The Irish Community has lost several of its local community members recently. In one five day stretch your reporter attended a funeral a day. That stretch started with our good friend and a greatly respected journalist, Nick Coleman. Nick wrote about The Troubles in Northern Ireland several years ago when he was a columnist at The Pioneer Press newspaper in St. Paul. He and wife Laura’s three sons are currently participants at the Center of Irish Music which the family was huge supporter of. This reporter will miss my conversations with Nick about many things of mutual interest in Ireland and here in the States.
The second day of funerals was for Dennis McGrath, who wrote the column “Micks” in The Irish Gazette. Dennis would profile a subject in the column who was of Irish descent. Dennis had spent his life as a respected public relations leader and in that capacity represented international companies across the globe. He was a founder of the Public Relations Firm, Mona Meyer and McGrath that was sold in recent years to another giant public relations firm. Dennis was very proud of his Irish heritage and also his alma mater, The University of Minnesota. He and I spend many a cold day in the stands watching Gopher football games or at Williams arena watching Gopher basketball.
The third funeral was an Irish relative who was a baseball player that worthy of esteem growing up in St. Paul, Mark Finley. Mark lead a quiet life but had an acute observation skill of the world which made for hours of conversation between us.
The fourth day was the funeral of Bill Hanley who along with his wife Sheila Hanley owned the “Dublin Walk Irish Gift Shop” in the Minneapolis area. Bill had a law practice and was a skillful litigator in the law field. He also loved everything Irish.
The fifth day of mourning was for an acquired cousin by marriage, Sister Rosanne Fox, who was an exceptional woman and was selected by the St. Paul St. Patrick’s Association as The Distinguished woman one year. She was the outreach director at St. Olaf’s Catholic Church in downtown Minneapolis where she worked miracles helping the underrepresented people in our population.
Another loss to the Irish community was the death of Tom (Inky) Goulding who was a native of Waterford where he was known for his ability to play soccer in the European soccer world. In the Twin Cities Tom was known as the man who started The Irish Well pub that was where the Menards store now stands on University and Prior in St. Paul. His nickname in his native Waterford was “Inky” because after a game the sports writers would seek him out because they knew he was always good for a lively quote about the game. And if they didn’t come to him he would seek them out which caused his teammates to rename him “Inky”.
Another leader in the Irish community was Patricia (Pat) Richardson who was known as a super volunteer at the Irish Fair of Minnesota and also other citywide events like the Winter Carnival. Pat could always be counted on helping swell the ranks of volunteers at the Irish Fair with her friends and relatives. She will be dearly missed for her volunteerism and ready smile and Irish sense of humor.