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Globe Editorial

Activism: Making a mark in life’s final chapter

March 12, 2010

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Two New Englanders who died this week showed how best to write life’s final chapter.

Doris Haddock, known to most as Granny D, tirelessly campaigned to curb corporate influence in politics in the two decades before she died at 100 in her Dublin, N.H., home on Tuesday. At 89, she trekked 3,200 miles across the country in support of public funding for elections. “You’re never too old to raise a little hell,’’ the subtitle of her autobiography boasted. Her commitment to clean politics followed a 20-year career working at a shoe company while raising two children.

Ray Tye, a behind-the-scenes philanthropist who paid for life-saving medical care for people in Boston and beyond, died at 89 Wednesday at his home in Cambridge. Tye’s charity was highly personal. He got to know the people he helped by visiting their bedsides, and often called Mayor Menino to ask who in the city needed his aid. In 2005, he paid to fly a 12-year-old boy orphaned and shot by mistake by US troops in Iraq to Boston where he could be treated. Tye’s philanthropy followed his lucrative career as chairman of United Liquors.

Together, Tye and Granny D proved that the good do not always die young, and that the good one does late in life can go on living.

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