play sports and how to be a good teammate.

He is gone but he will never be forgotten.

And with the sons of James and Patricia O’Regan continuing his fine work and exemplary leadership,  Chelsea kids are the winners.

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