City Auditor Dies, Victim of Pneumonia (9 May 1925)

City Auditor Dies, Victim of Pneumonia

Bernard Keating, Distinguished Citizen, Succumbs After Short Illness.

City Auditor Bernard Keating died at 8 o’clock last evening at his home 128 Park place closing a period of more than 50 years of service for the city of Bridgeport. Mr. Keating, who was seventy—eight years old, had been city auditor for the past 42 years and prior to that served as a councilman and as city clerk. He had also served on various important municipal commissions.

Auditor Keating was sick but a few days. He was in his office in City hall Wednesday as usual, but in the afternoon was taken ill and removed to his home. It was thought at first that he was suffering from an attack of heart trouble but Thursday afternoon pneu- [sic] ceived in the public schools of age the city auditor was unable to successfully combat the attack of pneumonia as a younger man might have done.

Mr. Keating was one of the best known city officials in Bridgeport. He was described by his friend Attorney Thomas M. Cullinan as the dean of Connecticut’s public officers.

Born in Ireland

He was born in County Claire, Ireland April 13, 1847 and at the age of nine years made the trip to America alone, going to Springfield and Holvoke where he lived for a year, then joining his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Keating, who in the meanwhile had come here and settled in Bridgeport.

His elementary education was received in the public schools of Bridgeport. He took an interest in politics as a young man and was elected councilman in 1874 during the term of Mayor R. T. Clarke. He was elected from the Third Ward located on the East Side and served until 1878 when he was elected city clerk.

While city clerk he studied law at Yale Law School and was graduated in 1880 practicing law in connection with his city office which was a common practice at that time. He was admitted to the bar at New Haven county the same year that he graduated from Yale.

Owned Meat Market

At one time he conducted a meat market in East Bridgeport being associated in this business with the father of John F. Dowling, former chief clerk in the office of the Board of Assessors. Although prospering  in this business he remained in it but a short time deciding to devote his energies to public service.

After serving four years as a councilman and being elected city clerk, he served six consecutive terms as city clerk.

Upon the vote of the Board of Aldermen in March, 1883, he was appointed city auditor, for a three-year term. He was successively reelected until an act of the Legislature passed April 19, 1905 as a charter amendment, gave him life tenure in office during good behavior.

During his term as city auditor, two of the friends of his early life, Henry Lee and Dennis Mulvihill, with whom he boarded  in the old Sheridan house at Crescent avenue and Kossuth street in 1871, both served as mayors of Bridgeport.

Ex-mayor Lee, commenting on Auditor Keating’s death yesterday said “He was the most effimiet and competent officer that this or any other state ever had. He always devoted his best energies to the office that he held. In his death the city loses its most prominent and best-known citizen.”

Mr. Keating was a member of the Financial Advisory committee at the time of his death. He served as secretary of the Paving and Sewer commission from its inception to its abolishment in 1923. He was a member of the City Plan commission, a member of the commission which effected the city water company contract, and of the commission which consolidated the town and city governments of Bridgeport.

He was a charter member of Park City council, Knights of Columbus and of the “Forty-Seven” club. He was a member of Scared [sic] Heart parish.

His wife, Catherine Donahue Keating, whom he married in 1883, died April 10 last. Mr. Keating is survived by four sons, John F., cashier of the Bridgeport Gas Light company; Vincent L., former prosecuting attorney in City Court; Walter A., who is associated with the Conlin Paint company; and Joseph P., of Stamford; and one daughter, Miss Helen Keating. During the war one of Auditor Keating’s sons saw service in the Army and two in the Navy.

The funeral will be held Monday morning at 9 o’clock from his home, with a solemn high mass of requiem in Sacred Heart church as 9:30 o’clock. Burial will be in St. Michael’s cemetery.

Source: City Auditor Dies, Victim of Pneumonia, The Bridgeport Post, Bridgeport, Connecticut, 9 May 1925, pp. 1-2.

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