By Tim Moran
“He was a presence larger than life, never to be matched again.”
Perhaps no statement so precise could capture the essence of longtime Chicagoland car dealer Dick Haggerty like the above line included in his obituary.
Haggerty died just days before Christmas 2023, leaving behind a large family and an even bigger legacy that has strong roots in Beverly/Morgan Park. He was 75.
“He was amazing,” BAPA Executive Director Mary Jo Viero said. “Such a great guy. I was so impressed by how active he was and how much he loved life.”
From a professional standpoint, Haggerty will be remembered as the co-owner of a handful of car dealerships throughout the city and suburbs, including the Mike Haggerty Buick GMC dealership in nearby Oak Lawn. He and his cousin, Mike Haggerty, were partners for more than 40 years in the business, a partnership formed right here in our own neighborhood.
It was “by chance” that the two Haggertys became next door neighbors near 98th and Bell in the early 1980s, Mike Haggerty told The Villager.
“Dick and his wife were moving to Beverly from Oak Lawn and bought the house right next door,” he said. “He knew I lived in Beverly, but had no idea I was that close.”
At the time, the cousins were both working in the car business, but separately and for different dealerships.
“We were both working 10-12 hours a day and thought we could combine our energies and do it ourselves,” Haggerty said. “I’d say it worked out real well.”
Dick Haggerty’s love for Beverly/Morgan Park remained strong even after moving back to Oak Lawn. He was a consistent supporter of the Beverly Area Planning Association and had plans to move back to the neighborhood, his cousin said.
His daughter, Katie Haggerty, carries on the family’s love for Beverly/Morgan Park as a resident herself. She remembers her dad’s moments of spontaneity.
“Like when he heard at the last minute that there was going to be a shutdown on the Dan Ryan, and he got in an Uber and went down there to march with the protestors,” Katie said. “Or how he would just show up at places in a helicopter.”
He was a member and former Drum Major of the famed Chicago Stockyard Kilty Band, and a founding member of the Windy City Veterans. His heroism as a U.S. Navy veteran who served as a medic during the Vietnam war often went understated, Mike Haggerty said.
“What he did there was pretty impressive,” Mike said. “He was always very humble about that.”
When it came to other topics, however, Katie said her dad was “very forthright.”
“He never shied away from his opinion, but it was always with the best intentions,” she said.
Dick Haggerty’s presence will continue to be felt in Beverly/Morgan Park for years to come. Come Memorial Day, it will be the pace car that he and his cousin Mike loan to BAPA each year leading the runners at the Ridge Run.
“As an organization, we are so grateful for everything he’s done,” Viero said.