Oct. 12, 2003
A. Eagan Jr., who worked many years in the retail industry
and served as a Holy Cross Trustee, died Oct. 12 at his home
in Wellesley, Mass., of cancer, at 76.
Entering its executive training program in 1949, Mr. Eagan
had been employed by the Jordan Marsh & Co. department
store for 33 years. After serving five years as a glove buyer,
he became a merchandising manager and, later, an executive
vice president for merchandising. Following his retirement
from the company, Mr. Eagan joined LeeJay Bed & Bath,
directing the company’s expansion until the mid-1990s.
He later worked as a consultant to many expanding regional
retail stores, including the Christmas Tree Shops.
Active in College affairs, Mr. Eagan had been a member of
the Holy Cross Board of Trustees from 1976–84. In addition
to serving on the College’s Committee for Athletic
Review, he had been a member of the President’s Council
at Holy Cross and a Holy Cross class agent. Mr. Eagan had
also been involved for many years with the activities of
the Holy Cross Club of Boston. In 1990, the General Alumni
Association presented him with its In
Hoc Signo Award.
During his career, Mr. Eagan had been a member of the Finance
Committee for the town of Wellesley and a member of the board
of Fetco, a frame company in Randolph, Mass.
A Navy veteran of World War II, he served on the bridge of
the aircraft carrier, the USS Princeton.
Mr. Eagan is survived by his wife, Constance; two sons, William
A. III ’77 and Christopher J. ’80; four daughters,
including Mary Ellen ’75, Constance A. ’81 and
Gail P. ’87; daughter-in-law Ann Halleron ’87;
two brothers, Richard E. ’50 and Robert K. ’57;
10 grandchildren; and many nephews and nieces.
Holy Cross president, Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J., shares
the following remembrance of William Eagan:
From his first days on the Hill, Bill Eagan’s classmates
expected great things from him. As they noted in the Class
of 1949 yearbook, he was an outstanding student with a keen
sense of fairness and a tremendous work ethic. Bill applied
those and his many other fine qualities, including his unfailing
graciousness, to his personal and professional lives during
the five decades that followed his graduation. For me, a
relative newcomer, Bill symbolized the best of the past,
the present and the potential of Holy Cross. He always was
interested in the welfare of our students and the College.
He often sent articles that he thought would be of interest
or benefit, and they were both. It was a privilege to know
Bill Eagan was a man of great integrity who served his classmates
as an especially active and well-informed class agent. He
also served the College as a wise and effective two-term
Trustee during a time of great transition and expansion in
the late 1970s and early 1980s. A graduate of the all-male
Holy Cross, Bill proudly watched three of his daughters and
his two sons graduate from his alma mater. Bill was a bridge
to the new coeducational Holy Cross, a passionate alumnus
who helped preserve the character and mission of the College
while helping it to move forward.
An In Hoc Signo Award recipient for his dedication and devotion
to Holy Cross, he devoted himself to what he held dear—his
faith, his family, his country and his alma mater—and
had great success in each of those areas. He was an exemplary
Crusader, who left a proud legacy of love and loyalty to
his Holy Cross family.
Rev. John E. Brooks, S.J., ’49, Holy Cross president
emeritus, offers the following tribute upon the death of
Bill Eagan, a classmate and friend, was a man to be respected
and admired. There is not a member of the Class of 1949 who
is not aware that his life has been graced by way of his
association with Bill.
Bill knew well that what’s important in life is that
there can be no vigorous spirituality without discipline,
without a certain hardness against oneself, without making
demands on oneself.
Upon graduating from Holy Cross, Bill was recruited to work
in a demanding and grueling business environment where the
competition alone must have tempted him on occasion to wonder
just how far he might advance while continuing to adhere
to the lofty ethical values which were so much a part of
his character. But Bill was a master of the Catholic life
and, doing things his way, he became immensely successful
Like all of us, Bill’s spiritual odyssey encountered
unexpected obstacles along the way including ultimately,
in his case, an inoperable illness and confrontation with
death. Throughout it all, Bill lived an authentic Christ-like
life. A genuinely loving husband and father and an ever loyal
son of Holy Cross, he lived his final days on the verge of
death just as he had lived his entire life—loving,
accepting, praying, hoping and believing in his Risen Lord.
In God’s Kingdom, Bill Eagan’s life will be rich.