Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge Day 12 - Kathleen, Whose Life was Love!

Kathleen age 2 1897 Chicago
Kathleen Frances Connery was born on 10 April 1895 in Chicago, Illinois.  She was the second daughter of Michael and Alice Connery.  She was baptized at St Columbkille Church by Fr Thomas Burke in the presence of her Godparents James M and Mary C Purcell.
Kathleen and friend St Joseph Academy Graduation 1913

Her High School years were spent at St Joseph Academy in Adrian, Michigan.  Kathleen was often in the company of her sisters and cousins who also attended the boarding school.
After her schooling was completed, Kath went to work for her father in his Real Estate office. In fact the 1920 census reports her position as a stenographer for a Real Estate firm.  As the office expanded, the business grew to include travel and insurance business as well as Real Estate.

Kath 1920's
Kathleen gradually became a travel agent.  She issued tickets, planned itineraries, and even escorted tours.  Kathleen’s favorite trips were to Ireland and Rome.  Trips to Ireland were to re-connect with the aunts, uncles, and cousins still living in Limerick.
front row Kathleen, ?, Alice Connery, Bishop ?. Pope Pius XII
two nuns if back row Sister Marie Camilla and Sister Michael Joseph, (Kathleen's sisters. 1950s.
Tours to Rome meant a private audience with the Pope.
 Often the tours she escorted to Rome included Priests and Nuns (including two of her own sisters who were Adrian Dominicans.  As a travel agent sometimes Kath had to make a last minute delivery of tickets or other travel documents.  One of the more memorable stories of Kath was of the time she was making one of those last minute deliveries to the airport.  O’Hare was a very new airport at the time and still under construction.  The fences and signage were incomplete and in the darkness Kathleen began driving to the terminal.  The problem is that she was driving on the runways not the roads.  All traffic  had to be stopped until the documents were delivered and Kath was escorted from the airport.  Another story is about her multitude of parking tickets.  The family home was on Washington Blvd, a major east-west thoroughfare in Chicago, and as traffic became more congested it became illegal to park on the Boulevard.  This was before the “Boot”.  Kathleen would receive a ticket for parking and the next day in the dresser drawer it would go.  The accumulation of un-paid tickets collected until the drawer was full and Kathleen proclaimed “no one can tell me I can’t park in front or my own home.”
Kathleen was known for her sense of time.  Time was a magazine.  She was perpetually late for everything.  An invitation to dinner always specified a mealtime at least two hours before the expected serving time in the hopes that Kath would arrive in time for a hot meal.  It was a running joke in the family that she would be late to her own funeral.  Guess what?  She really was.  The memorial service was held at the Regina – Dominican Chapel, Wilmette, Illinois on 6 Sep 1986.  It was the sister’s chapel, the kind where the pews face the center aisle.  During the homily my Uncle Jack entered the chapel and walked up the aisle approaching the altar.  With dignity he handed the priest the box he carried with reverence.  As my cousin and I caught each other’s eye across the aisle we shared a single thought “She did it! She was late to her own funeral!”
A personal reminiscence written by my cousin Peggy Ryan goes far to describe Kathleen

                       “We would see you, hurrying down the boulevard
                                    High heels clicking, as you greeted familiar faces.
                  Always a smile,
                                A special Radiance surrounding you.
                  You never ceased celebrating
                For you Kath, life was a party
                                Over which you presided as a gracious hostess.
                You made us aware of the specialness of this family
                                And brought us together at every opportunity
                                So we might know and appreciate each other.
                From you we learned a deep abiding faith in God
                                Who was the Source of your strength
                                And the Center of your existence.
                In gratitude, then, we gather today
To honor your memory;
     Above all—
To celebrate your life!



  1. How lovely, Donna! I think you're getting really into this challenge, and your photos are fabulous. Made me wish I'd known her!

  2. Thanks Celia. This challenge has been a real motivator.