(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2011)
Gareth Kinkead, Jr. passed away Tuesday at the age of 87, leaving a void in the Mattapan community many expect will take some time to fill, if ever.
Described as the “Mayor of Mattapan," with a sharp wit and always a smile and joke ready, Kinkead was at the center of civic life in the Boston neighborhood, whether it was advocating for community parks, running the Colorado Street Neighborhood Association, or promoting the part of the community he called “Shangri-la.”
“He had his hand in so many things and just really wanted to help the community,” Gloria Kinkead, one of his three children, explained. “It was the betterment of the community that drove him. He loved this neighborhood and the people that lived here.”
A son of Roxbury and graduate of Roxbury Memorial High School, Kinkead never stopped working.
From his time in the Navy to his work as a Teamster and then eventually earning his degree and becoming computer analyst, Kinkead always strived to better himself and those around him. Although he never slowed down, he always took the time for the personal touch, cracking a joke or asking about someone’s health.
“It’s a huge loss for Mattapan and the city of Boston,” said City Councilor Rob Consalvo, who spent many hours working with Kinkead on various projects from a tot-lot on Orlando Street to improvements to the Mattahunt Community Center.
“He was a true gentleman and he was a civic giant,” Consalvo said. “He’s irreplaceable.”
The City Council is expected to adjourn in his honor next week.
Kinkead, who led the local neighborhood association with his beloved second-wife Annie, was lauded by many as a true servant of the community.
“Mr. Kinkead was an amazing man with a great spirit. He spent his life working to better his beloved community of Mattapan and Boston. To say he will be missed would be an understatement; my friend, Mr. Kinkead, was a force,” said Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, who worked with Kinkead both as a State Representative and as a State Senator.
For friends and family it was hard to point to one specific issue or project that was his legacy, because there were so many.
“He was a role model,” said Corey Allen, who helped found the nearby Cummins Valley Neighborhood Association. “He wasn’t an elected official, but he did what they should do and really left an imprint on the quality of life in Mattapan.”
Kinkead will be missed, but from his life many lessons can be taken, not just about hard work, but about dedication and putting a family and a community before oneself.
“I was always in awe of the man and how he had a way with people,” said Gloria Kinkead. “It cracks me up when I hear people calling my dad the ‘Mayor of Mattapan,' it’s just so great to hear people refer to him that way and it really reflects his commitment to this community and its residents.”
A wake will be held Monday, November 18 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Charles Street AME Church. A funeral will be held Tuesday, November 19 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Charles Street AME Church. Kinkead will be interred at the Forest Hills Cemetery, not too far from his beloved Shangri-la.
He is survived by his wife of 25-years Annie, his two daughters, Gloria Kinkead and Vanessa Howard, and his son Gareth Kinkead III.