A tribute to a priest (and Irish friend)
Writer’s note: A tribute open house for Father Harry Walsh will be held Saturday, Nov. 12, 2-5 p.m., at the VFW Post in Monticello, Minnesota. His parish and music ministry over the past quarter century will be celebrated. So, too, will his contributions to his community, often in volunteer roles. Though not a parishioner at St. Henry’s Catholic Church, Harry and I forged a friendship. Similar relationships were important to both Smiths and Nancy’s family, the Lyrenmanns.—Don Smith.
Though not our pastor, Fr. Harry Walsh ministered to the Smith family in many ways.
I remember so well a cogent, assuring and gentle phrase he gave to my Mom (Margaret), shortly after the decision was made to sell the East River Street residence and move her to Mississippi Shores. The stroke suffered by my Dad (Lynn) had resulted in a nursing home residency for him. Their home on the Mississippi of four decades had to be sold. It was not an easy time.
In a quiet conference room at the nursing home, Harry appropriately observed: “You had a wonderful home, Margaret; but without Lynn there, it’s become just a house.” It helped make the sale acceptable.
Harry brought his music to Dad at the nursing home, always playing one of their mutual Irish favorites, “Danny Boy.” And as recently as this past summer, Harry played with Ketzel Domke and their group at Mississippi Shores for Mom and other residents.
Harry, in his role at St. Henry’s, was dear to Nancy’s family, the Lyrenmanns. Both Buzz and Jean have departed—Harry presided at his funeral; Jean loved to tell others about her trip to Ireland with her parish priest.
Harry and I have shared a strong bond for a quarter century, mostly nurtured over breakfasts at Perkins in Monticello. Were I not 1,600 miles away in Portland, I would be with him and his friends on Nov. 12 in Monticello.
As they say in Ireland, Harry, “All the best!”
—Donald Q. Smith, 11/6/11