Jackie Owens embodies everything good about the Southie male stereotype.
He is handsome, strong, a stand-up guy and quick witted. The combination of his boyish good looks and charming sense of humor puts movie portrayals of the Southie guys like Will Hunting, Billy Costigan and Colin Sullivan to shame. Jack is the real deal.
For the past 26 years – his lifetime – Jackie has lived in South Boston. He is the oldest of four and his parents – John and Donna (Flaherty) - are life-long residents as well. Jackie’s generation of South Boston define a new era for Southie – a time when Southie is now the mecca of cool and every young hip professional in their 20’s flock to live "where it’s at.” Real estate is pricey, new eateries and boutiques are popping up but the rich history is still deeply rooted in the community. And so the new Southie twenty-somethings combine with the local twenty-somethings to create the most energetic neighborhood in the city.
After attending St. Brigid’s School, he went on to graduate from Boston Latin School and then to Vermont to St. Michael’s. Jackie is currently a teacher at the McKinley School in the South End where he teaches 7th and 8th graders with emotional and behavioral problems. It’s an extremely challenging job that he loves. “Understanding the students’ home life and knowing that school is their only stability, my goal is to have a positive impact on their life and to give them a sense of hope,” says Jackie. Jackie is spending his August working at the McKinley at their summer program.
Another passion of Jack’s is baseball. He is a product of South Boston Little League, played for Boston Latin School and then in college for the St. Mike’s Saints. He plays for the Yawkey League in Dorchester - 32 games a season in total – along with other guys from Southie and Dorchester. His position is centerfield.
Coaching is another thing Jack can add to his resume. His belief of being an active part of the community and helping others is proof that Jackie is a great role model. He is a coach for South Boston Little League and South Boston Youth Hockey and also for the Boston Latin’s varsity hockey and baseball teams. “The appeal of living in Southie is the sense of community it has. It’s important to give back and take ownership and get involved,” says Jack.
- The Boston Harbor Yacht Club is his favorite place in Southie
- Product of South Boston Little League, South Boston Youth Soccer, South Boston Hockey, and South Boston Pop Warner. “I was in 8th grade the year Pop Warner started back up in Southie.”
- Sully’s is his favorite place to eat. “I get a hot dog with everything. A cheeseburger with everything. A large fry and a large Mountain Dew. I call it the #1.”
- Favorite spot for coffee – “Depends on the line and where I am. I like Sidewalk, Bailey’s and Doughboy.”
- Attended the Paraclete Academy
- Brother to Michael, Megan and Patrick
- Ran the Boston Marathon this year for the first time with an impressive 3:49.53 time.
- Still friends with the kids he went to kindergarden with. “I still hang around with kids I’ve known since I was 4 years old. That’s one of the great things about Southie.”
- Girlfriend to Brittany Colleran (an adorable and fashionable girl from Dorchester)
Great Southie nickname
Following in the long line of great nicknames of Southie like Bobo, Spuckie, Clinky and the rest, Jackie’s nickname of “Poison” was inherited from his father. “I always thought my Dad’s nickname meant something bad and that no one was telling me the truth about how he got it.” The story goes John Owens was called Poison because he looked liked an older guy called Poison. “That just seemed like a made-up story that you would tell a kid but one day I was down the L and I met the original Poison.” He looked a lot like Jack’s father. “He was just a little shorter and stockier, laughs Jack.
When asked if he plans on living in Southie forever, raising his own family here and continue with family history, Jack answers with a smile, “Absolutely, if I can afford to buy a house here someday.”
Photography by Deborah McCarthy