Leo M. Cooney
Leo Mathias Cooney was born on September 8, 1909 and died July 20, 1973. A son of John P. and Minnie A. Cooney, he was named after Pa's beloved uncle, Rev. Mathias Leo McCabe. As a child, he had problems pronouncing Mathias and was thereafter always known as Cy. His Holy Cross career was highlighted by his spirited debate with the British novelist G.K. Chesterton on the steps of the Dinand Library. While at Georgetown Law, Cy's FBI career was cut short when he was personally fired by J. Edgar Hoover for his "arrogant walk". Admitted to the Rhode Island Bar in 1937, he was Chief Legal Counsel for the Rhode Island Department of Social Welfare from 1940 to 1958, and was appointed Judge of the Providence Municipal Court in 1962. Cy was especially devoted to his church and was a lay member of the School Board of the Catholic diocese of Providence, a trustee of St. Sebastian's Church, and Keeper of the Keys of St. Romuald's Chapel in Matunuck. As a result of his son Steven's illness, he was, for many years, Rhode Island State Treasurer for the Jimmy Fund. He married Elizabeth (Betty) Shawcross in 1939; known for his Sunday morning breakfasts of doughboys and bacon, he obtained his greatest satisfaction from his and Betty's eleven children: Ms. Elizabeth Sklut (born 1941) Berkeley, California; Mrs. Barbara Dixon (born 1942) Penzance, England; Leo M. Cooney, Jr. (born 1943) New Haven, Connecticut.;William S. Cooney (born 1945) Foster, Rhode Island.; David P. Cooney (born 1946) Lincoln, Rhode Island; Mary Lou Cooney (born 1948) Winthrop, Massachusetts; Steven P. Cooney (born 1950, died 1952); Philip S. Cooney (born 1954) Pawtucket, Rhode Island; Nancy J. Cooney (born 1955) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Joseph M. Cooney (born 1957) East Greenwich, Rhode Island; and C. Buckley Cooney (born 1959) Rehoboth, Massachusetts. Cy missed many of the subsequent achievements of his children, and the joys of his grandchildren, as he died prematurely from bladder cancer at the age of 63, in July of 1973.