I would be remiss if I didn't remind our communities of the value and integrity of our little leprechaun, Thomas Desmond Donnelly IV, who lived with us for a time too short with memories long to cherish.
He would prove to the world that each of us is our own person and how we handle life as individuals.
I wish I had a portrait of this true character of life. He had a favorite spot at Geneva Bar & Grill where every Thursday night where he would sit and play Bingo. He often had the luck of the Irish with him and won his share of Bingo games over the years. On the Thursday night following his death, which would have been Tom’s birthday, things just weren't the same not having him there. The Bar & Grill created a special memorial in his spot. His bar stool was tilted forward against the bar and a vase of flowers, with a small bird in the middle, was displayed. Next to it was a glass of Guinness beer and a shot glass of Jameson, which Tom enjoyed, as well as his Bingo dobber.
For years Jack and Barb Kuchenbecker, the previous owners of the bar, celebrated their October 15 birthdays together. A large birthday cake was cut and presented to the people at the bar on bingo night. Tom may have missed his upcoming birthday by a few days, but he was remembered.
The grill made memory of Tom, but the man I picture was more than that.
To most people ,digging a hole in the ground would not seem like a likeable occupation. It was no easy task, but maybe it gave "Digger" the time to meditate and talk with God about the tasks we each have to do in life.
During Tom’s service, Tim O'Leary shared some stories including the time a car got stuck in the mud. The next morning Digger hooked up a team of work horses to the car so he could pull it out of the mud. A dog spooked the horses. Tom got the car out of the mud, but in the process he proceeded to take out five fence posts.
Tom’s daughters and sons also shared a few thoughts and memories of their dad, as well as shared their thanks to everyone who turned out to honor him.
They called Tom the Mayor of Harmony Park and he gave the park new status. Before everyone departed Harmony Park, a tree was planted in his memory to remind everyone all that he stood for. His roots ran deep and the spread of his beautiful branches (arms) embraced us all. Any negative thoughts about the park are erased and now the thought seems to take on new meaning, one full of peace, love and understanding where people can come and feel at home.
Several members of his family graciously accepted the large wooden key carved from wood in honor of Tom’s title of Mayor of Harmony Park. The key was almost as big as Tom. I would like to see his key mounted at Harmony Park as a token of his life shared there. Tom gave new meaning to the park, making it almost a holy haven. The park just seemed to take on new meaning having Tom become a part of it. One of the buildings at Harmony Park very appropriately has a sign, "Lucky’s Pub” above it.
Tom loved music, especially if it was Irish. During his service, as well as during the time of food and merriment that followed at Harmony Park, some great music was shared. A number of musicians played everything from a guitar, a violin, a flute, and a harmonica as they played a number of Tom’s favorite songs of the ‘70s, as well as some great Irish songs.
Tom was tiny but mighty. Probably 100 pounds of pure muscle after digging all of the graves over the years. He was the portrait of all things Irish and proud of his heritage. His personality and love from the heart made him a giant.
No, Tom wasn't perfect. Like all of us he had "his ways," but he left one with a feeling of belonging and being a part of this world.
I know I will never forget Digger. Thomas Desmond Donnelly IV was a gentleman of value.
He was capable of making you feel good wherever you encountered him. He wasn't unkind. He was real. He never pretended to be something he wasn't.
Tom, our leprechaun, will continue to live on in the memories of all who knew him. He was Irish through and through and proud of it. Long live the likes of Tom Desmond Donnelly IV.
In closing I would like to remind you of the first verse of "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling"
There's a tear in your eye, and I'm wondering why,
For it never should be there at all.
With such pow'r in your smile, Sure a stone you'd beguile.
So there's never a teardrop should fall.
When your sweet lilting laughter's Like some fairy song,
And your eyes twinkle bright as can be;
You should laugh all the while And all other times smile,
And now, smile a smile for me.
Birthdays and anniversaries:
• Thursday, October 29th: Ann Anderson, Scott Klocek, Mark Motl, Bob Haried, Kayli Rose Johnson, Bailey Ann Davis, Warren & Mary Torgerson, Craig & Jennifer Torgerson
• Friday, October 30th: Lilly Jane Wacek, Gordon Goette, Angie Broskoff Klemmensen, Allen & Barb Dobberstein
• Saturday, October 31st: Happy Halloween! Kyra Barbara Kotsmith, Brooke Hanson Berg, Heather Wayne, Emily Smith, Carrie Thompson, Roseann Kasper, Lorraine Lent, Kaye & Mike Cady, Jamie & Mark Kotsmith
• Sunday, November 1st: Garrett Wangsness, Dakota Wangsness, Troy Hagen, Mike Reistad, Tim McLain, Jamie & Sergio Hernandez
• Monday, November 2nd: Karen Osmundson, Gary Dummer, Dan Nord, Tracy Farr Simon, Janis Klinger, Troy Sommers, Sylvia Janet Baker
• Tuesday, November 3rd: Nakayla Joy Butler, Preston Dean Shaunce, Brian Muri, Paula Degan Conroy, Tim Hanson, Sydney McCamish, Quinn Sebastian Briedenbach, Jennifer Misgen, Angie & Josh Lair,
• Wednesday, Novembeer 4th: Evelyn Elizabeth Benning, Scott Anderson, Andrew Farr, Stuart Vangen, Jeff Carlson, Brant Hemingway
May your special day be filled with sunshine and smiles!