open menu

In Memoriam

William Delahunt Did BC Law Proud

Former US Representative and Norfolk County DA was admired for his compassion and political diplomacy.

William Delahunt in 2022 when the Norfolk County Superior Courthouse was named for him. PHOTO: Paige Brown Photography 

William Delahunt ’67 of Massachusetts, longtime US Representative and a Democrat respected for his commitment to bipartisanship, passed away at his home in Quincy on March 30. He was 82.

One of nine Boston College Law School alumni to have served in Congress, Delahunt represented Massachusetts’ 10th congressional district from 1997 to 2011. He had postponed his retirement from the House of Representatives for a time in order to help President Barak Obama achieve his legislative goals.

Delahunt attended Thayer Academy, Middlebury College, and Boston College Law School. While receiving his law degree, he continued his service as a radarman in the United States Coast Guard Reserve, and after graduation headed for the Massachusetts House of Representatives for a two-year term. He then became the longest tenured Norfolk County District Attorney, serving from 1975 to 1997. His groundbreaking legacy in that role was his creation of the country’s first prosecutorial unit on domestic violence and sexual assault cases. The program became a national model.

Among those commenting upon Delahunt’s passing was fellow BC Law alum US Senator Ed Markey ’72, who in a statement praised his colleague’s extensive public service as a legislator and cited the naming of the William D. Delahunt Norfolk County Courthouse in 2022 as a tribute to his dedication to improving lives and his impact on Massachusetts.

Delahunt’s loss was also felt internationally. President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, for one, paid tribute to him out of respect for a home heating oil deal he brokered in 2005 with then-Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for low-income Massachusetts residents.

Delahunt’s obituary is available here. More from Boston 25 News and NPR.