Time to Remember…

Memorial Day has long been a special day to the residents of Clontarf.  Click here to read my post from last year about how Clontarf celebrates the day.

I accompanied my cousin Cathy to Benson early last week so she could present a scholarship at Benson High School in memory of her mother Dody Fuchs Abbott.  Cathy’s family established this scholarship seven years ago following her mother’s passing.  Dody grew up in Benson and graduated from BHS in 1955.  Shortly after graduation Dody made her way to California, where she found a job, got married, and raised a family.  Dody never forgot her Benson roots, and she and her family returned to Minnesota every summer, spending time with relatives in the Twin Cities and Benson.  Cathy has wonderful memories of the time she spent in Benson with her grandmother Mary McMahon Fuchs.

Mary McMahon 1905

Mary McMahon Fuchs was my grandmother Agnes McMahon Regan’s  older  sister.  Despite an eight year age difference, my grandma said she and Mary were “great pals.”  Mary was the first child born to Thomas and Mary (Foley) McMahon in 1905.  Thomas and Mary grew up about a mile from one another in Tara Township and were married in 1904 at Clontarf’s St. Malachy Catholic Church.

On Monday Cathy and I paid our respects to three of the McMahon girls: Mary and Rose are buried in Benson at the Catholic cemetery, and my grandma Agnes is in Clontarf.  In Clontarf we also visited the grave sites of McMahon and Foley relatives.  Just yesterday I filled in the gap and visited Thomas and Mary McMahon who are buried in St. Anthony’s Cemetery in Columbia Heights, MN.

It was a quick trip – Cathy and I spent less than thirty hours in the area, yet I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to share this time with Cathy, attend the BHS awards ceremony, and exchange family memories.  I realized how important it is to get together with family and talk about those who are no longer with us.  When we actively remember our loved ones, whether by laughing at a family joke, telling an old story, or reflecting on difficult times, we are able to keep their spirits alive in our hearts.  This weekend may be a good time to pull out those old photographs, grab a cousin or a sibling and swap memories of your parents or grandparents.

I want to reprint the following list of service members who are buried in the Clontarf cemetery.  And for those of you who have other relatives buried there and have not been to visit, you will be pleased to know that the cemetery is in great shape and beautifully cared for.

Mexican War: William Schinnick

Civil War: John F. Boyd, John Connolly, S.H. Connor, Michael Donovan, Felix Duffy, Frank McMahon, Martin Mears

Spanish-American War: Maurice Cain

World War I: Frank Ascheman, John Chamberlain, Lawrence Chamberlain, Leon Chamberlain, C.C. Chevalier, Eddie Chevalier, Elmer Eve, Leo Eve, Joseph McDermott, Elliott Nelson, Roy Perrizo, John Reardon, James Reynolds, Cecil Robertson, Verdie Smith, Silas Tillotson

World War II: Ed Boutain, Joseph D. Christopherson, Dewey Eve, Bernard Fennell, James Kent, George Leslie, John McCarthy, Patrick E. McCarthy, John S. Nelson, Sylvester Reardon, Howard Regan, Donald Reynolds, Cecil Robertson, Chet Schirmer, Joseph Tillotson

Korean War: Elmer Brown, Lawrence Kepner, LaVern Robertson

(from p. 38 of Clontarf: A commemorative History, 1978)

Note: This list was compiled in 1978 and is therefore missing veterans who passed away and/or served after this date.

McMahon family headstone -- Clontarf, MN

I have been thinking about a project, and let me know if anyone is interested in participating…I thought it would be great to compile photographs of the grave markers at Clontarf cemetery.  We could begin by compiling photos that have already been taken and then go about taking pictures of the rest.  I have some photos of some markers, and I believe Anne does as well.  This could then be a great resource for individuals conducting genealogy research.  Any thoughts????

Enjoy your Memorial Day!


Filed under Clontarf

9 responses to “Time to Remember…

  1. Jim Egeland

    Hi Aine,
    Thank you for the post about your family. As a veteran, I want to thank you for posting the names of veterans buried in Clontarf. As for taking pictures of the gravestones in Clontarf (Saint Malachy Cemetery), great idea but this was done in April by Bev Boyer and posted on findagrave.com.
    I recently found out about the website and it is a great aid for people searching for relatives. This webite lists pictures of 118 gravestones in the cemetery. People are able take over “management” of the “memorial” page listing a person in the cemetery. You can add pictures and write a memorial column on the page, and add “virtual flowers”. I will do this today for my great grandmother Jane Irene Kenna Shea. Have a “memoral” day. Jim Egeland

    • Bev Boyer

      I recently added several memorials to St. Malachy Cemetery at Clontarf to Find a Grave. But there are many more to do. I would be glad to send you photos for a local project, if you care for them.
      I visited this cemetery because of a photo request. Then the project snowballed, as I connected familes.
      Now I am interested in learning more about the Indian memorial resurrected at this cemetery for the 14 students who died between 1878-1898 while attending St. Paul Diocese Industrial School of Clontarf.

      • I am so pleased about this, Bev! I will read up on your site about how I can contribute information on individuals buried in the cemetery. I know very little about the Industrial School, but I will take a look and see if what I can find. Thanks again for your work, and I will definitely be in touch! I added a link to findagrave.com to the blog.


      • Mary Jo

        I just found my way here,…this is a very interesting site! I am wondering about the Indian memorial as well. Were you able to find more information?

  2. Jim Egeland

    Does anyone in the area have a list of all of the people buried in Saint Malachy Cemetery? Adding that list to the Saint Malachy Cemetery website on findagrave.com would be a great place to start. I know that Jane Irene Howard Kenna is also buried in the cemetery.

    • Thanks for the tip, Jim. I am glad someone else has started this project – it will be fun to add to it! I believe the caretaker of the cemetery maintains a listing of who is buried there. I will be in Clontarf later in June and will see what I can find out. Some things are easier to do in person! Hope you are well. Did you get the t-shirt?


  3. Anne Schirmer

    I was surprised to see the findagrave link last week after Memorial Day! I told others at the coffee table the next morning. No one knew Bev Boyer, but she did a nice job of starting this for us. I saw the obits on the recently deceased, but not from long, long ago, so I see it was not a completed project… Thanks, Bev, for your interest & talent. Wish I could have met you…

  4. Margo Ascheman Benson , MN

    Help me contact the family of this write up about McMahon person… I think I went to Benson High school with this family. I not know that this Fuches family was tied to McMahon family….. Margo McGeary Ascheman

    • Margo — These are the McMahons I am related to…Mary McMahon Fuchs was my grandma’s sister. Still have been unable to find a connection between your McMahons and my McMahons. I will take another look at that, though. Hope you are staying cool this summer! — Aine

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