Cemetery gathering a salute to road race legends
The First Litchfield Artillery Regiment fires its cannon during the traditional pre-Litchfield Hills Road Race tour of graves in St. Anthony Cemetery on Saturday. BZ photos
The weekend celebration that is the Litchfield Hills Road Race got into full swing on Saturday with the traditional tour of graves in St. Anthony Cemetery, where many who supported the LHRR are resting.
Leading the tour was LHRR co-founder Billy Neller, who paid a tribute at the grave of his co-founder, Joe Concannon. The graves of Ali Neller, Bear Murphy and Ovidio DeRuberti were other stops on the tour. Ian Campbell performed his LHRR song and Ed Evers played the bagpipes.
The tour also recalled Tommy Leonard, who is not buried in the cemetery but will never be forgotten for helping Neller and Concannon get approval for the race in 1977. Leonard died in February in Falmouth, Mass., where for years he was a bartender at the Quarterdeck Restaurant. He also spent many years tending bar at the Eliot Lounge in Boston.
The First Litchfield Artillery Regiment fired its cannon three times in honor of Leonard.
The Neller brothers, from left, Rick, Jack and Billy at the grave of LHRR co-founder Joe Concannon.
LHRR announcer and local sports celebrity Brent Hawkins, right, recalls the late Tommy Leonard. Looking on are two-time Boston Marathon winner Geoff Smith, left, and Billy Neller.
Brent Hawkins does his best Tommy Leonard immitation.
Ed Evers added a nice touch to the festivities with his bagpipes.
Relatives of Joe Concannon lead a toast at his grave.