It’s Monday morning and time for this week’s Meet the Characters post. If you’ve missed the previous ones, this is a weekly profile of an Exeter resident by Exeter Ledger editor CJ Jenkins. 😉
Longtime Exeter residents remember Joe O’Leary from trips to the family market, or from his stellar football and basketball career at Exeter High, where he quarterbacked the team to the Super Bowl his senior year, starting a successful streak that allowed the Eagles to lead the league for four straight years.
O’Leary played one season of football for the UMass Minutemen, getting four starts as a true freshman and leading the team to a top three finish in the conference after the starting quarterback was felled by an injury and the backup was suspended after a drug possession arrest.
He returned to Exeter, however, after that season and started working for White & Bannion Insurance as a salesman, rising to become a partner in the firm three years ago. O’Leary is a single parent, and spends much of his free time with his children’s activities and involved in various ministries at St. Brigid’s, where he’s a member of the Parish Council.
“The Church was there when I was going through some rough times, so I give back where I can,” he said.
Full Name: Joseph Michael O’Leary
Family: My boy’s a senior this year, Tim. The girl’s 13, over at the middle school. I’ve got four older sisters, and my parents still run O’Learys Market
Childhood ambition: To do something other than run the market
Three most important people in life: God and my kids.
List of three things would take if evacuating: A trophy from when our high school basketball team won the league title, the rosary Father Morelli had blessed for me by the Pope last year and a file of important papers I keep.
What would your last meal be? Fried clams
What’s in your iPod? I don’t listen to much music outside of church.
Dream vacation: Father Morelli is organizing a trip to the Holy Land next year.
Idea of hell: Slipping back into that place where a drink was more important to me than anything or anyone.
Best advice you ever got: Take things one day at a time.
Fun Friday night plans: I’m usually shuttling the kids around to things.
Ideal date: I don’t date, since I’m married in the eyes of the Church and of God.
Favorite sport? Football.
Hobbies/activities: Softball. I’m a lector at St. Brigid’s, and a member of the Parish Council and the Rotary Club.
Favorite season: Football season
One thing you would tell your 13-year-old self: People aren’t what they seem.
Favorite quote: “I am responsible when anyone, anywhere reaches out for help.”
Person you’d love to have dinner with: Pope Benedict
Coffee or tea: Tea. That’s all my parents drink, so I never developed a taste for coffee.
Beer or wine: Neither, not anymore.
Righty or lefty: Lefty
Introvert or extrovert: Extrovert, I guess. I’m not one of those guys that’s too scared of his shadow to even talk.
Beach or mountains: Beach.
— CJ Jenkins