By Paul Burton

STOUGHTON (CBS) — If you happened to live in or around the Stoughton area, every year around this time a Christmas tradition kicks off.

“I’ve been down here when I was a kid, 14 years old,” Bryan Phillips said.

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Joe Brady Christmas Lot in Stoughton is now back open and in full swing, but one major part is missing: Joe Brady himself.

Unfortunately, this Christmas story does not have a happy ending. The 71-year-old was killed last year when he was hit by a car while walking across Park Street to get to his lot.

Everybody knows Joe Brady.

“He’s a good man. Honestly, just one of the nicest guys you met in your life,” Phillips said.

Joe Brady. (WBZ-TV)

Joe Brady. (WBZ-TV)

For 45 years, Joe operated his Christmas tree lot in Stoughton. Families would come from all over just like they do today with their kids all excited.

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“It’s very sad. I carry him around my neck. I could not protect him that night,” his widow Linda Brady said.

Though her husband his gone, his legacy and tradition is in full swing.

“He loved this. He waited all year for this and now he’s watching from up there,” Linda said.

This year Joe Brady's Christmas tree lot is in his memory. (WBZ-TV)

This year Joe Brady’s Christmas tree lot is in his memory. (WBZ-TV)

Linda says she changed the lot’s location to Route 138 at Mario’s Roofing this year because the old lot brings back too many painful memories.

“I’m glad it’s in Joe’s memory. Joe loved to see the trees. You tear up but I have to keep fighting it. He left us too soon,” Linda said.

Now Joe’s memory will live on and shine bright just like the trees he sold for 45 years.

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“I say a prayer every night. It’s hard. It’s really hard to be without him but I will try,” Linda said.

Paul Burton