EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

December 31, 2008

Beverly man has agreement to buy Linnehan Funeral Home in Haverhill

Late owner John Linnehan was known for strong Democratic ties

HAVERHILL — He served as the New York state campaign manager for John F. Kennedy, raised big money for the Democratic party and was considered the man to see for political advice. He also ran two funeral homes in the city.

When John Linnehan died in March after the onset of a sudden illness, the future of the business his father had founded was in question.

Yesterday, a lifelong Beverly resident and funeral home director who did work for Linnehan for years said he hopes to take over the business and maintain its high standards of service to the community.

Kevin Grondin, 55, owner of the Grondin Funeral Home in Beverly and the Pike-Grondin Funeral Home in Gloucester, said he has signed a purchase-and-sale agreement for the Linnehan funeral homes located on Kenoza Avenue and Salem Street.

"We have not closed (on the deal) yet, but I expect this will happen within the next few weeks," Grondin said.

Linnehan's family members could not be reached for comment on Grondin's planned move into Haverhill.

If the sale goes through, Grondin said he plans to rename the business the Linnehan-Grondin Funeral Homes. He did something similar in 1992 when he bought the Pike Funeral Home in Gloucester and renamed it the Pike-Grondin Funeral Home.

"If John was still alive, I would not even think of changing the name," Grondin said.

In addition to helping Kennedy win the presidency, Linnehan also served as the New England regional commissioner under his administration and was a high-ranking official in the Small Business Administration under President Lyndon Johnson.

Linnehan's Democratic ties remained strong in the 48 years since Kennedy's presidential victory, even after Linnehan returned to his hometown of Haverhill in 1973 to take over the family business after his father, Frank Linnehan, died.

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