(This piece was originally published August 5, 2013 and appeared on

Brian Honan was a superhero to this neighborhood, and so many of us missed out on a lot of what he did.

For the longest time all I knew about him was that he had a library and a park and a race named after him, but obviously you don’t get all that for doing bupkis.

Honan was born and raised in Allston. He went to BC, taught in Watertown, and worked for the District Attorney. Eventually he made his way back to Allston as a city councilor, though he had never left it far behind. All along he had been involved in the community, never for a minute looking away from his roots.

He wasn’t just a poster boy though.

He was genuinely cool, and interesting, and funny, and I’m disappointed that I had to learn all this from the internet and not from actually knowing him.

He listened to New Wave and his driving passion was bringing Allston a library; an award for public service was named for him.

Everything I learn as I read more about him just illustrates how fantastic he was, and I don’t get the sense that he was just revered in retrospect. It saddens me to imagine the great things he would have accomplished in this community with all of the fantastic people we have fighting for it today, but I doubt he would think it was productive for me to feel that way.

He was our champion.

Tragically, his life was cut short in 2002 due to complications as a result of surgery for cancer when he was just 39 years old. But we can do things to keep the memory of this local hero alive.

The Brian Honan Charitable Fund was created in his memory, and supports and fosters “programs to help local communities realize the true potential of its citizens in creating those extraordinary lives. Much in the same way that Brian’s vocation in serving the people of his district — seniors, young people, community-based workers and educators, to name only a few — left an unparalleled legacy, it is our intent to strengthen the fabric of our local communities by continuing his great work on their behalf and honoring his lifelong commitment to people.”

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Allston Rat City’s story.