Tom Lilly Honored With National Life Membership

On January 13, 2012, Division 8 honored Brother Tom Lilly with National Life Membership in the AOH. Also on that night, John O’Connell was name Division 8 man of the year and Mary Moran was named woman of the year.

Below is the letter submitted to the AOH National Board describing his credentials.

It is with great pleasure the Mike Moran Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians propose brother Thomas Lilly for Life Membership in our Order.

A member of the AOH since 1969, Tom made his Major Degree in 1974 and has been the quintessential brother. He actively worked in the Freedom For All Ireland movement, and is still active in the Pro-Life campaigns in New York. Tom used to his political connections to champion both causes, while remaining true to his Irish Catholic beliefs.

Over the past 42 years, Tom has been an active executive in Division 8. He was a three term President, and also served as FFAI and Pro-Life chairs. And for the past 30 years, he has been the Division Historian, providing monthly lessons about Irish History. In the role, Tom also spearheaded a speaker series on the North Shore to promote Irish History. He was on the FFAI Committee for Nassau County in the 1980s and was the National Legal Counsel for the National FFAI Committee from 1980-1982.

Tom has been front and center on Hibernian issues over the years. During the 1980s Tom was a regular at the FFAI protests in New York, but more importantly though, he lobbied members of the United States Congress to put pressure on the British Government.

We have enclosed one example of his work back in 1979 where he was able to procure the release of Terry Kirby from prison and into a hospital where he received the medical attention he deserved. Tom, as Long Island campaign manager for Scoop Jackson’s unsuccessful presidential bids in 1972 and 1976, had access to the many politicians in the area. Terry’s mother Bridie contacted the AOH in 1979 to seek help as Terry was suffering from internal bleeding in prison. Tom was able to champion his cause to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who in turn, pressured the British Consulate to have Terry moved to an outside hospital. We have included letters from Mrs. Kirby and then FFAI Chairman Martin Higgins.

He also used his political clout to bar Blackwatch from using Nassau Coliseum for various “tattoos’ on more than one occasion and acted as a liaison between the politicians and the Hibernians for these causes.

He is still very active in the Pro-Life movement, making sure the protests and prayer services are well attended and he serves as a former President and current board member of Momma’s House, an organization dedicated to find mothers alternatives to abortion. Also when he ran for office himself as member of the Democrats for Life, Tom proudly displayed the Red Rose on his lapel, letting everyone know where he stands on the issue. He has also worked on presidential and congressional campaigns championing the cause for the unborn.

In 1989, Tom was influential member in starting the Glen Cove St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which is one of the largest parades on the North Shore and the only one run by a committee that comprises solely of members of the AOH. He worked tirelessly to put this event on each year along, working with the City of Glen Cove to make it a success. For his efforts, he was named the first Aide to the Grand Marshal and the 22nd Grand Marshal in 2010.

Outside of the Order, Tom is a former President and longtime member of the board of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Long Island and active member of St. Boniface Martyr Parish in Sea Cliff. A parish publication in 1973 declared that “the name Thomas Joseph Lilly has become synonymous with St. Boniface School”, where he served as Chairman of the School Board for many years.

Division 8 hopes that this board will see what we have for the past 42 year – a dedicated servant to the Order, who has received our Division’s highest honors of Hibernian of the Year, Grand Marshal of our parade, and in 2009 was given Division Life Membership, and one who has made a difference on many levels.  It is our hope that in 2011, the AOH will grant Thomas Joseph Lilly National Life Membership in the Ancient Order of Hibernians.