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.

June 10, 2002

Special to The Waverly Star

By John B. O'Leary, M.D.

There are bigger Memorial Day ceremonies in the USA, but none are better than the yearly gathering in Waverly.

A dozen video cameras and two dozen reporters couldn't do justice to the scenery and to the beautiful people of Waverly.

With no video camera, and little skill as a reporter, I'm still going to try to describe each scene as the day unfolded.

The day opened with scene one. Imagine yourself on the most beautiful day of the spring - warm, sunny, a few scattered clouds, and no wind with green grass and flowers, all over the cemetery overlooking Lake Waverly.

As I drove up, I saw that one car had already arrived. The driver told me he was Lyle Welter, and when I didn't place him, he said he had married Pat Lammers.

Just then, the Ray Borrell family arrived. Marge was there, looking as great as ever, with her daughter, Mary and a handsome young man named Gene Knutson.

Speaking of handsome, you should see Paulie Martinson's family. Catherine was there with two beautiful daughters, Ann Arnold and Mary Wright. They told me their brother, John, couldn't make it back - he is with the Special Forces at Fort Bragg.

Then, more good-looking people began to arrive too fast for me to count them, let alone keep up on the names.

There were the Galvins - Dave Lorenz told me he married a Galvin. I saw John ("Chuck") Gagnon, Ed and Sue Perra, Clayton, Don and Kenny Borrell, Arlene and Wally Peterson, Don and Gerry Smith, Jerome ("Romie") Decker and a group to make the Sextons proud (Sally Sexton, Sandy Monette, Tom Monette, and Jean Johnson).

I visited with Al Peitz, who told me he was married to George Broll's daughter, Marcella.

The whole Cullen family always were handsome, but you should see the Seattle Cullens. "Kac" (Catherine Ann Cullen) Palmgren and her husband, Curt, and Mike Cullen arrived. The two children belonged to Jerry and Lois Cullen.

Another group with the same good looks are the Paddens, Jim and Carol, Bob and Rosalie, Greg and Virginia. Jim's son, Sean, was there with a very pretty girl from Steven's Point, Wis. Luckily, she spelled her name for me - it's Kudronowicz.

I was thanking Mary McDonnell Anderson for her help with copies of The Waverly Star when the crowd stopped milling around. Father Bob Wiley, pastor at St. Mary's, and deacon Mike Thoennes had arrived to set up the cemetery altar for Mass.

There were too many kids moving about to get any accurate count on the crowd, but there must have been 100 to 150 people around the altar.

The choir seemed to appear out of the sky behind the altar - there were two guitars - Pat De Marais and Bob Padden (Frank and Florence Padden's son). There certainly are some beautiful voices in that choir - with Berni Reardon, Mary (Reardon) Klingelhoets, Joan Le Page (Poochie's wife), Eileen Erickson, Carol (Kutz) Tuchenhagen, Mary Kay (Herbst) Johnson, and Clayton Borrell.

At the end of the Mass in that lovely setting, the way they sang "America the Beautiful" brought tears to many eyes.

Scene two began at 10:30 a.m., with the Color Guard lining up in front of the fire hall for the parade.

First the colors of the uniformed services - John Peterson (Wally and Arlene's son) led with the colors of the Marines; Pat Kittock represented the Army; Dan Borrell represented the Air Force; and Dan Rieland represented the Navy.

Then the two rifles, Leroy Custer and Mike McDonough proceeded. Finally, the marching squad, in the uniforms of their particular military service, lined up in groups of four spaced out at two arms lengths.

The marching sergeant was Dick Borrell and then a Hackbarth (I didn't get his first name - maybe Dan Herbst can help you on this.)

I'll try to name the marchers according to the rows they marched in: Pat Borrell, Hackbarth, Tom Barr, Tom Fitzpatrick, Gerald Borrell, Greg Patton, Steve Engel, Brooks Borrell, Leland Johnson, Ken Borrell, John O'Leary, Dale Lorentz, Bob Briske, Mark Gleason, John Le Page, Jerry Ludwig, Mike Borrell, Dan Herbst, Lee Custer, Bart Durand, Dave Remer, Dave Borrell, and Bob Decker.

The American Legion Auxiliary flag-bearers included Berneal Decker, Patty Ogle Campbell, Jan Bodine Fitzpatrick, and Nancy Painschab Remer.

Two convertibles transported the honored military - Mary Jane Borrell in her beautiful American Flag dress drove the car carrying Wally Peterson and Jim Lammers, while Denny Painschab drove his famous car bearing Stanley Hohag, Myron Yager, and Bob Blanchette. Behind them came Don Borrell on his motorcycle.

Two beautiful girls from Waverly - Princess Cassie Ogle and Queen Andrea Vrchota - marched in the parade along with the rest of the Waverly royalty.

So did the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School band, Boy Scouts, and school children. There was, of course, the Waverly Fire Truck.

The parade proceeded from the Waverly Volunteer Fire Department hall around the lumberyard block, back through Main Street to stand formation at the ceremony in Railroad Park.

Scene three: Here is where I really needed the 12 video cameras and the 24 reporters to describe the crowd in front of the Harry Klingelhoets Memorial (a gift from Grace).

There was Charlie Roux' high school band who played so well, Charlie Borrell's welcome, and Wright County Sheriff Gary Miller's really good speech.

Sheriff Miller, started by saying that even though Memorial Day was in his family tradition (Grandfather Widener had served with General Pershing and his father, Lee Miller, had lost a leg in a mine field), he might not have accepted the invitation to speak last year, but this year, after Sept 11, he felt the obligation that police, firefighters, and EMTs share with the military.

He went on to thank all who paid the price - with or without military uniforms.

Then, Matt Painschab, the 2001 boy's state representative, recited "In Flanders Field" in a beautiful clear voice, while the girl's state representative, Beth Borrell, who graduated near the top of her class this year, answered in an equally clear voice with "We Shall Keep the Faith."

As Dave Remer called the deceased veterans' names, Bob Blanchette responded "Present!" as a boy (Charlie Peterson) and a girl (Nicole Evans, Joe Painschab's granddaughter) placed a poppy beside each cross.

Someone told me Nicole spends hours helping out to put this ceremony on right and to get all the crosses ready.

Then, Norma Ogle and Lu Custer called the roll of the auxiliary.

Two great songs, "God Bless the USA" and "Prayer to Saint Peter" thrilled everyone - with the voice of Jim Vrchota and harmonized accompaniment by Dale Bothun.

This scene ended with the firing of Harold Reardon's two cannons - fired by Dan Reardon and Eddie Jacobson.

The trumpets played "Taps" and we all went home until next year.

As I said, there might be bigger Memorial Day ceremonies, but there are none better.

John O'Leary

Memorial Day, 2002


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