TLC logo TLC #131  May 11, 2011



Sometimes you have to return to the place where you began, to arrive at the place where you belong.


Dear Hearts and Gentle People:


I know the TLCs have a different appearance each issue. Blame it on my incompetence - and seeming inability to change fonts and size for pleasant and consistent viewing. Let's just concentrate on content! And that varies from issue to issue as well.


The flowering trees were beautiful, and now there are many plants providing color to the Lexington landscape. All is well here except that we suffered yet another loss in our TLC family.


Tom Flanigan, LHS Class of '56, died after a fall at his home in Tucson, AZ, on Sunday, April 17 . It is my understanding that he never recovered consciousness and died on April 26.  Tom was battling cancer at the time of his accident. Our sympathies go out to Virginia and the entire family.


They wrote to say there will be a graveside service at 10:30 on Saturday, May 14, at Memory Gardens in Lexington. There will be a lunch reception following at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Higginsville.  Please feel free to forward this information to anyone who may want to attend.


The family is asking that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the American Cancer Society.  The number for the American Cancer Society is 1-800-227-2345 or  Please let them know you are making it in memory of Tom Flanigan: 7963 W. Greensleeves Way Tucson, AZ  85743.

Many of you will be disappointed, but also amused, to read this missive from Ann Fiora 56' Coen:

The Coen Brothers Wood Shop has been closed and is now empty - believe that or not!!!  Twelve years of sawdust and scrap lumber had accumulated in addition to pictures, napkins and forks from past dinners, forgotten pieces of furniture, numerous coffee cups, broken furniture, bolts, screws, etc. and almost anything  else you can think of.  They filled a few trash bins but Louie is planning to have a Garage Sale (poor Hollye and Bill) in May so several truckloads went to his house, garage, shed, neighbor's garage, old greenhouse, etc.  Don is doing a little better - he tells me he is planning to rent a storage unit to keep all his valuables - but I have noticed a few truckloads go by the kitchen window and I am afraid to look under the carport!!


The good side - for the past almost 12 years they have thoroughly enjoyed having the shop on the corner with the garage door open so they could shout at anyone who happened down 12th Street.  The coffee pot was always on, in fact, they did sell the coffee pot  but the person couldn't have it until after Friday because there had to be coffee available for anyone who wanted a cup until then!  Always the place to hang out with great stories, jokes, arguments, good friends and lots of laughs - everything had a funny side to it, at least, that is the way all discussions ended up. 


As you well know, Don and Louie will continue to be busy with other exciting ventures and we'll keep you informed of their latest projects.  I did hear Louie say that this was the fifth time he had retired.  I noticed Don already has two tables and three chairs waiting to be repaired in his workshop here at home.  We are NOT adding an addition to the shop!! Someone suggested that all he has to do is enclose the carport and then he would have a large area to work in - I hope he didn't hear that suggestion!!!


(See the photos for this newsletter)


In the first picture Louie had backed the blue pick-up into the shop and it is loaded with lumber but made a perfect seat for coffee and doughnuts with Bob Mitchell, the #1 employee!  (They really liked him because he would sweep and pick up the shop, but mostly because he kept a bottle of apricot brandy hidden behind the paint thinner!)


Second picture - There was a bottle of Champagne with a ribbon on it at the shop but no one could remember how long it had been there.  They popped the cork which shot across the room and bounced back, almost hitting them, poured the champagne, added orange juice and drank mimosas  to celebrate.


Third picture - Standing in front of the shop with their OPEN sign.


Fourth picture - The poor old, tattered and torn OPEN sign just bit the dust - that is one thing they did throw away!


We miss you on that corner, Don & Louie!


Here's another item for your trip down memory lane. From Jim '59 Lorantos:


I found a clip of the old Lexington Bridge in 2008 and got permission to use it in our 2009 Reunion DVD, but I couldn’t figure out how to transfer or copy it in the DVD by the time of our Reunion.  It just occurred to me this week that I could send the link and each of you can access it on your browser just by clicking on the site address below.  If you want to see more of the old bridge just type www.oldlexingtonmissouribridge in your browser and up will pop a page or more for your perusal.  Enjoy pleasant memories and sweet dreams.  They couldn’t get Lexington out of this old boy even though they did get the boy out of Lexington. Laus Deo!

Shirley Briggle '53 Miller has given me another assignment!


Susan, all these TLCs are and have been a history of Lexington that doesn't exist anywhere else.  I hope the Library has a complete package of everything  you and all of us have written.  Have you talked to them about compiling and displaying the TLCs at the library, or do we need to put it all in book form  year by year?  And that would be complete with photos, or rather prints of photos. 


In another 30  or 40 years, when you're ready to stop doing this high-paying job (!), you will need to choose a replacement to keep this going.  It will be impossible to replace you, but I know you will choose wisely.  And even though I know all this will be in cyberspace forever, it is still a good idea to have it printed and bound for the Lexington Library. 


Any volunteers? To prepare a book? To replace me? Please?


Nah - I like doing it, and I would like to have a compilation of each issue in a proper display. I don't know if the library would accept a copy, although it certainly is a history of life in Lexington during  more than a half-century of time. I believe the Historical Museum would take a copy, for that very reason, and because I have some influence there.


Jack '51 Gueguen shared some of his thoughts and memories

Thanks, Susan.  You really “outdid yourself” this time.

The mention of Mildred and Wally Hulver brings to mind Beverly, the “valedictorian” of our class (’51), as I recall.  She and Marge Rodenberg were fast runners and outpaced the boys by quite a distance.  Marge Schoeppenhorst died in Alabama (gulf coast) in 1997; I had a nice reminiscence from her husband, a Higginsville native, I think.  She was an active supporter of the fine arts. 

With the 150th anniversary coming up, would you know if any copies survive of the little booklet I published in 1952 on the Battle?  It used to be for sale at various historical sites around town.  I saw it excerpted on one of Lexington’s websites not many years ago.  I just have one copy left.  It could be a useful item to have available to visitors in September.

The unknown story of how it originated:  It was my term paper for freshman English at WMA in the ’51-’52 school year, taught by Jean Madden, a recent grad of MU at that time.  It might have been his first year at the Academy.  Not long thereafter he left Lexington to work at KOMU in Columbia; I saw a notice of his death in 2001.  He suggested publishing the term paper, so I added a little more to it and contacted the Lexington Press. There were several subsequent printings, the first of which corrected typos.  It wasn’t a very scholarly thing; the “research” consisted of sitting in front of old histories of Lexington and Lafayette County in the Public Library and copying whatever was relevant.

I don’t know why I chose to write about the Battle; probably because we used to enjoy romping around on the Battlefield, only a half mile north of where we lived on 16th St. (each time passing by that covered wagon sculpture Shirley Guevel mentioned, as well as the Old Ironsides Cannon in the Park).  It would be interesting to know how it got there. 

Another motive was probably a story that circulated in our family about the first McIntyres in Lexington.  Margaret (my great-grandmother), a young lady at the time, her mother, and other Lexington ladies are said to have gone out to the battle site after sundown (when the fighting had stopped) to tend the fallen.  Margaret also recalled a moment when soldiers came to their home and asked them to cook a meal for them.  The family had only recently (mid-1850s) arrived in Lexington from Ireland and found a house near the Catholic Church (on Highland Ave.).

When I inquired about the Catholic Church on Highland, Jack responded:

Actually there have beenthree Catholic church buildings, each larger and more solidly built.  The first two were wooden structures on Highland, where the majority of the Catholic population lived in Lex’s early years (including “Irishtown.”)  The second one was destroyed in a “windstorm.”    The land for the present church (and the quarter block that includes three other buildings) was purchased thereafter, in the 1880s, and the present church was finished in the 1890s.  But from the beginning (1842), it was just one Catholic parish.  The name (Immaculate Conception) began in 1854—the second church—when the Pope declared it as one of the Virgin Mary’s titles; this became famous following her appearances at Lourdes under that title in 1858.

Bob '58 Ball wrote about interest in TLC on the World Wide Web!

Lots of folks seem to be interested in your prose!  So far this year, the web site averages over 300 unique visitors each month!  And what are the pages they look at?  Well, the home page, of course, and the current issue -- but after that, it's archives!  The index page for the archives is the second most popular page, right after the home page!  Folks are catching up on issues from when they weren't subscribed or, perhaps, folks are fascinated by the stories of Lexington.  Hard to guess.  The United States, of course, leads the pack in terms of readers, but for some reason, Israel is second!

Israel?!? Jane Ann Whitney '56 Hunt reads regularly:

As far as looking for “lost” classmates, I wonder what ever happened to Ruthie Lindsheid. We never could find her for any of our class reunions. After graduation, she seemed to fall off the face of the earth. Probably no one else knows either.    Her dad taught at Wentworth for a few years and then left. I think he taught briefly at Peru St College in Peru, Nebraska. Then no more info.    Ruthie was so cute----had the biggest blue eyes I’ve ever seen.   

Jane Ann - You are not the first to inquire about Ruthie. Does anyone have a clue? TLC - Tracer of Lost Classmates!

John Willard, resident of Higginsville, enjoys reading about our past:

It’s good to hear from you.  You asked about my “growing up” locale and I don’t know that we have ever really talked about it.  My folks had a farm 15 miles from Odessa, Higginsville, and Warrensburg.  We used to laugh and tell people it was as far away as you could get from anywhere!  Ha!  That’s the way I felt about it, too! 

I went to school in Higginsville because their bus came within a quarter of a mile of our home and that was the best transportation available when I started to high school in 1962.  The old farmhouse was built in 1880 on the “Old Stage Road” otherwise known as the Lexington-Warrensburg Road.  It was the main route between those two towns and the road Sterling Price took from Springfield as he prepared for the Battle of Lexington.  I understand, too, that the stone used for the Lafayette County Courthouse came from Warrensburg quarries via that route. The farm was originally granted to my great-great uncle, John Atkinson.  My brothers and I still own it today, though we lease it to a farmer from Odessa.

My only Lexington experience was through my great aunt, Rosa Hayes, the nurse who took care of Dr. Ryland and then, later, his wife after he had passed away. They lived across the street from the Catholic Church in the house that Marcia Hicklin now owns. Then too, my Dad was friends with Paul and Mary Slusher and there were times, as a family, we would visit them. My Aunt Rosa used to tell stories about the Civil War period as it was experienced by our ancestors. Of course being in historic Lexington and in that house with all its old photographs and antiques everywhere, my imagination was quickened, to say the least.

John, thanks for writing. I urge you and others who have memories of being told about the Civil War in Lexington, please write them down! Several people have mentioned that recently, and I am singing the song wherever I can. There are people eager to compile anecdotes of that period for use during the Sesquicentennial observation of the Battle of Lexington.

Even people new to town are interested in and enjoy our history. Jacque Chinnery shared the following. (See the photo on our website.)


This is a photo of the original family who lived in my house. The O'Malleys had 10 children (8 in this photo).  I guess this was taken about 1890.  I read in an old newspaper article that one son, Father Thomas Andrew O'Malley, a Jesuit priest, would bless this home every time he came to visit.  He was born at home, probably in the room upstairs where I am sitting right now!   Two of the O'Malley girls became nuns.  A good, Irish Catholic family!


For those of you who do not live in Lexington, this part of the street was known as "Irish Hill" (or Irishtown Hill) because of the number of Irish-Americans living here.  If you can read the print at the top of the photo, it says that Mr. O'Malley was a farmer, coal mine owner, member of City Council and Justice of the Peace.  He died the last day of 1904, at age 67, and was survived by his wife and 6 children.  He was born in Ireland and came to Lexington in 1854 by boat.  


Basically this house was two large rooms on the first floor and an upstairs area that may have been separated into two rooms (it is now), but the kitchen was located in the basement level.  Not a lot of room for a family of times have changed!  I don't know when the kitchen and dining room were added to the back of the house, but probably much later, maybe mid-20th century.   


I think this house has a lot of good energy, so maybe all of those house blessings have helped!


I believe that home was also lived in by the Kelly family. Jim O'Malley enlarged on the subject:


Susan, thanks so much for the picture and Jacque's commentary.  My cousin, Patrick O'Malley of Weston, gave me a copy of this picture several years ago.  His grandfather, Micheal, is pictured in the photo.   Micheal's dad, Andrew O'Malley, is my first cousin, several times removed.  He, and many members of his family, are buried in the old Catholic cemetery at the end of Roncelli Road in Lexington.  

In her narrative, Jacque mentions that her house in on "Irish Hill."  The correct name for it is "Irishtown Hill."  Irish Town included the whole area around Irishtown Hill, including 5th and 6th Streets.  I was born on 6th St. and believe me, there were lots of Irish all around us.  The first and second Catholic church buildings in Lexington were on Highland Ave., not far from the Irish parishioners.  The first church building burned and the second one collapsed.  The present Catholic church building was built at 18th and Main.   


A few words about Father Tom O'Malley:  In 1939 when I was an 8 year old student in the Catholic school in Lexington, Bishop O'Hara came for a service.  I was standing outside the church, waiting to take part in a procession, when one of the priests who was traveling with the Bishop came to me and asked me to follow him.  He took me to the rectory (our parish priest's residence) and introduced me to Bishop O'Hara.  Bishop O'Hara was very kind to me and asked if I was related to Father Thomas O'Malley.  I hadn't heard of Father Tom before, so I said no.  However, that started me asking questions, and yes, we were cousins!  


Several years ago, I wanted to learn more about him, so I called the Jesuit provincial office in St. Louis and spoke with the Provincial there.  He told me about Father Tom and sent me a folder with clippings and information about him.   He was a very popular pastor of a parish in Kansas City, MO.  Prior to that he had been a professor at St. Mary's College in Kansas and taught Greek and Latin.  Also, to  Lexington readers, he attended Wentworth Military Academy. 


Georgia '56 Hurlburt wrote to TLC for the first time:


Our dear friend, JoAnn Oetting '56 Tognascioli, was honored on April 30, 2011, at the annual Eleemosynary Society Ball.  The Eleemosynary Society supports a variety of Northland Charities, and JoAnn received the Betty Soper Award for her outstanding community service as a volunteer in several worthwhile organizations.  She is tireless in the time that she contributes, and her dependability and organizational skills were all a part of making her worthy of this recognition.


Congratulations, JoAnn!!! Well done.


And now, as the temperature begins to drop from 90 plus to a temperate 84 here in the old hometown, we say goodbye until next time....


Your devoted scribe,






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