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Jump To:   Family Background   Youth   Transitions & California

A Banker & A Woodsman   The Bachelor   Marriage & Kids   Conclusion  


This memoir of our father is done as an addition to other work on the family histories, but especially for the generation of Pat McAnany's grandchildren who never had a chance to know him. It is our view of a man who died way too early for even his children to know  him well. It will piece together details his children remember and things we learned from others, especially older cousins, who knew him longer than we did, as well as from documents we've come across over the years.


It starts with a bit of history leading up to Dad's birth in Shawnee, Kansas, and then tells his story chronologically from his early days to his death on May 26, 1943. He lies buried in St. Joseph's Cemetery not more than a mile from where he was born 59 years before.



The Irish Journey: From the "Old Sod" to Sod Busting in America


Dad's family was Irish on both sides. The McAnanys were from an old church- related family in County Monaghan in Ulster. The Mansfields were descendants from Norman Irish stock in County Tipperary in Munster in the Southwest. Both families were flotsam in the wake of the Great Hunger, the Irish potato famine of 1845-51. The McAnanys came in three groups: 1849 (Ann McAnany Murphy and her husband, Catherine, Nicholas, Mary and Patrick McAnany, and Michael and Dennis Murphy); 1850 (Rose and Philip) and 1851 (Ann). The Mansfields seem to have come in 1847. Both families landed in New York City, along with hundreds of thousands of their fellow Irish.


Richard Mansfield married


The McAnanys traveled under the name Murphy when the main party of eight landed on May 2, 1849 in New York. That was because Ann Jennings McAnany had remarried to John Murphy after Dad's Grandfather, Philip McAnany, died in Inniskeen about 1843.  The Murphy-McAnanys set out for the west just months after Richard and Mary Mansfield went west themselves. Their route was undoubtedly by boat up the Hudson to Albany, across the Erie Canal to Buffalo, on Lake Erie, then by boat to Chicago and by barge down the Illinois-Michigan Canal to Peru, Illinois where they went north to Amboy in Lee County by ox cart. The Murphys bought a farm west of town and settled down to sod busting.


Dad's father Patrick left home and wandered the country between about 1855 and 1861 when he joined the Union Army. He spent the last years before the Civil War in Johnson County where the Native American Shawnee tribe were located, and worked for David Daugherty who was married to a Shawnee woman.  He knew the Shawnee language well and later served as an interpreter on occasion. After service in the War, first as an infantryman (wounded at Wilson's Creek in 1861) and then with the Military Telegraph Service, he returned to Kansas City where he met and married Helen Mansfield on October 18, 1869.


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Patrick McAnany & Helen Masfield McAnany in 1919




Life in the Country: In The Shadow of the Shawnee


Dad's family of eleven children was divided between the City Kids and the Country Kids. The first five were born in Kansas City, Missouri: Edwin (1871); Philip (1872); Paul (1875); Mary (1877-1880); and May (1880). The last six in Shawnee, Kansas: Rose (1881); Richard (1882); Pat  (1884); Helen (1886); George (1888); and Robert (1894). Granddad bought 137 acres and an old house in Shawnee in June, 1877 with a friend James Fincane. The land and house belonged to Frederick Chouteau, the old St. Louis fur trader who worked the Kansas area. He had married a Shawnee Indian woman, daughter of the prominent chief Blue Jacket. The farm was known as Blue Jacket's farm. The house came to be called "the Groves" when the McAnanys occupied it. The McAnanys moved to the country about 1880. There is an old picture showing the family gathered on the front porches, upper and lower, about this date, with Ed on horseback and Rose being held as a baby in arms by a servant.


The Groves in about 1880



The Groves included several Shawnee tribal sites that would have reminded grandfather of his days with the Indians: the Council House; the Spring; and a buffalo wallow. Most of the 137 acres were farmed, but a virgin forest of walnuts, oaks and hickories occupied the eastern 30 acres, containing the spring. Grandfather continued to work in the city after his move to Shawnee, but by this time he was running a grocery business under the title of McLean and McAnany in Kansas City, Kansas. He and his sons worked the ground as farmers from 1880 until his death in 1920. Uncle Bob farmed it after that until the land was developed into McAnany Estates in the 1950s and 1960s.


The town of Shawnee was already something of a border area--we call them suburbs today--when Dad was growing up. His father was an example of a man who worked in the city but preferred the country to live. He drove a buggy, but there were interurban streetcars by the early part of the new century, as well as automobiles a decade later. If you stand on the rise just east of Uncle Bob's house on Nieman and old Military Road (Keating Drive), you can see the tall buildings of Kansas City, Missouri in the distance (12 miles). Thus, the McAnanys, including Dad, grew up with feet in both the world of the city and the country. But the immediate surroundings of the Groves were redolent with its Native American past.


Besides his Indian connections, Grandfather met and knew many of the famous men who moved west through Westport Landing, as Kansas City was known in its early days. Not doubt the children were familiar with the history their father helped to shape from the pre War days down through the creation of the modern Kansas Cities. Dad was particularly influenced by this history as we see from his later love of western fiction, his fondness of the out-of-doors, and his orientation to the West generally.


Dad's brothers and sisters were educated at St. Joseph' school in Shawnee and both Uncle Ed and the younger ones were sent to Atchison, Kansas for further training by the Benedictine fathers and sisters at St. Benedict's and the Mount (Mt. St. Scholastica's). Dad would have attended St. Benedict's around the years 1896-1904. The classes were very roughly divided between the younger boys who were in grade school and the older students who were in "college." That term was applied to what we call high school today, but about the time Dad was there, it began to change to include college courses in today's sense of the term. There were two college curricula, the classica,l which took four or five years, and the commercial, which took three to four. Since St. Benedict's was also a seminary that educated both aspirants to the Benedictine Order as well as some diocesan clergy, the classical courses of modern language (German), Latin, Greek and philosophy were stressed. Most of the boarding students took the classical course since it qualified them for professional schools, such as law and medicine.


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St. Benedict's, Atchison, KS in about 1890


Dad would have been among about 160 students, most boarding in the one building. To give you a sense of the level of comfort, an old Irish brother remarked, as a final triumph in his long life at St. Benedict's, that in 1907 he had not seen a single bed bug in the student dorms. The regimen was stiff: arise at 5:30; wash and go to Mass and morning prayer; 7-12 devoted to classes;12-1:30 dinner and recreation; 1:30-4 study and more classes; 4-5 free time; 5-6 study; 6-7:30 supper and recreation; 7:30-8:30 study; night prayers and to bed by nine. While this schedule was relaxed a bit by Dad's time at the College, it was still the basic routine.


Visitors were not encouraged for most of the year; and vacations during the school year were short.  The monks spoke German for the most part, though by the time Dad got there, English was prevailing. Uncle Ed had graduated and Dad was followed by Nell (at the Mount) and George and Robert. Nell probably went early, in grade school, so Dad may have gone earlier as well. Being the oldest of the four younger McAnanys in Atchison, Dad no doubt was the contact between the family and the schools. He probably had some of his Sweeney cousins from the Mansfield side at Atchison about the same time.


Dad, like others of his time, was impressed with the religious atmosphere of the College. He had remarked, according to Mom, that if she died and the children were taken care of, he would become a Benedictine brother (was he joking?). His several prayer books from this time indicate a strong faith that he carried through the rest of his life. The Benedictines competed with other Catholic colleges for students from the very beginning. The Jesuits were the nearest and strongest competitors with colleges at St. Mary's, Kansas, Omaha, and Kansas City. The next generation of  McAnany men tended to forsake the Benedictines for the Jesuits. The women stayed with the Benedictine sisters and the Mount through the grandchildren.



Transition 1905-1910: Wanderings and the California Idyll


Dad probably left St. Benedict's no later than 1904-05, perhaps earlier. He would have had time to complete five or six years beyond elementary school. He may have been slowed down by a fever, then identified as malaria but probably rheumatic, which laid him up for three months at age 11 in 1895. It was the later cause of his chronic heart trouble. His mother inquired about his health often in her letters to him, especially about cold weather and its effects. Between his leaving college and starting to work at the Union Mortgage and Investment Company in about 1910, he appeared to reflect the usual hesitant transition from school to occupation. From his letters of this period, he tried his hand at "business" in various capacities. Several letters from Oklahoma City in early 1907 indicate he was in "collections and sales." But as frequently, he was looking for work and probably did all sorts of "temp work" (as we would call it now), whether for businesses or on farms (which he knew well from his life at the Groves). In May of 1907 he was in Milford, Nebraska and intending to go to Denver.  The next letter we have is written on Christmas Eve of that year from Raymond, California. This moving from job to job may be best explained by panic 1907 when the economy was a shambles.


How and when he went to California, we don't know for sure. But his brother Edwin married Louise Jameson in Kansas City on October 19, 1907. We believe Dad was there and only after left for California. Did he "ride the rails" to the Golden State? Probably, as we heard such stories as children from Dad. The Raymond work had Dad cooking for the lumberjacks up in the mountains just 40 miles south of Yosemite. The town itself is in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and was then being used as the railhead for visitors to Yosemite. They would stay overnight and then start out by wagons for the Park. The timbering was further up into the mountains but the logs were brought down into the town for shipping.  By February 21 the economic slump had closed many lumber mills and Dad found himself--again--without work.


The next we hear from him is October 14, 1908 and he is back timbering, this time at Pino Grande in the high Sierras, forty miles west and slightly south of Lake Tahoe. The lumber mill rough cut the timber and then shipped it by narrow gauge rails to the North Fork of the American River where it was loaded onto a cable gondola for passage to the other side, 1250 feet above the canyon floor.  Pictures show Dad as a mechanic on the narrow gauge railroad that hauled felled trees from various sites to the Pino Grande mill and then the cut lumber from the mill to the cable crossing. Dad tells a story about working at a job throwing wooden blocks behind the wheels of a locomotive which backed onto a construction site over a very deep canyon. He quit after one day! When Pat and Char viewed this area in summer 1997, they can attest to the heights and drops in the area.


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Patrick Damien McAnany (fourth from left) working on logging train near Pino Grande, CA in 1908



Dad did lots of other kinds of work in California, but lumbering seems to have been his aspiration. He remarks on December 16, 1908 that he is back at Davis awaiting another lumbering job. He also mentions working on the "State Farm." This most probably was the newly organized agricultural experimental farm connected to the new state college at Davis. Nell mentions in another letter that Dad had worked in the San Joaquin Valley--which would imply farming in the vegetable rich Central Valley closer to Los Angeles. Whether Dad ever got as far south as L.A., we don't know. But if he did, he could well have looked up his McAnany cousins, children of the recently dead (1906) Uncle Phil McAnany. 


Certainly by 1910 he had returned to Shawnee. He returned because his brother Ed had "called him home," as was later recounted to us. It was at this point that Dad gave up the out-of-doors work that seemed to have attracted him to California and began his life behind a desk for the next thirty five years.



Occupation: Banker; Aspiration: Woodsman


Dad returned to a job at the newly created Rosedale Bank, begun by his brother Ed and other investors. Handling money was what Dad did for the rest of his life. It was at times as much stress as that one-day California job of throwing wood chucks behind the wheels of the locomotive. By sometime in 1910 he was at work in the office where he would spend the rest of his life: the Union Mortgage and Investment Company in Kansas City, Kansas, another creation of Ed and his business associates. This picture shows the three employees who worked at the Union for many years: Dad, Uncle Bob and Miss _______.  Starched white shirts, ties, vests and jackets were the order of the day. In summer you could remove your coat for relief, but only if a client wasn't in the office to be served.


Dad first served as secretary and then as president and general money manager. He was a minority shareholder (15%). The money was lent to people wanting to buy their own homes at a time when mortgages were difficult to get. The Union also lent money on farm and commercial property. Nearly all of this was located in either Wyandotte or Johnson Counties, Kansas. The Office was in the Commercial National Bank Building at 5th and Minnesota in Kansas City, Kansas.  As I recall, the Union paid 6% on investments. Of course that might have been very different during the Great Depression when mortgages went unpaid. That was a tough time for both the Union and Dad, though, as I recall, most properties were eventually paid off. I think there were a few foreclosures, maybe only on commercial property. I know that Sievers Farm in Lenexa came back to the Union sometime in the late '30s or early '40s. It was about 180 acres on both sides of old Highway 50 and was in sad repair when Uncle Bob and Louie began to farm it. There were bull snakes six feet long in the weeds turned up by the plow.


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Patrick D. McAnany at work in the Union Mortgage in 1920's


Dad spent every weekday in the office, but on weekends he would revert to his out doors life. His golfing was the most refined of the outdoors sports. He was a member at the old Shawnee Country Club that ran along Turkey Creek out on old Highway 10 towards Zarah early on (maybe the Teens and '20s). After he married, he joined Milburn CC near the intersection of 10 and 69 in what is now Overland Park. He also played as a member at Quivira.


But an equal love was for fishing and hunting. Don Ellis, an insurance man in KCK was his fishing partner. They fished Quivira, but also Tanecomo (Rockaway Beach) and other lakes and streams. Dad fished several times in Colorado over summer vacations. We remember the cabin in the Gunnison Canyon in 1937. His hunting was mostly confined to quail, ducks, geese and a few rabbits, though he owned several high powered (.306) rifles one with a scope for "mountain goats". He never realized his trip back to the West for this last quarry, though he did practice his marksmanship with these heavy calibers at Uncle Gov Major's farm with his nephew, Ed McAnany who had smithed these guns for Dad. I remember eating duck with the buckshot cooked in. 


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Patrick D. McAnany with his son Richard in about 1938


The other piece of out doors life that Dad indulged in was his keeping and milking of a cow across Stanton Street (now Nieman Road). We owned several cows during the years 1927 to the late 30s when the cow went out to Uncle Gov's farm. Dad never quite gave up his farming roots.



The Life of a Bachelor: His Mother's Son 1910-1922


Dad did not marry until February 28, 1922. He was at that time just past his 38th birthday and, one would think, a baptized, if not confirmed, bachelor. But like many Irish relatives before him--and since--he was just slow to the altar rather than shunning it. Dad was the smallest of the McAnany sons--only 5'8", but he was also the handsomest. His dark good looks and polished manners made him eligible among the young, and not so young, ladies of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties.  The irony was he chose to marry a not-so-young lady from Jackson County, Missouri when he did take the step.


What were the reasons Dad delayed far beyond even his reluctant brothers to marry? One thing was he was devoted to his mother and appeared not at all to mind being the son left to carry on after most others had married. To compare their marrying ages: Edwin was 36 (1907); Phil 33 (1905); Paul  28 (1903) and 44 (1919); George  27 (1916); and Robert  23 (1917).   Mom always indicated that there was a special devotion between Dad and his Mom, and because she married into that relationship and lived with it for fifteen years, she probably knew what she was talking about. It also played off of a relationship between Uncle Ed and Dad in which the younger brother took up where the older left off.  In fact they served as co-executors for Grandmothers estate, probated in July 1937.


Ed left the farm in 1907. Phil probably left much earlier as he moved to Kansas City, Chicago and then Boston, starting in the 1890s. Paul left earlier than his marriage in 1903 as he was already railroading for some years by then.  May left by the time of her marriage, at least by 1910. Nell married in 1912, George in 1916, and Robert in 1917. Grandfather died in 1920. This left Dad as the basic decision maker for Grandma and Aunt Rose. Probably Uncle Ed and Dad recommended that Grandma sell the Groves (but not the farm) to Aunt Nell and Uncle Wood Marshall in 1921.  Dad , Grandma and Aunt Rose then moved to an apartment in Kansas City, Kansas, close to both work at the Union and to Uncle Ed's office and home.


Dad also played congenial uncle to a growing number of nieces and nephews. Starting with Winnie in 1910 and continuing through another twelve Kansas City grandchildren, Dad had lots of opportunities to play the bachelor uncle. Patricia Marshall tells stories of how they all loved Uncle Pat to drive them to various places because he was good to kids.


Another feature of Dad's preference for staying single was his outdoors activities and his close male friends. One of the closest of these was Chris Nieman who became a boon companion. "Uncle" Nieman, as we kids called him, was the local bank president--chosen by Uncle Ed, no doubt, who helped start the Shawnee State Bank. Chris lived with the McAnanys at the "Groves" until he married shortly before Dad, and at an equally late age. No one ever suggested that Dad was harboring a vocation to the Benedictines, for as Mom always said,  Dad had lots of girl friends. One particular one that Mom may have resented even after marriage was the beautiful cousin from Chicago, May Callahan Ryan.


Aunt Rose, who never married, also became a feature in Dad's life. They were close friends all their lives, despite personalities that seemed quite opposite.  We have many letters of his to "Rosie" over the years offering advice as well as news. After he married, he moved in just upstairs from Rose and Grandmother. Our mother never appeared to resent this closeness between mother, sister and son.



Marriage, Kids and Back to the Country, 1922-1943


Dad met Mom through Uncle Ed's marriage to Louise Jameson. Even though Its doubtful that Mom knew Dad from the wedding date in 1907, she knew of his family quite early after the marriage. Louise Jameson was a Desloge and therefore some sort of cousin to the Guignons. After Ed and Louise settled down and shared a close friendship with another St. Louis born woman, Genevieve Moore, the Guignons began seeing something of the McAnanys at social gatherings. When Dad and Mom first met, there isn't a clue, but somewhere between 1907 and the early 1920s. It may have been a function of Dad's moving to KCK in 1921. This would have made him more socially accessible to Kansas City, Missouri. Our understanding was that their courtship was not a prolonged one, so maybe it occurred during 1921.


It might be well here to encapsulate Mom's story so the reader can catch the rhythm of these two late-bloomers. Julia Rose Guignon was born in St. Louis (Normandy) on January 3, 1890, the third of eight children. Her mother was from a wealthy St. Louis family, the Miltenbergers, and her father had made a small fortune in real estate in the late 1880s. Mom's family lived in a subdivision in Normandy that her father (Emile S. Guignon) had developed for well-to-do St. Louisans wanting to live in the wooded suburbs. That idyllic life ended rather abruptly with the panic of 1893 in which Granddad lost his holdings and incurred considerable debt.  They lived on in St. Louis for another six years, with Granddad trying to recoup his real estate career. They moved to KCMo in about 1899 and bought a house on the hill overlooking the yet-to-be-built Union Station. The Liberty Memorial now stands on the site. They were poor but terribly proud as they grew up in a town Grandmother always considered "the frontier."  Grandfather Guignon began his own real estate firm and had a modest career compared to his early success. His son, Barat A., took over the company around 1917 and turned it into a considerable success during his tenure. Much to Grandmother's dismay, her children almost all married Protestants and no doubt all below their deserved, if tattered, status as St. Louis OFF (Old French Family).


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Julia & Emile Simon Guignon in 1935


Dad offered an alternative to these other marriages. He was Catholic (if Irish), came from a well regarded family (if rural), and ran a family business (if moderately capitalized). No doubt the other thought was that Julia was now approaching 32, an age that would make most mothers--not to say daughters--frantic about spinsterhood. Mom apparently never shared that dread but one can well believe that her parents were rather relieved that,  not only was she marrying, but she was making a "suitable" match in the bargain.


Mother was different from the stereotypes so deeply embedded in the French genes. Though she never worked outside the home, she constantly dreamed of a career, not only outside the home but outside the bounds of "acceptable" feminine stereotypes themselves. Her sister Lucille had chosen the only visible route along this path by joining the Sisters of the Good Shepherd where women rather jealously, if furtively, guarded their independence within a "male" church. Mom also tended to reject the OFF devotion to social status. She always regarded the Guignons as the better part of that tradition vis-a-vis the Miltenbergers whose wealth also had evaporated over the years. She was a closet rebel who promoted such offbeat lifestyles as "health foods" when the term was limited to such eccentrics as Benard McFadden and George Bernard Shaw. And she was shyly beautiful in a family of obtrusively beautiful women.


Rather typical of Mom's playing against type was the marriage, arranged inconveniently at 7 A.M. on a no doubt frosty morning in late February (2/28/22). There was a small but enthusiastic crowd (Aunt Marie and Uncle Leo Sheridan served as witnesses) to welcome into the mutual families the "elderly" couple. They left on a Texas honeymoon that took them to Galveston and other parts of that terra incognita, again a fantasy that would appeal to Mom's elliptic sense of humor. They returned after a month to an apartment in KCK which no doubt concerned Grandmother Guignon, if only because it was in a different (very different) state. It was only accessible by streetcar since the Guignons did not own a car. Dad's car, I suspect, was a status symbol that Mom also relished. She even learned to drive, though she never much exercised the privilege, what with a car enthusiast husband and children to tend and then children eager to drive themselves.


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Wedding Invitation for Patrick McAnany & Julia Guignon, 1922


Married life began in an apartment and soon Mom was pregnant with the first child. Patrick Owen was born and did not survive more than a few weeks, and was buried in Shawnee at St. Joseph's cemetery. He had been named after both his grandfather and his dad, though where the Owen came from we have no clue. It must have been a cruel blow for these two older parents, since further pregnancies were not guaranteed. One story heard from Aunt Elise Collins was that Mom went back home to the Guignon house on Coleman Road to recuperate. How long she stayed and what she went through, we don't know, but the implication of the story was that it wasn't only physical. In any event, Mom returned to KCK and a new pregnancy.


Richard Sarsfield-- a Mansfield patronym-- was born March 2, 1924. It was very special for everyone as Dad and Mom began real parenthood. Grandma and Aunt Rose had first choice to spoil the "little doll," though there were many others, such as the adoring McAnany nieces, not to say the whole Guignon tribe. A year and half later, July 29, 1925 Julia Marie followed. John Christopher was right on time, yet another year and half later, February 18, 1927. The apartment was unsuitably crowded and Dad bought a home just before John arrived, located--naturally--back on his home turf in Shawnee. The house was a rather handsome "bungalow" of a story and half sited on 2/3 acre corner lot, five blocks south of the town's main intersection of Merriam (Johnson) and Stanton (Nieman). The backyard had the remnants of a tennis court which was soon occupied with a sandpile and a white picket fence. The front porch ran across the entire front (long) part of the house and was framed by pillars and pergolas, which bore wisteria plants. Two large (7x6) picture windows looked out to a sloping front yard that ended in a wall covered with rose bushes. Across the street to the east was a cow pasture (Goddard's). To the south was the frame home of Emma Douglas and companion Effie Gellesipe,"old maids," who monitored the misbehavior of the McAnany boys.


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5th & Stanton in 1930's


Patrick Damien and Emile Guignon, the twins, were born in 1930 (Pat on his parent's eighth anniversary, February 28 and Emile the day after). The names were an equitable division between the Irish and French heritage, being named for their respective grandfathers.  With the twins came several (other?) social disasters: Depression and drought. The Depression sent millions out of work and onto the road. Many hoboes or vagabonds came to the door seeking menial work or handouts, or both in the 1930s. We remember seeing them sitting on the back porch eating whatever Mom prepared for them. Most of the work around the place was done by other neighbors who were as hard pressed as these hoboes. Dee Brown, for instance, did lots of the heavy yard work and other chores. He was local and had a family to support. To youngsters whose father continued to work all during the Depression, the impact was pretty peripheral, beyond the strange men who appeared at the door. The droughts were something a lot more direct.


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The twins: Patrick & Emile held by mother and father in 1930


The drought years of the 1930s were exceptional. The ground across in the cow pasture showed deep cracks and the surface was powdery dry. The dust storms that blew in from western Kansas were monumental and quite scary for kids. The sky would blacken like the worst thunderstorm--but no rain would fall. It would begin howling with a wind that didn't stop for hours and the dust would seep in under every window, though shut and locked. Mom would spread damp clothes on the windowsills to absorb the invading dust. Outside afterwards, the world was coated with dust, turning the corn from green to gray. These were the years of the Okies that we knew about from stories on the radio or from newspapers.


These were years of great anxiety for Dad because he was in the business of mortgages, put in deep jeopardy by the Depression. As mentioned above, there were very few of these mortgages that the Union foreclosed on. Most were carried through those grim financial years of 1930-1941. The effect of increasing family obligations, critical business decisions, and the onset of middle age caused Dad to have a series of heart attacks. The first one occurred in 1936 or so. Dad took several trips to Colorado during the summer months to recuperate, with exposure to his beloved western mountains and trout fishing in Gunnison. He also took a trip to the Rio Grande Valley Texas in about 1939 with Mom, Aunt Estelle and Uncle Gov Major. On that trip they purchased a small citrus grove of five acres in McAllen from the Goodwin Brothers. Each of these trips served recuperative purposes for Dad.


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(Left to Right) Julie, John, Richard, Patrick, Patrick, Emile, & Julia in 1937


There is a story that Cousin Edwin J. McAnany told on Dad after recovering from one of his late heart attacks. Dad had been away from work for a number of weeks and returned one day in casual clothes, sporting a gray beard. He met a local businessman he knew quite well and, on not being recognized, approached the man for a handout. The man rebuffed Dad who then burst into laughter at his little joke. About this same time Dad and Mom posed for a famous picture in the back yard: Dad with beard and an old felt hat is dressed in his buckskin jacket and both he and Mom are sporting shotguns. It is a replica in its own way of the more famous Gothic Portrait of a couple by Grant Wood. I think Dad always showed a relish for the common man's clothing. Putting this picture beside the one of him as a young man about to embark on his California trip and several of him in his railroad overalls in Pino Grande(above) shows him in his best mood--far from the serious, not to say grim, attitude of him dressed in his business suits. Dad was a "dresser" from what we can see, but he seemed to prefer the casual to the formal.


Dad's final illness was precipitated by continuing heart trouble. According to his death certificate, Dad's trouble began on December 24, 1942 (probably with a heart attack of some sort). He was hospitalized at St. Margaret's in Kansas City, Kansas for 78 days, probably initially for the heart attack and then returned briefly before his surgery on May 26. At home during the early months of 1943, he had lost a good deal of weight according to a recollection of Sr. Pat Marshall reporting on Aunt Nell's visit with Dad in the spring. The nature of that operation by Dr. Barney is suggested by its finding of a partial obstruction of the bowel and cause of death as "post-operative surgical shock."  The language of mesenteric thrombosis gives the cause of the obstruction, perhaps due to lack of an adequate blood supply from atherosclerosis. In any event, there seems to have been no sign of cancer as some feared. That the death was "sudden" probably was due to the acute onset of the thrombosis where surgery was demanded but risky because of the heart condition. This hardly explains why Dad did not leave a will since he had been ailing for many months, not to say years.


Dad was waked at home, a custom that is hard to believe from our perspective today.  I remember distinctly the crowd of people standing outside in the front yard as the coffin was carried down the front steps to the hearse. There were tears in many eyes beside the family's.



To Be Continued


This memoir was undertaken to capture a fast fading life that touched many of us. This version is not intended to be final (I still want to add pictures) and I pass it out to family who may want to add details, correct errors, or just tell stories. My own recollection of Dad was one of a reader (business magazines like Kipplinger Letter, Business Week, Fortune; sportsman's magazines like Field and Stream; books about the West like Zane Grey; poetry like Goldsmith's Deserted Village), an internationalist (always listened on short wave to reports from around the world--heard the news on Pearl Harbor from overseas),  a businessman who knew Wyandotte and Johnson Counties like the back of his hand, a neighbor who spoke with everyone from merchants to farmers and all in between.



Last Updated July 1998


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