Today, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), the Dean of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation, released the following statement on the sad passing of Leo Diehl, who passed away early this morning in his sleep at his home in Harwich Port, MA.  Mr. Diehl was the late Speaker Tip O’Neill’s top aide, and a mentor and personal friend of Rep. Markey.

“Leo Diehl was a champion for Massachusetts even after his longtime service to the state as Speaker Tip O’Neill’s top adviser.  He played an enormous, unheralded role in shaping Democratic values in the United States as Tip O’Neill’s inseparable partner.  He was a wonderful man who I was privileged to learn from and work with.  Only he and Millie could ever call Speaker O’Neill, “Tom,” so when Leo said, “Tom wants this Congressman,” you knew you were hearing it from the top.  My thoughts and prayers go out to Leo’s family and to all who knew this great man.”

A wake will be held this Wednesday, September 27, 2006 as follows:

Wednesday, September 27, 2006
3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.
Doane, Beal & Ames Funeral Home
260 Main Street
West Harwich, MA  02671
(508) 432-0593

A funeral mass will be held this Thursday, September 28, 2006 as follows:

Thursday, September 28, 2006
11:00 a.m.
Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church
246 Main Street
West Harwich, MA  02671
(508) 432-4000

Below is some information on The Leo Diehl Foundation, named for Leo and established in 1981, which raised considerable sums for local Cape Cod charities.  Mr. Diehl was especially proud that the Foundation was able to support the Leo Diehl Nursing Scholarships at Cape Cod Community College, and especially that these scholarships made it possible for single mothers to continue their education and to be able to support their families and children.  The last “O’Neill-Diehl Invitational Golf Tournament” was held last year on September 24, 2005.  It was decided to dissolve The Leo Diehl Foundation, in this, its 25th year.  Therefore, the annual “O’Neill-Diehl Charity Golf Tournament” will no longer be held. 

THE LEO DIEHL FOUNDATION was established in 1981, pursuant to the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, as a non-profit 501 (c)(3) charitable organization (501[c][3] I.D. #521212838).  It raises money for charitable purposes primarily through our annual Fall golf tournament on the Cape.  We are proud that the Foundation has become a significant and effective charity, raising in excess of $1 million that has been distributed to worthy charitable causes exclusively on Cape Cod.

Leo Diehl, who continues to live in Harwich Port, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, was the longtime Administrative Assistant to former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, Jr. (D-MA-8th District), both of whom retired from public life in 1987.  Leo had a notable political career of his own dating back more than fifty years when he and "Tip" O'Neill were elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives.  At that time, Leo was the youngest person ever elected to the Massachusetts House.  Prior to his death in January 1994, Speaker O'Neill was a resident of Harwich Port, Massachusetts, where Leo Diehl still resides.

In 1994 the trustees of the Leo Diehl Foundation voted to change the name of the annual tournament to the O'NEILL-DIEHL CHARITY GOLF TOURNAMENT.  Speaker O'Neill was instrumental in the creation of these tournaments, and without his support and continued personal involvement, they could not have succeeded.  Congressman Joe Moakley (D-MA) served as the Honorary Chairman of the first O'Neill-Diehl Charity Golf Tournament in 1994, which was actually the fourteenth annual tournament sponsored by the Leo Diehl Foundation.  The Foundation was especially honored to have Congressman Joseph Moakley (D-MA-9/Deceased May, 2001) serve as Honorary Chairman of the annual O'Neill-Diehl Charity Golf Tournament.  In 1996, Congressman John P. Murtha (D-PA) joined Congressman Moakley as Honorary Chairman of the annual O'Neill-Diehl Charity Golf Tournament.

The Leo Diehl Foundation grew out of a Leo Diehl Invitational Golf Tournament which a group of Leo's friends organized twenty-two years ago.  From the outset, the main purpose of this effort was to hold a charity golf tournament and turn the proceeds over to worthy charitable recipients on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  The first Leo Diehl Charity Golf Tournament was held in the Fall, 1981.

Proceeds raised in connection with the annual Fall golf tournaments--well more than $1 million--have been or will be donated exclusively to worthy charitable enterprises on Cape Cod, including such groups as: The Leo Diehl Nursing Scholarships at The Cape Cod Community College School of Nursing; the Harwich Ecumenical Counsel for the Homeless; The Family Pantry; The Nauset Workshop; The Chatham Ambulance Service; The Harwich Ambulance Service;  Harwich Community Playground;  MediCenter Five; Volunteers of Cape Cod; Friends of Albro House; HEED; Chatham Creative Arts Center; Chatham Conservation Foundation; Friends of Trees; Society for the Preservation of the Historic Harwiches; and Chatham Youth Hockey Association.  In recognition of the Foundation's donations to Medicenter Five, a room at the center was named in honor of Leo Diehl.

For sixteen years, the Foundation also sponsored the Leo Diehl Art Exhibition at the Creative Arts Center in Chatham, Massachusetts.  The purpose of this exhibition was to encourage and recognize the work of Cape Cod artists.   In 1985, the contest's first prize oil painting by local artist James Maddocks was donated to Eastward Ho! Country Club, in Chatham, Massachusetts, the site of the annual charity golf tournament.

Trustees of The Leo Diehl Foundation include:  Eileen Connors,

Leo E. Diehl, Pamela P. Jackson, Jacqueline A. O'Neill, Rosemary D. O'Neill, and James A. Peterson.

September 25, 2006

CONTACT: Israel Klein