You are viewing the electronic version of Emerald
the monthly publication of the Shamrock Club of Wisconsin
Welcome New Members
South Central Honors Irishman of the Year and Irish Rose
Milwaukee President's Message
Milwaukee's Easter Rising Mass
Milwaukee Election Nominations
Shamrock Club of Greater LaCrosse Area
Shamrock Club of Rock County
Daley Debutantes Travel to Dublin
LaFarge Lifelong Learning Institute
by Robert J. Higgins
"They really are war heroes!" Kevin O'Halloran said, and when we looked at him like maybe we didn't believe him he almost shouted at us:
"Yes, I mean Pat and Mike, those lovable old guys who have been the subject of all those crazy stories. I just visited them in Ireland and I tell you there are big things coming!"
Kevin is the guy the Shamrock Club sends over to Ireland once in a while to dig into the history and let the Emerald Reflections have the latest scoops.
We were in the Shamrock Club headquarters and Molly O'Sullivan is my assistant, and I sat up and paid close attention to Kevin because this sounded like it would make a big story.
"First I have to lay the background," Kevin told us. "As you know, I went to Ireland and I decided to look up Pat and Mike again. I visited them once before and they still live in adjoining thatched roof cottages on that island off the coast of Cork with their wives, Dierdre and Mavourneen. You have to go over to the island by cable car, you know.
"They are retired now and they aren't doing things like the time they were lost in the Swiss Alps and they were saved by a St. Bernard with a brandy keg on his neck and Mike said, 'It's man's best friend come to save us and a big dog too!'"
"I remember that one," I remarked, "but what's new with old Pat and Mike and what are their full names? Tell us again."
"There is plenty new," Kevin answered, "and as for their names, I admit that I can never get it straight. They are either Pat Murphy and Mike O'Brien or Pat O'Brien and Mike Murphy, but I guess it doesn't make much difference.
"So we talked and the Tullamore Dew flowed freely," Kevin went on. "And they told me about their war exploits. Well, they also reminded me about the time Pat bought a brand new car and he was very proud of it and when Mike wanted to borrow it he hesitated, but he finally gave in to his old friend."
"Wait a minute," I said. "Isn't that the time Mike took the car to his favorite pub and he left the keys in it and it was stolen when he went inside. Didn't he tell Pat he was sorry, but they were sure to get the car back because he had the license number?"
"You're right. That is an old one," Kevin said. "So I had better get into the real stuff they told me. 'You know what happened in Dublin in 1916,' Pat said. 'We had that rising against the British and Mike and I were right there with Plunket, Pearse, Connolly and those other five guys the British shot, but we managed to escape and we went to America.'
"He and Mike went on with this information," Kevin continued. "When they got to the USA the first thing they did was enlist in the American army, and when the Yanks declared war on Germany they were soon in the A.E.F. (American Expeditionary Force) and in 1917 they were on their way to France to fight World War I."
"I certainly didn't know that," Molly and I said together.
Kevin went on, "In France Pat and Mike were soon recognized as first class soldiers and they were put on the staff of General John J. Pershing, the top honcho of the A.E.F. Mike even said that he gave Pershing the idea of telling the French, "Lafayette, we are here!'"
"Wow!" Molly said when she heard that. "Maybe that Mike isn't so dumb after all."
"Mike's pretty sharp when he wants to be, in spite of all those stories," Kevin remarked and then he went on, "Pat and Mike were both wounded in the Battle of the Marne, but they recovered quickly and they were there when the armistice was signed in 1918 at Campiegne.
"Then it was back to the States with the army and they were mustered out in 1919. So what did they do then? They headed across the Atlantic to Ireland, where the Irish War of Independence was just getting started and they reported to Michael Collins in Dublin.
"You have probably heard about the time the British sent in a bunch of undercover agents to catch Collins, but he heard about them before they could do anything and they were quickly eliminated. Who do you think tipped Collins off to those British agents? It was our Pat and Mike!"
All I could think of to reply to that news was, "That's really great Kevin, Tell us more."
"So," he continued, "with Collins' permission Pat and Mike soon headed west for County Cork to join General Tom Barry and his Flying Column. As you know, Barry's unit is said to have ended the War of Independence in Cork when the British were defeated and a bagpipe player named Flor Begley was given much of the credit for scaring the pants off the Tommies with his eerie music while inspiring the Irish to fight harder."
"Hey," Molly interrupted, "wasn't that Flor Begley supposed to have 'piped old Ireland free' at Crossbarry?"
"Yes, but there was more to it," Kevin answered. "What isn't generally known is that Tom Barry had three pipers at Crossbarry and the other two were Pat and Mike!
"They explained to me that Begley was a friend of theirs so they wanted him to get all the credit for Crossbarry, but actually all three 'piped old Ireland free.' They were accomplished pipers.
"Pat and Mike said they were devastated when Mick Collins was assassinated in 1922, but there wasn't much they could do about it so they went back to America and more or less retired until the U.S. got into World War II in 1941.
"They enlisted in the American army again and I think they held a lot back from me due to modesty," Kevin stated, "but they did say that they met General MacArthur during the Pacific campaign and then were transferred to the European theater and they went onto General Eisenhower's staff. They didn't land in France with the troops on D-Day but they went over from England shortly afterward and they joined General Patton's tank columns in the race across France and into Germany.
"And then World War II ended and Pat and Mike had some free time, so they retired again, but then came the Korean War in 1950."
"Were they in that one too?" Molly asked.
"As you probably know, MacArthur was in charge in that war too and he remembered Pat and Mike from the last war and he sent for them to be advisors in Korea, but they didn't get into the actual fighting this time. By the time the Vietnam War and the Gulf War came along, their wives put their feet down and wouldn't hear of them going to war again."
"Wait a minute," I said. "Even if they had wanted to go, weren't Pat and Mike rather old for those wars? They must have even been pretty old in World War II and you said they were still living in County Cork in 1999."
"Yes," Kevin said, smiling. "They are way up there in years, but they say they have stayed in good shape because of a tonic they take. Maybe it is made of crushed shamrocks. They wouldn't tell me, but it certainly works. You'll know that when you see them."
"I bet that tonic is called Tullamore Dew or Jamesons'," Molly told Kevin and then she jerked up and said, "Wait a minute! Did you say we were going to see Pat and Mike? What do you mean?"
"Oh, yes," I haven't told you that part yet," Kevin said. "The U.S. and the Irish are getting together to put on a dinner for Pat and Mike and it's going to be in Milwaukee! That part's no longer hush-hush.
"The banquet will be at the Pfister Hotel and Pat and Mike will be honored for their many patriotic exploits for the two countries."
"But why Milwaukee?" I asked Kevin.
"Well," he said, "Milwaukee is the home of Irish Fest and the Shamrock Club and the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center. Pat and Mike and Dierdre and Mavourneen will fly over from Ireland and they will be Milwaukee's guests for a week."
Molly and I just sat there with our mouths open, we were so surprised, and Kevin continued:
"I haven't told you the best part yet. They're going to award Pat and Mike the Congressional Medal of Honor for all they did and the Irish government will bring its own decorations to give them."
We were so thrilled by then we didn't know what to say and Kevin went on:
"One funny thing," he said, "is that when Mike heard about the Medal of Honor he was disappointed at first. He said, 'I wish they would give us real medals instead of honorary medals,' but they soon set him straight on that.
"Oh yes," he went on, "the American army will be represented by Generals Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell. Ireland is going to send its top military man, General Hugh Fitzpatrick."
I spoke up then and I said, "Okay, this is great news and I want to hear more, but there is one thing you have not told us. Now, what's the date of this grand Pat and Mike banquet?"
"You can figure that out, can't you?" Kevin said. "The date is April 1!"
MILWAUKEE – Gerald and Audrey Cummings; Ciaran Farrell and Clare Ryan; Marlene Griffith; Arlene M. Lynard (reclaim referred by the Goodwins); Ruth and Russell Spielmann (referred by Ed Heck); Mary Ann Stima.
NEW LONDON - Jennifer Allyn; Frank D. Barclay; Bob and Rosemary Eckley; Virginia Fellman; Elaine M. Hoes; Dave and Corina Laughlin; Marty Maris; Dave Sarna; Don and Mary Sarna; Kathleen Sullivan; Steve Thompson; Shiela Wilson.
ROCK COUNTY – Jack and Mary Sergent.
SOUTH CENTRAL – Bob and Barb Burke; Jason Donnaghue.
APRIL CALENDAR OF EVENTS
At our April meeting nominations for officers for our club will be accepted. Virginia Carpenter is the chairperson of the Nominating Committee. If any member of the committee calls you please consider helping the club as we can only be as alive and vibrant if good leadership and active members participate. Call Virginia Carpenter if you are willing to accept an office at 238-4181.
The program for the April meeting will be the Milwaukee Irish Fest Choir. This will be an evening of wonderful Irish music that we all look forward to hearing.
A word about the Raffle Tickets that were mailed to you in February. This is the only fund raiser we will have this year. The tickets are $5 each and the drawing will be May 11, 1999. If you cannot buy or sell the tickets allocated please return them to Eamon O'Brien so they may be reissued.
At our February meeting Carole Kinney presented the second printing of the Irish Settlers of Fitchburg, Wisconsin – 1840-1860, written by their son, Thomas P. Kinney. If you are interested in this book call Carole at (608) 271-1132.
– Margaret Courtney
South Central Shamrock Club honored their Irishman of the Year Patrick L. Terry (pictured left) and Irish Rose Mary Flanagan Gavin (right) on March 13 at the Wintergreen Resort in Lake Delton. The evening included a social hour, banquet, presentation of honors, and entertainment by soprano Julie Quinlan.
MARY FLANAGAN GAVIN
Mary Flanagan Gavin of Reedsburg has been honored as the 1999 Irish Rose by the South Central Shamrock Club. Mary was chosen because of her devotion to faith, family and friends, as well as her dedicated and benevolent service to others in her community.
Raised in Belleville, Wisconsin, she graduated from that high school in 1949. After graduating from Sauk County Normal in 1951, Mary was hired to teach in the Bower School and then joined the Belleville School District.
Mary was married to Jack Gavin on June 28, 1952 and they began their life in Belleville. Jack was employed at the FDIC Office in Madison until joining the Belleville State Bank in 1954. The Gavins moved to Reedsburg in 1956 when Jack joined the Gavin Brothers' Real Estate and Auctioneer Business.
Four children were born to Jack and Mary: Steven, Stephanie, James and Thomas. Today the clan includes children, spouses and grandchildren: Steven and Karen Gavin, Sarah, Emily and Katherine; Stephanie (Gavin) and Ron Seffrood, Kristopher, Edie, Rhea, Zac, and granddaughter Cierra; James and Kim Gavin, Kylan and Shea; Tom and Nanci Gavin, Gabriel and Steven.
Although she has not worked in a professional capacity since starting her family, Mary has volunteered her services to the community. The Reedsburg School District bestowed the Friend of Education Golden Apple Award to her. She has worked with many youth groups, being leader of Boy and Girl Scout troops, a member of Band Parents, and actively involved with the Reedsburg Recreation Department. Mary devoted herself to rearing her children, as well as making the Gavin home a pleasant gathering place for many young friends.
Sacred Heart Church has been Mary's spiritual home and her involvement in so many areas of parish life is legendary. For more than 25 years she has had a major role in the annual Fall Festival. She has been active in the Council of Catholic Women, serving both as president, and on the Madison Diocesan CCW Board. While the local president, she initiated the annual Christmas Bazaar. Over the years Mary has chaired numerous dinners, large and small, put on at Sacred Heart. She has prepared and served many private dinners for bishops following Confirmation ceremonies. Mary has been a member of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas since 1961 and is currently the Youth Chairman.
Using her education background, Mary has been a volunteer religion instructor with the high school Chi Rho classes, and has been involved in many activities in the Catholic School. A member of the committee which founded the Sacred Heart School Endowment Fund, Mary continues to work diligently with the annual calendar sale fund raiser. Mary was instrumental in developing the annual St. Pat's breakfast which is planned and executed by Youth of Sacred Heart (YOSH) and their parents.
Mary has a keen awareness of the needs in the community. She is selfless in serving others, whether it is providing transportation to those who can no longer drive, organizing meals for families who have experienced poor health or lost a loved one, or visiting the residents in nursing homes. Whatever Mary is doing, she brings a sense of joy to all through her generous spirit and good humor. Mary cites her mother and grandmother as powerful influences in her life. They lived their love of family and heritage, as well as setting the example of caring and sharing.
Mary's Irish ancestry is rich with lilting names. In the Flanagan family tree there are branches of Keagans, Burnses and McGuires. Doyles, Mahars, Dunns Carrolls, Rogers, and Welches fill the maternal book.
PATRICK L. "PAT" TERRY
The South Central Shamrock Club is proud to recognize Patrick L. "Pat" Terry as their 1999 Irish Man of the Year. Pat is a Baraboo native, graduating from St. Joseph's Grade School in 1949, and Baraboo High School in 1953. A lifelong farmer in the Town of Baraboo and the Town of Dellona, he is president of Terry Farms, Inc. and presently farms with two of his three sons.
From 1955 to 1963 Pat served in the Army National Guard - A Co., 128th Infantry, seeing two terms of active duty. A Rifle Squad Leader, he was discharged with the rank of Staff Sergeant.
Pat and Charlene Kohlmeyer, of Reedsburg, who were married in 1963 have four children: Joe and Kristine Terry, Jim Terry, Annemarie (Terry) and Dan Schaeefer, and Patrick Terry. Pat says he can never have a bad day because he always gets to see at least one of his three grandchildren every day. Samantha, Patrick and Mary are the delight of his life and make the special Irish twinkle in his eyes even brighter!
A member of St. Joseph's parish his entire life, he has served on the Parish Council, Home and School Association (Past-President), St. Joseph Education Commission, and acted as Bingo Chairman and Team member. Currently, he is on the St. Joseph's Endowment Committee and St. Michael's Cemetary Board.
Pat belongs to the Knights of Columbus and Elks service clubs.
The 1996 Sauk County Dairy Breakfast was hosted by Terry Farms. Pat has worked on the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service Committee and has been a member of the Farm Bureau Board. Currently he is serving on the Town of Baraboo Land Use Committee.
Pat has a very strong Irish heritage. His great great maternal grandparents, Henry and Mary (Eagan) Baggot, immigrated from County Clare, Ireland in the 1840s during the potato famine with their two teenage sons, Martin and Patrick. Their sail boat was stranded in the Doldrums for several weeks, and they ran out of food and water. Mary was buried at sea. The three men continued on and worked on the railroad from New York to Watertown, Wisconsin. Anticipating Kilbourn (now Wisconsin Dells) to be the great shipping spot in the area, the Baggots left the Watertown railroad and settled farmland near Kilbourn in 1852. Patrick Baggot married Hannah Water and had seven children. One of their sons, Jerome, married Maragert Morrisey and had seven children, the eldest being Anna B. Baggot, Pat Terry's mother.
Pat's great paternal grandparents, Patrick E. and Ellen (Tinnell) Terry immigrated from County Waterford, Ireland in the early 1860s. The Terrys settled on a farm in the Town of Delton in 1867 next to the spring on the farm the family calls the "homeplace" today. Patrick E. and Ellen had two sons, John and Edward. Edward married Ann Mulloney and had four children, the youngest son being Patrick Leo. Edward and Leo continued to farm. Patrick L. married Anna Baggot and had six children, the second youngest being Patrick Leo II. Pat's father died of pneumonia when Pat was two years old, his oldest sister was only ten years old, and his youngest sister was born five months after their father's death. Anna, who will be 103 years old in September, 1999, reared Pat, his four sisters and brother by herself. Pat credits his mother with his legacy of faith, family devotion, and pride in his Irish heritage.
Two Very Important Reminders:
Hope you're all renewed and regenerated after our hectic month filled with numerous activities and celebrations. As always, the innumerable dedicated volunteers are most directly responsible for the success of all the events. We remain extremely grateful and indebted to each and all of you.
Make sure you're all in attendance at our meeting on Thursday evening, April 8 when we wrap-up our 1999 "green season" with the big raffle drawing. Although you need not be present to win and we certainly will notify you if you are unable to be there when your name's drawn, we'd love to have you available so that we can recognize you, share in your joy, and celebrate your good fortune. Sincere gratitude, once again, to our terrific volunteer co-chairs of the Raffle, Dick and Rosemary Quinlan.
The meeting, as usual begins at 7 p.m. at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center. Another very good reason to be in attendance is for a number of you to accept nomination to a position on our Board of Directors for 1999-2000. This Board-to-be will take us into the new millennium. This will be the second, and last, opportunity to get additional names on the ballot. The election itself will be conducted at our regular meeting on May 6. Nominations from March were:
President: Brian Witt
You obviously have noted that there remain a number of openings without nominees. Therefore, we absolutely must have more accepted nominations, from the floor, at our April 8 meeting. Please step forward to make a nomination or to accept such a nomination. Also, a personal plea to those who were nominated at the March meeting, and declined. Please reconsider and let another member know that you will now accept nomination. Your Club needs you to ensure our proud tradition of excellence. The more nominees, the better. We truly benefit from having a number of willing members making themselves available to serve. Ideally, and hopefully, we will have, at a minimum, two individuals for each open position.
Reminder: Nominees must be present and accept nomination, must be a current member in good standing, and, all open positions are one-year terms with the exception of the Trustee slot which is a three-year term.
Congratulations to Tom Wiseman. The President of the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center Board of Directors has recently been honored by being named 1999 "Irishman of the Year" by the Neville-Dunn American Legion Post. Tom is also a very valued member of our Shamrock Club. He is, most definitely, very deserving of this honor. While we have endlessly benefited from his dedication and tireless efforts for many years, we can all also share in the pride associated with his recognition by another distinguished organization.
– Dale Brenon
April 4, 1999 • 9:30 a.m.
Irish Cultural and Heritage Center
Father Michael Maher, celebrant
Nominations for the various board positions of the Milwaukee chapter will again be accepted at the April general meeting. All positions are open for election. You must be present at the meeting to accept nomination. Elections will take place at the May 6, 1999 meeting at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center.
Saturday, March 6 was the third anniversary of our "Irishman of the Year" luncheon and city tour. This year's group is pictured in front of Dave McKenzie's beautiful motor home (complete with designated driver) which carried them around the town. They are (standing) Dave McKenzie, Rick Privisky, Don Venner (1999), Pat Stephens, Jim Finn, Fred Smith, Art Gale, and (kneeling), Kevin Griffin and Don Walsh. Ed Sullivan joined them later. They represent half of the Club's surviving Irishmen of the Year. This picture was taken after the group left an establishment that offered raffle prizes. It is to be noted that Jim and Fred are holding hams and Don is holding a turkey. Would you call that the "Luck O The Irish?"
We held our Saint Patrick's Day Banquet on Saturday, March 13, at which our 1999 Irishman Don Venner and Irish Rose Dorina Lukins were formally introduced and honored.
Sunday, March 14th, found us holding a fund raiser at the Barnes and Noble Book Store.
On March 17th, our Shamrock Players visited and entertained at four schools, three nursing homes, the Blarney Party radio show hosted by Ed and Sally Sullivan at the Quillan Store in the Village, and the Mayor's offices in LaCrosse and Onalaska paying our respects to John O'Medinger and Clarence McStelner. How was that for a good month?
We will hold a General Meeting at Forest Hills on Thursday, April 8, at 7 p.m. Think spring!
– Fred Smith
The Shamrock Club of Rock County was honored to have Celia Farran and her brother Brian Grinwald entertain at the February meeting. Celia, a Wisconsin native, is a professional actress and singer in New York City. She is currently back in the mid west starring in the First Stage's production of The Irish Cord in Milwaukee. The Irish Cord tells the story of a 17 year old American teenager name Aine who is struggling to come to terms with her father's death in a Belfast explosion. With the help of Ruari, Aine is able to understand the history of the Irish troubles, and finally comes to terms with what happened in Belfast and is able to forgive and let go of the pain. We weren't able to attend the public performance of The Irish Cord at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center in Milwaukee, but any production that can explain the "troubles" in Ireland would be worth seeing. The play is also being offered to schools in the southeastern parts of Wisconsin as part of a Multicultural School Assembly Tour. For more information you can call (414) 273-2314 #229. Celia and her brother entertained us with a wonderful blend of Irish music and poetic narratives. Many of the lovely songs were ones that none of us had heard before.
Our annual St. Patrick's Day parade in downtown Beloit had Congressman Paul Ryan for Grand Marshal. The Janesville native has been very popular and very much in demand in Washington as a freshman in the U.S. Congress, so we feel very honored that he took time off to spend the day with us.
Being honored as Irishman and Irish Rose of the Year are Jane and Kevin Vilbrandt. Jane and her son Kevin have been members for nine years. Twenty year old Kevin has taken an active part in the club's activities since the very beginning. He and his pet rabbit "Thumper" dressed up in their Irish costumes and participated in many of the local parades. At the age of 11 he started writing to a nine year old girl from Co. Cork. Although he hasn't been able to visit Ireland yet, his mother Jane has visited the girl and her family several times. When the club participated in an international cultural event at Beloit Memorial High School, Kevin helped put together the display representing Ireland. He was also a recipient of one of the club's scholar- ships. Jane has helped plan programs for the club, including sharing memories of her own trips to Ireland, arranged bus trips to see various Irish performers, participated in parades, and served as membership chairman, secretary, and is president-elect for the coming year.
We hope everyone had a safe and very enjoyable St. Patrick's Day.
– Jane Vilbrandt, Scribe
The Shamrock Club of Lafayette County has selected Eileen Wilhelmson and Bev Mulcahey as our Irish Roses for 1999. Congratulations Eileen and Bev! (Watch for pictures and article in next month's Emerald Reflections.)
We had a great Christmas Party at the Darlington Country Club which included a brunch, games, raffle and prizes.
March was busy with several events. We participated in the parade in Savanna, Illinois on the 13th and attended Mass at Holy Rosary Catholic Church on the 14th. A brunch followed mass at The Country Club.
On St. Patrick's Day our parade began at 5 p.m. on Main Street. As part of the celebrations we held a short ceremony and raffle drawing in front of the courthouse. Each year we sponsor a St. Patrick's Raffle to help fund our scholarships. Dennis Murphy served as Raffle Chairperson. Thanks, Murph and to all the members who sold tickets.
Several members decorated Murph's furniture windows for St. Patrick's Day.
We contributed money to the Shullsburg Post Prom Party and the Darlington Music Club (for students to participate in the Showcase Musical Festival at Gatlinburg / Pigeon Forge, Tennessee). Pledges were also made to the Darlington Main Street Revitalization program and we are co-sponsoring a Badger State Girl Student.
A fun filled summer is planned with club members participating in area parades and events with our various floats and the young Irish dancers appearing in the parades. The dancers are a real crowd pleaser. Thank you, dancers, you are great!
– Donna Douglas
The Daley Debutantes Baton and Drum Corps had a special banner made for its appearance in the 1999 Dublin, Ireland, St. Patrick's Day Parade. The Daley sisters who run the corps are shown with the banner. Left to right are Marcy Daley Blaufuss, Sherry Daley Jung and Patti Daley Wertsching. Jenny Carstens, the corps' leprechaun and her sister Mellissa, a twirler are also pictured.
(photo by Robert J. Higgins)
Mondays, May 17-June 21
(MILW.) Lafarge Lifelong Learning Institute, (main campus, 1501 S. Layton Blvd., Milwaukee) will be conducting a course entitled The Impact of the Mid 19th Century Irish Immmigration on the Political and Social Life of the Americas. The impact of Irish immigration as an example of the influence that small and highly cohesive nations can exert will be covered, as well as the early development of the Irish out of the migrations of the Celts, Normans, Saxons and Vikings.
Tuition is $25. To register, call 383-2550. Or resister in person during the main campus open house, April 13 and 14, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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