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 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.
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!