Longtime Haverhill Principal, Coach Thomas Behan Dies of COVID-19 at Age 80

File photograph. (Image licensed by Ingram Image.)

Thomas F. Behan. (Courtesy photograph.)

Thomas F. Behan, 80, a popular Haverhill school principal, died from COVID-19 yesterday at Holy Family Hospital in Methuen. He is survived by Patricia, his wife of 58 years.

Behan was born in Haverhill on Sept. 11, 1939, and was a lifelong resident of the city. He graduated from Haverhill High School in 1957 where he served as class president for four years. He began his career teaching science at Hunking School before becoming a school principal.

Known as a supportive, caring and dedicated leader, who would often play kickball and toss the football around with students at recess, he was principal of Hunking, St. James, Silver Hill and Moody schools in Haverhill. After retiring from the Haverhill School System, he was principal of Meritor Academy in North Andover. He also served on the Haverhill School Committee for four years.

Behan was a member of the 1955 HHS State Championship football team. He went on to coach football at Haverhill High School and coached his sons for many years playing baseball at St. Joseph’s Little League.

Besides his wife Patricia M. (Costello), he leaves his children, Mark Behan and his wife Leslie of Newton, N.H., Mary Ward and her husband Robert of Haverhill; Susan Tashjian and her husband Gregory of Haverhill, and Michael Behan of Rusk, Texas; grandchildren, Stephen Behan and his wife Erin, Patrick Ward, Eric Ward and his fiancee` Casey Taylor, Timothy Tashjian, Brian Ward, Amy Tashjian; and Daniel Tashjian; great grandchildren, Ayanna Short, Ashlyn and Sadie Behan; sister- in- law, Joanne (Costello) Skofield of York, Maine; Robert and Mary Costello of East Kingston, N.H.; Harold and Sheila (Costello) Francis of Groveland; several first cousins; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by Ray and Kay (Costello) Bergeron.

Due to the current healthcare crisis, funeral services are private. Arrangements are by the Kevin B. Comeau Funeral Home, 486 Main St., Haverhill. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at a later date. Donations may be made in his memory to St. Vincent de Paul, 6 Cottage St., Haverhill, 01830 or the Liz Murphy Open Pantry, c/o St. James, 6 Cottage St., Haverhill, 01830.

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