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Wake for ‘wonderful’ Irishman killed in one-punch attack to be held in Boston

Barry Whelan is being waked at William J Gormley Funeral Home in West Roxbury between midday and 2pm on Thursday and his remains are to be interred in Dublin

Barry Whelan

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

Dozens of tributes have been left for a tragic Irishman who died in Boston after a one-punch attack.

Barry Whelan (46) had told colleagues that he had planned to have a pint of Guinness on St Patrick’s Day but later died after being assaulted.

A murder hunt is now underway after Whelan, who was from Dublin, was knocked unconscious when he was punched once to the head.

Mr Whelan was rushed to hospital where he battled for life for seven days before his life-support machine was switched off.

A post-mortem has established the cause of death was blunt force trauma and ruled it a homicide.

Whelan is being waked at William J Gormley Funeral Home in West Roxbury between midday and 2pm later today and his remains are to be buried in Dublin.

In the meantime, people have paid tribute to the carpenter – who would “give you the shirt off his back”.

“Barry was sweet, and wonderful person who'd give the shirt off his back if you asked, and if you didn't ask he'd offer it,” one person has written in the condolences section of his obituary page.

“We were deeply saddened to hear about the loss of your beloved son and brother, Barry. Please know that we are thinking of you during this incredibly difficult time and sending our heartfelt condolences,” another adds.

“Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers, and we are here for you if you need anything.”

One other has written: “Very sad to hear the passing of Barry. He was a lovely person and taken to soon. My thoughts are with Valerie and Darren.”

One other added: “Very sad to hear of the sudden passing of Barry. I always remember him as a very gentle person. My thoughts are with Valerie and Darren. May he rest in peace. Love your cousin.”

Whelan, originally from Dublin, worked as a carpenter with Twin Peaks Construction in the Boston suburb of Foxborough. He had been living in the nearby town of Woburn.

John Marsoobian, co-owner of the company Whelan worked for over the past two years, explained how his colleague had said he was going out for a pint for St Patrick’s Day.

Marsoobian said: “He talked on Friday afternoon about the fact that it was St Patrick’s Day and he just wanted to go have a Guinness to celebrate.”

Marsoobian explained that he had not heard from Whelan all weekend and was alarmed when he arrived at a site the Irishman was over but was not there.

He told Boston 25 News: “It was highly unlike Barry to not show up for work.”

Marsoobian later learned of the attack and helped police contact his family in Ireland.

Paying tribute to Whelan, he said: “He was patient. He was hardworking. He worked six days a week. He paid his taxes and he never complained about anything. He would give you the shirt off his back.

Whelan’s brother Darren has travelled to Boston from Spain where he lives, while their mother Valerie is also understood to be making the trip over from Dublin.

Marsoobian said Whelan’s brother described him as a “gentle soul.”

And Marsoobian added: “That’s what Barry was, a gentle soul.

“We will help the brother and their mom for as much as we need to help them through this and even after.”

Police have yet to make any arrests but CCTV footage has been recovered which shows the incident in full.

Although cops say they are still working to establish a motive, they have not ruled out that it may have been completely random.

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