Myles R. Garrigan, 97, of Smithfield Court in Springfield passed away on Wednesday, January 13, 2021. Myles was born in South River, New Jersey on September 9, 1923. At a very young age he was orphaned; his mother Mildred (Stults) Garrigan passed in 1930 and his father Miles Vincent Garrigan died in 1931. He was raised by his Aunt Beatrice Stults (Aunt Bea) and the two of them lived in a small apartment over a local garage. He attended South River High School until his senior year when as a 17-year old he headed to Washington, D.C. to be a page for three years in the House of Representatives. On his first night in Washington, DC he wrote to his aunt, “I am living in a boarding house in back of The Supreme Court. The rent is $32 a month. I get all my meals at the boarding house. The schooling fee is $15 a month. I expect to make $100 month and I am going to send you $40 for my bank account and you can take any part of that money. Don’t worry.” He closed with, “I miss you and South River. Don’t worry about me. Write to me soon. Love, Bob” and he added a string of “X’s” for good measure. Myles went on to attend George Washington University and receive his Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs. While serving as a page he was present in the House the day President Franklin D. Roosevelt made his “Day of Infamy” address to a joint session of the Congress on Dec. 8, 1941. Myles enlisted in the Army Air Force and was honorably discharged as an Air Force Cadet.
He was employed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for a few years after college graduation and Myles never-ever told his family what he did at the CIA. Not even after 40 years and a few beers. Nothing. He later worked in sales and the industrial film industry.
He loved to tell a story. Here’s one, the short version. His long marriage of more than 50 years started with a 3 month honeymoon trip through Europe. His bride’s suitcase handle broke forcing the young husband to carry her luggage in his arms like a baby or a serving tray. This story was usually told to emphasize devotion to his bride. Mid-point in their European adventure the money ran out and a telegram was sent to his US bank with the classic request, “Send. Money.” This story was told to more or less illustrate the mad-cap nature of the trip and the need to plan properly. The lack of money caused the honeymooners to stay longer at their hotel in Rome and eat only from room service until the rescue funds arrived to settle the bill and check-out. (The silver lining.) And there was the story about not understanding Italian or train schedules. Thinking their train to Rome was stopping for a solid 15 minutes at a country station, Myles jumped off to purchase sandwiches for his new wife who then waved goodbye to him a mere 5 minutes later as the train pulled away from platform. (Communication is everything.)
Traveling was always on his mind, as the couple would later take many road trips across the United States. Washington DC and New York City received frequent visits. They had multiple vacations to Ireland and London. If he heard the word “Ireland”, he would most likely tell the story about staying at Ashford Castle (a highlight) or the one about sharing a pint in a pub....
It was never a problem for Myles to attend his grandsons sporting and school events; he enjoyed every single sport and being part of their lives. As a bonus he got to know their friends and the parents of their friends and classmates.
Myles was honored in the South River High School Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Graduate. Myles will be deeply missed by his family. They would give anything to hear a story repeated one more time. Myles much-loved wife, Mary (Miller) Garrigan passed away in 2004. He leaves his beloved daughter, Lisa Garrigan and her husband Peter Goonan of Chicopee; along with his most cherished grandsons Sean Myles Goonan (Chicopee) and Timothy Peter Goonan, (Philadelphia). He also leaves his dear devoted friend and scrabble partner of many years, Pauline Sample of Longmeadow. In addition he leaves his nieces and nephews and their families, the many members of the Goonan family as well as his friends at Georgetown Condominiums, Glenmeadow Retirement Community, the senior center and the Veterans group of Longmeadow. A memorial celebration of Myles Garrigan’s wonderful life will be held when the social restrictions are lifted. At Myles request, cremation services will be private with burial in South River, New Jersey.
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