Jim O'Leary

Waverly Star

By Jim O'Leary

An e-mail newsletter for and about Waverly people, used with permission in the HLW Herald and on this web site.

March 25, 2002

I received this letter last month from Edward John Quinn of Omaha.

Ed has been working on family genealogy for over 25 years. Currently he works as an International Logistics Manager for a biotech firm in Omaha.

His father is John William Quinn, who used to come to Waverly every summer to stay at the Graham farm, along with his siblings, Mary Ellen, Ed, and Jimmy. John Quinn was the most popular kid who ever came to Waverly, not only with all of us guys, but with all of the girls, as well.

His sister, Mary Ellen, was just smashing and had a wonderful personality to go with her good looks. Edward Irving, Jr., was John's older brother; he was very serious and hard working. Jim was a few years younger, and had all the Quinn and Graham qualities.

Now, John is still working in Omaha; Edward Irving, Jr., is a missionary priest in the Fiji Islands; Mary Ellen is Sister Mary Ellen, a Sister of Mercy who works on the Rio Grande border with the poorest of the poor; and Jim is a physician in Omaha.

Here's what Ed had to say:

"Dear Jim:

"I am a descendant of John Brown Quinn who helped to found the village of Waverly. I am also related to the Grahams of Waverly, as well as the Westrups of Winsted. I am from the Omaha Quinn branch.

"My grandfather Edward 'Irving' Quinn used to contribute items to the John Yo Houti column in the Waverly Star in the 1940s. His wife, my grandmother, Mary Frances Graham Quinn, is now 96 and the pride of the family.

"There are now many branches of the family scattered all over the country, direct descendants of John Brown Quinn. Thanks to the hard work of my cousin, Margaret Quinn of Edina, several of us twigs from the tree are in the planning stages of a major family reunion for the descendants of John Brown Quinn. We are going to have the reunion in Waverly. Our chosen dates are the weekend of July 26 to 28, 2002.

"We have found the park was available and have reserved it for the 27th of July. Here, we will display the 30-foot family tree, news clippings, and maps of family highlights in the area, so we can drive around and see 'the family sights.'

"Do you have any information in this area which might reference our ancestors or any of the important things they might have done?

"Any suggestions in this area would be most welcome. Please ask your readers."


Edward J. Quinn
3328 Pine St.
Omaha, NE 68105

More connections

What a pleasure it was for me to hear from Julie Primus Jones! Her mother was my good friend Marilyn Diers, who was just a year behind me in high school. Marilyn was slender and beautiful and had all the qualities anyone would ever want in a person: friendly and humorous and kind she was.

I will let Julie speak for herself. I can't wait to meet her when she moves back to Minnesota.

"Hi Jim.

"I'm Julie Primus Jones and I live in Phoenix, Arizona. My father was Vern Primus from Howard Lake and my mother's parents ran a barber shop in Waverly. I was very little when I lost my grandfather Diers but I can still see him working away in his barber shop. He used to go fishing very early in the morning before he would open the shop.

"My grandmother Mary Diers was my most beloved relative. She was such a wonderful grandmother to us kids. Grandma Diers died Jan. 7, 1989.

"My two brothers are Tim and Mike. Mike lives in Wyoming and has a son and a daughter. Tim, who is also married, lives in Lakeville and has two sons. My half sisters, Jeannie and Debbie (Marilyn and Don's) still live in White Bear Lake. Don passed away of cancer 15 years ago. As you know I lost my mother Marilyn 30 years ago.

"As you also know, my aunt Eleanor Boltz lives down here nearby in Sun City. She is the one who told me about your column. Elroy is having some heart problems, but he seems to be doing all right now.

"My father, Vern Primus, died of congestive heart failure in July of 1996 while he was living in Tucson. He had been very ill his last few years.

"My brother Mike came down from Wyoming right away and we made his funeral arrangements in Tucson. I took his ashes up to Howard Lake a few years ago and they are now resting in his home town where he wished to be buried.

"The good news is it looks as if my husband and I will be moving up to Dassel where we have bought some land. I'm so excited. All my adult life I have wanted to move back to Minnesota and now I can.

"A few years ago, we drove through Waverly. It really is a wonderful town. I remember Waverly well as a child. The people were always so friendly. My closest childhood friends were Ann Pususta and Patty Trulson.

"My husband, Tom Jones, is from Mankato and he loves Minnesota as much as I do. We met here in Phoenix in 1995 and were married in 1996. I had worked for insurance companies for 17 years, and then for an agent for three years. Now I do medical billing.

"It's fine if you want to put my e-mail address in the paper. I would love to hear from anyone who might remember us.

Julie Primus Jones
4128 W. Danbury Drive
Glendale, AZ 85308
(602) 978-8612
E-mail: TJJJ4757@aol.com

The Waverly Kohaneks

"Mr. O'Leary,

"I found a couple of your articles while searching internet sites for St. Mary's cemetery in Waverly. I believe my great-great-grandparents, Anthony and Rose Kohanek, are buried there, but I'm not sure yet. I was hoping to find an internet photo of the cemetery and perhaps a list of people buried there. No luck so far.

"If you should, per chance, know of any historical cemetery information, articles or cemetery photos and are able to let me know about them, I will appreciate it very much.

"My ancestors moved from Poland/Germany starting in 1872. Except for a short stint in Stiles, N.D. working for the railroad, they reared their 11 children in Waverly.

"Anthony died from lockjaw in 1915 because the medicine was coming by train to Waverly, but it missed Waverly and went on to the next town. By the time the family received the medicine, Anthony had died. I suppose this story, or least an obituary, is in some newspaper archives somewhere.


Vicki Kohanek
New Jersey
E-mail: vkohanek@earthlink.net

Ye towne gossip 1952

Mr. and Mrs. David Douglas, of Delano, were Sunday visitors of Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Cullen and family.

Freda Bremer is remodeling the home on the former L. Bremer place and is fixing it into a duplex.

Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Stumpf and daughters Elaine and Carol, of Maple Lake, were Sunday dinner guests of Simon and Harvey Stumpf.

Ed Jolicoeur received word from his son Dick that he was in a hospital suffering from malaria. He is stationed in a camp in California.

Visitors last Sunday at the home of Mr. and Mrs. James Hughes were Mr. and Mrs. Joe Hughes and children Dennis and Sheila of Minneapolis.

Carolyn Vaughan and Mary Demarais of St.Cloud and Don and Shirley Demarais of Minneapolis were at the Roy Demarais home over the weekend.

Jane Fitzpatrick, Dana Graham, Karen Hohag and Maureen Fitzpatrick were dinner guests of Jeanie Parks Tuesday, the occasion being Jean's sixth birthday.

(Side note: Mrs. Lorraine Parks, Jean's mother, moved last year to a condo in Bloomington, near her son Bill. John and Jimmy and Jean are also all in the twin cities area now. Now one of Delbert and Lorraine's grandchildren is living in the house on Main Street where Jean's sixth birthday party was held.)

Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon Kingstedt of Minneapolis were in town Thursday.

Mrs. Chapman and son Dale of Montrose, Mrs. Albert Hayes and Mrs. Joy Mumford attended the dedication of the First Presbyterian church at Howard Lake Sunday.

Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Smith entertained the following at their home Sunday evening: Mr. and Mrs. Cyril Dressen, Beatrice Goodridge, Mr. and Mrs. Francis McAlpin, Barbara, Franny and Dennis Olson, Mr. and Mrs. Myron Smith, Elaine and Jimmy and Mr. and Mrs. Myron Yager.

(Side note: "Jimmy" Smith, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Myron Smith, is the same Dr. Jim Smith who reported from Guatemala in our last issue.)

Mr. and Mrs. John Jandro and Mr. and Mrs. William Jandro were visiting at the William Dignan home Saturday

(Side note: Waverlyites were saddened last week by the news of the death of Bill Jandro as a result of a house fire some time back. John Jandro, his twin brother, is doing very well now after his own struggle with ill health. These two fine men, Bill and John Jandro, were orphaned early on and were taken in by Bill Dignan, who became like a father to them. It looks like we are losing lots of our beloved in the year 2002.)

Mr. and Mrs. Phil Zeller and family returned from northern Minnesota on Long Lake where they have been vacationing.

Mr. and Mrs. Vern Primus were at Brainerd Sunday.

(Side note: This is Vern and Marilyn whose daughter is the same Julie who wrote the above letter. On this summer weekend in 1952, I was in Brainerd when Marilyn came into the Emergency Room with a foot mangled from a lawn mower accident. My brother John sewed her up. She was in too much pain to do much visiting with me.)

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Kugler, Jr., of Minneapolis are rejoicing over the arrival of a daughter who was born June 23. The little lady weighed in at 7 pounds and 4 ounces, and her name is Paula Jo.

St. Pat's Day dessert

This was on the dessert menu when I went out to dinner for St. Patrick's Day:

"Toasted pecan densely layered in an intoxicating filling mellowed with rich chocolate, set in a buttery crust and topped with whipped cream. $7.95."

That's a long way from the great home made apple pie at Ogle's Cafe in Waverly advertised for 5 cents apiece.

I did not order this dessert. My thrifty Irish soul could never bear paying more for a dessert than what my father used to make for a whole day's wages. Besides, St. Patrick's Day is still Lent. My father told us that in Ireland, the fare for Lent, without exception, was "potatoes and point."

During Lent, the O'Learys would eat their potatoes and point up at the rafters where hung a ham, which would be their Easter Sunday dinner when the 40 day Lenten Fast was finally over.

Please let me know anything you might know that I don't know, and I will share it with our readers.

There are lots I don't know.

Jim O'Leary
461 Claremore
Corpus Christi, TX 78412

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