The Exaggerated Death of Edward J. Cassidy

On March 22, 1949, funeral services for Edward J. Cassidy were held at St. Patrick’s Church in Milford. Cassidy’s mother, two brothers and sister Elizabeth gathered for a high mass and requiem and then proceeded to burial services at the family plot at St. Patrick’s Cemetery. There was just one problem – Cassidy was alive and well, living in Hartford, Connecticut.

Indeed, reports of the death of Edward J. Cassidy had been greatly exaggerated. The mix-up seemed to have originated in New York City where a man who was incorrectly identified as Cassidy had died in a New York City hospital of pneumonia and meningitis. The body, which was in poor shape, was shipped north to Milford and was received by undertakers at Smith and Sons who incorrectly confirmed that it was Cassidy. Since it was a closed casket, the family never made a positive identification.

In mid-April, when Cassidy heard that he had missed his own funeral, he called home to argue that he was very much alive, setting off a sheriff investigation and the exhumation of the body of the New York man who was now buried in New Hampshire. Cassidy would live on, working in Connecticut and Chicago as a teacher and when he died at age 72 in 1978, he was buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery – this time for real. 

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