Site Meter The Meehan Family Clare Meehan The Meehan Family
Meehan, Michael
Ayers, Hannah
O'Connor, John
O'Connor, Mary
Meehan, John (Jack) Joseph
O'Connor, Bridget
Meehan, Clare


Family Links

Meehan, Clare

  • Born: 6 Jun 1909, Iowa township, Crawford County, Iowa, USA
  • Died: 25 Nov 1992, Crawford County Memorial Hospital, Denison, Crawford County, Iowa, USA
  • Buried: 28 Nov 1992, Mt Olivet Cemetery, Manilla, Crawford County, Iowa, USA

bullet  General Notes:

Clare (Grandma Clare) Meehan was 51 when my parents died and she became the guardian of two teenagers. Anyone at the age of 51 who accepts the responsibility for two teenagers is a Saint. Grandma Clare is also My Hero. . I was 18 at the time and my sister Maureen was 12. I can only image the courage, energy and love Grandma Clare must have had to take on two teenagers at the time when most adults would be saying they were thankful that their kids are grown and they could finally relax.

Grandma Clare shared all of her worldly goods, which included love, respect, money, home, food, clothing, education, transportation, and more with Maureen and me. When our daughter, Jenny Meehan Brennom, was born, my wife Jeanne Marie Drexler Meehan started calling Clare - “Grandma Clare” out of respect for the woman, who we considered a saint. Later, as Maureen and I had children they also affectionately called her “Grandma Clare”. I only hope that we gave to our children a small portion of the love that we received from Grandma Clare O’Connor Meehan.

bullet  Clare Meehan’s Life

Aunt (Grandma) Clare Meehan was the second daughter and third child born to Grandpa John Joseph Meehan Sr. and Grandma Bridget O’Connor Meehan. Aunt Clare was born in Manilla on June 6th, 1909.

In the picture on the left are Clare (In Front), Bud (on Left) and Mary (In Back) Meehan
In the middle picture are (left to right) - Mary, Clare, Michael and Bud (John Joseph) Meehan
In the pictre on the right - In the front are Clare Meehan is on sitting on Uncle Mike Magner's knee on the left.
Great Uncle Mike Magner (Ellen O'Connor's husband), and Tom O'Connor.
Behind Grandma Clare are Jack O'Connor, Uncle Bud (John Joseph) Meehan and Ellen (Sister Rose Michael) O'Connor.
Standing behind them is Great Uncle Mike O'Connor. Great Uncle Jer (Jeremiah) O'Connor.

Aunt Clare was born in Iowa Township, Crawford County on June 6th, 1909. When she was born, she was a very sickly baby and no one ever expected her to live. In fact she was baptized the day she was born. Father H. J. Schleier was the priest. Her sponsors were Patrick Hanrahan and Margaret (Meehan) Hanrahan. Patrick Hanrahan and Margaret Meehan Hanrahan are the grandparents of Brother Gerald Muller, a Holy Cross Brother and another source of information on the Meehan family. Aunt Clare always told the story that she was never given a middle name because no one expected her to live. In reality, Aunt Clare lived longer than any of her other brothers or sisters and became a mother to Marty (Maureen Clare Meehan Stary) and myself and a grandparent to our children. She is also the godmother to Marty, who was given Clare as her middle name.

L to R in the back row – Dad (Michael F. Meehan), Harold Hederman, Toady McLaughlin, Clare Meehan, Madonna Meehan & Michael O’Connor.
L to R in the middle row – Bid Houlihan O’Connor, Mary Houlihan O’Connor, Mary Veronica Meehan Hederman, James O’Connor.
L to R in the front row – Mary Margaret O’Connor (daughter of James and Bid O’Connor), Nellie (Ellen) O’Connor Magner, Jim McLaughlin & Art Hederman.

In 1914, when Aunt Clare was just getting ready to start school in a one room school house about 1 mile from the farm, they still did not have electricity or telephones on the farm. In Iowa as with the rest of the United States, things were changing; Grandpa Jack (John Joseph Meehan Sr.) was getting ready to open the first’s car dealership in Manilla - Yet the main means of transportation was still the horse and one’s ability to walk. The Meehan family would walk to school and take the horse and buggy to church on Sunday. Most of their free time was spent working on the farm. All of the children did light chores. Church was an important part of the Meehan Family and the center for most social activities. I’m sure that the Meehan children enjoyed a few board games, e.g., checker, and outdoor games, e.g., “Hide and Seek”, and “Tag”. No mention or record has been left of any specific game or activities. Family was extremely important and I’m sure they had large family dinners on Sundays at least twice a month. It was also common for relatives and neighbors to help with the planting and harvesting of the crops each year. I can remember in Canada, when I worked on the farm in 1956, everyone would help plant or harvest the neighbor’s crops.

This picture was taken around 1936 in front of a brown home next to the old Sacred Heart Church in Manilla.

Front row L to R - kneeling on the left in front is Bud (John Joseph Jr) Meehan; unknown man; Pat Hanrahan, who was Br. Gerald's grandfather and was married to Margaret Meehan; Tom (Arthur Thomas) Hickey, who is kneeing and bracing Clare Meehan; Laverne Lally and Pete Lally: [Br. Gerald indicated that Pete was very good on the violin. Laverne Lally was the Emily Dickinson of the family - a little nutty and a recluse who was pampered by Great Aunt Ellen (Nell) Meehan Lally]. 2nd Row L to R – Agnes Meehan Houlihan (Dark Dress with flowers): Loretta Hanrahan; Florence Houlihan; Adrian Lally; unknown men; Art Hickey, Francis Lally and then Br. Gerald Mueller, Grandma Bridget O'Connor Meehan and finally Alvin Mueller (Br. Gerald's Dad). The only person I know in the next row is behind Br. Gerald and is Helen Lally. Br. Gerald's brother, Leonard is in the back row.

Aunt Clare had a lot of friends, but her closest friend throughout her life was Toady (Marie O’Connor McLaughlin). It was the highlight of my Genealogy research when I located Pat Duffy in December 2007 and she was able to help me update my information on her and the O’Connor Family.

L to R Pat Duffy, Aunt Clare Meehan, Ellen Hoffman, with two other unknown lady friends and an unknown boy. Picture taken around 1938

Now the rest of the story . . . This is from Pat Duffy’s notes on July 17th, 2008. Aunt Clare and three other ladies and one of their sons visited Pat Duffy in Wall Lake, Iowa. The little boy took over Pat’s toys and she was very upset. When the picture was taken Pat would not stand with the others. Instead she protested the actions of the boy by standing to the left of Aunt Clare and showing her anger by crossing her arms. I can just see Emily (our granddaughter showing her frustrations by doing the same thing). Ellen Hoffman was another friend of Aunt Clare’s in Denison. When we moved to Denison in 1961, I met Ellen when she managed the movie theater in Denison. In 2000, it became the Donna Reed Theater for the Performing Arts. Donna Reed was born in Denison in the 1920’s and was a famous actress in Hollywood. She won an Academy Award for “It’s a Wonderful Life.

Aunt Clare and Aunt Mary were always there to help others and I’m sure were helpful in raising Dad (Michael Francis Meehan) and Uncle Bud (John Joseph Meehan). Dad and Uncle Bud were more the typical boys who liked to play practical jokes and enjoy life. In 2006, we stopped to visit a cousin, May Hickey, who was residing in Eventide Nursing Home in Denison, Iowa. She had an advanced case of Alzheimer’s. At the time she believed she was back in high school and had a vivid memory of that time frame. Anyway, she told us that her mother told her not to play with the Meehan boys. She didn’t know why, but she was strictly prohibited from playing with the Meehan boys.

Clare Meehan as an Administrative Assistant to the State Representative from Crawford County
Picture taken in the Assembly Room at the Iowa State Capital

Aunt Clare graduated from Denison High School in 1926. I know that she worked as a waitress for a short time but I have no idea the time frame. It’s possible that she graduated from Denison High in 1926 and worked as a waitress for a few years or even during the time she went to Normal College. In the 1920’s and early 1930’s Normal College was a business school in Denison where young people could get a higher education in accounting and marketing. Aunt Clare completed the bookkeeping course at Normal College.

Assembly Room at the Iowa State Capital in 1943

When Aunt Nellie O’Connor Magner had a stroke in the 1930’s she moved to Denison to take care of Aunt Nellie. It’s possible that she was living with Aunt Nellie when Mary had a problem with the birth of Harold Hederman Jr. and Mary moved in to Aunt Nellie’s home so that Clare could take care of both of them. Clare lived n Denison from the time she moved there to help Aunt Nellie until she died except for the years during World War II when she worked for the State Senator from Crawford County.

I always loved the Cherry Blossom time in Washington DC. Each morning we would take the bus to ST. Dominic’s school in Washington DC from Ft. Belvoir, VA. The trip would take about 1 hour each way. It was a long trip but the highlight was driving through the area where the Japanese Cherry Blossoms were planted in the Washington Mall. The picture at the right captures the beauty of these Cherry Blossom Trees and the love between Grandma Clare and Marty (Maureen Clare Meehan Stary). I always felt that this picture captured the love and caring that Grandma Clare had for Marty and I. Grandma Clare Meehan took us to visit Father (Cardinal) William Keeler at the time. Aunt Clare was always proud of anyone who was a religious and it didn’t matter if they were a Cardinal, Priest or Nun. She always had a special place in her heart for the religious.

Clare Meehan and Father Xavier Dieter

When I first moved to Denison in 1961, I was honored to drive Leo and Mae Dieter into Omaha to visit their doctor several times. Leo was in his late Sixties or early Seventies at the time and was very sick. Mae would live to sometime in the 1980s. In the summer of 1961, I also had the honor of giving Father Xavier a refresher course in driving so that he could renew his driver’s license. I’ll never forget that I forgot to show him how to dim the lights, and the Highway Patrol Officer giving the test was kind enough to show him and not penalize him. In 1966 when I graduated from college, Father Xavier attended my graduation. On December 27th, 1967, he co-celebrated our wedding (Jeannie Marie Drexler and John James Michael Meehan). Leo and Mae are buried in the Vail Catholic Cemetery.

After college, Aunt Clare held several jobs as bookkeeper for businesses in Denison. Early records indicated that she was a bookkeeper for a lumber yard in Denison. Marian Heinisch told me that she worked at the Denison Theater in the evenings. In the 1940’s during World War II she was an Administrative Assistant to the State Representative from Crawford County. By the 1950’s she was working for the car dealers in Denison. By the time Mary and I arrived in Denison in 1960, she had worked for all the different Denison Car Dealers and was working for the Chevy Dealer.

A classmate and friend, Robert Nichols captured the following in 2002. He and I had driven out to Iowa after my parents died in 1961. Robert wrote, ". . .And what a trip it was. June, 1961. Your '55 Chevy, a few bucks in our jeans and—once we deposited your Detroit aunt and met all your good people there–the Grosse Pointe aunt, the football player cousin-in-law, the bachelor beer-drinking uncles, the relative with a cabin out an Leamington—it was the open road clear to Denison, Iowa! Not bad, especially when you add the side trip we made up to Guelph and Hamilton, Canada, your cousin’s sheep farm and your policelady cousin—we should have driven the extra miles from Hamilton down to Niagara Falls, it took me another thirty years to get back up there. Then on west to where the great lands open up. Denison and Aunt Clare and your sister and even more cousins (What’s with you Catholics anyway?). A real town square. We went to the park for a band concert. We went to the city pool and a pretty girl pushed me in—I remember bobbing to the surface and looking up through water-blurred eyes at her laughter and then she was gone. The weekend out at Black Hawk Lake, talk of de-tasseling work, Aunt Clare's mighty Oldsmobile. It seemed then (and yet) like some kind of a visit to an American dream. A kindly old aunt and farm kids and a big front porch on a tree lined street. A small town oasis in the middle of the infinite metaphor of cornfields forever. . ."

L to R - Grace Dieter, Toady (Marie) McLaughlin, Sister Mary Michael O'Connor and Clare Meehan

During the 1960's Aunt Clare kept busy visiting us, in addition to several trips to relatives and friends in Detroit, MI., Topeka, KS, Holstein, Iowa, In 1965, Aunt Clare and I drove down to Topeka to visit Uncle Mike (Michael John O’Connor) and Toady (Marie O’Connor McLaughlin). Marie and Uncle Mike had moved from Wall Lake, Iowa to Topeka in 1961. She became the care taker of Father John Patrick O’Connor (Uncle Mike’s son), who was pastor at Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church. Uncle Mike was a brother to Grandma Bid (Bridget O’Connor Meehan). Another brother, Father Phil (Joseph Simon O’Connor) was also chaplain at the Veteran’s Hospital in Topeka and living with them. As I mentioned earlier, Toady was Aunt Clare’s best friend. Toady would also stop in Denison whenever she was in Iowa.

bullet  Homily for Clare Meehan’s Funeral

“Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays. . .”

“Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go. . .”

The lasting themes of popular songs are difficult to predict. But if one were to review all of the themes of songs that have survived which were written for the holidays, certainly one theme that has endured in the songs is the theme of home.

The needs of the heart are many. In recent years, these needs have been the subject of research by prominent psychologists and psychiatrists. And the person with the deepest insights into the human heart read what minds two mj1eniajater were to point to. One of the greatest and deepest needs of the human heart is to find an enduring home. Let us hear again the words of Jesus chosen for proclamation at this funeral liturgy for Clare. “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may also be.”

I don’t know all of the story line of the life of Clare. I know only pages from the last chapter. Certainly these pages reveal a poignant period in Clare’s quest for the home of Jesus’ father. When first I met Clare, she maintained her home in the apartments a few blocks from here. And beyond her home in the apartments, Clare truly felt at home in this house of worship. As I mentioned last evening at the wake, I first met Clare on the morning of July 10, 1992 as she directed the brown Chevrolet across this parking lot. I must admit that I feared for the Church that morning as Clare steered for the corner of the sacristy, took a wide turn, opened the door, and poked out her head to back the car into its customary stall near the north door. She came early to this place as a home where she might visit with her Savior and His mother.

This year as Clare’s health failed, I heard her say in the hospital here in Denison that she had lived in her home here longer than she would have chosen. She was ready to move. And Clare’s first move after the hospital was to Eventide. It was with grace and dignity that she observed the caring work of her nephew and niece, John and Maureen, as the apartment was cleared and a few precious items of furnishings were moved to her half of a room at Eventide. It was difficult to break up the apartment home, but her niece and nephew made the move much more palatable for Clare because they brought a few of her furnishing to the nursing home and they kept a number of the furnishings in the family as they moved items to their homes Clare’s stay with her few items of cherished furniture was short at Eventide. Again she was hospitalized in Omaha and then returned to the hospital in Denison.

In the days back in the hospital, she was somewhat confused about the place where she was, She alternated back and forth in understanding the location to be the hospital or Eventide. It was in this time that many of Clare’s good friends here exhibited the same qualities of care that Clare herself was famous for. Often Madonna and I Men and others were present to visit with the frail Clare. On the last afternoon before Clare was to return to Eventide, Madonna and Helen and I visited with Clare about her move from the hospital back to Eventide, this time to a room in the nursing care section where again a few of her furnishings were moved to make it home.

Clare spoke of being happy that at Eventide because she could feel at home by coming for the monthly Mass. Still Clare clung to what would be the transition for her from home here to home in eternity. For Clare as well as anyone I know, believed in her soul the words of Jesus. “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you.”

In her final move to the hospital last week, most of the final vestiges of home here were packed away for Clare. In the end, she clung to the genuine essences of home here. For at her end, Clare had finally disposed of as we all must, the furnishings of home and - focused on what makes home. She was blessed at the end with the heart of her home, the presence of her nephew and niece, John and Maureen and her grand niece, Colleen. Also accompanying her was the last. two pieces of well worn communication with her longed for new neighbors of her new home in the Father’s kingdom, Jesus and Mary. She was weakened but could focus upon the Sacrament of the Sick and her rosary and her worn prayer book.

Traffic this morning is brisk and many scurry to collect the accouterments of homes here for the holidays. But you and I are genuinely blessed as we witness the transition of this fine woman of faith to the home built on her unfailing cornerstone of Jesus, the Father’s kingdom. As we gather this morning, the Church of St. Rose which Clare so dearly loved is bedecked with the blues of Advent. Her waiting to be truly come for the holidays is complete. And her witness to us to look for and to treasure that which will bring us a genuine and lasting home will serve each of us well. Amidst the journeys home this holiday season, amidst the efforts to bedeck our homes these days, let us remember well the wisdom of Clare in turning her heart toward that which would assure her of an eternal home, namely her efforts of faith in the cornerstone of home, Jesus Himself.


Crawford County Court House, Recorders Office, Denison, Iowa
NO: Book 2, page 332
NAME OF CHILD: Meehan, Clare
SEX: female
DATE OF BIRTH: 6 June 1909

Clare Meehan was baptized on June 6th, 1909. Fr. H. J. Schleier was the priest. Her sponsors were Patrick Hanrahan and Margaret (Meehan) Hanrahan.


Crawford County Court House, Recorders Office, Denison, Iowa
NO: microfilm
NAME: Clare Meehan
SEX & COLOR: female, white
AGE: 83
OCCUPATION: secretary, business
DATE OF DEATH: 25 November 1992
PLACE OF DEATH: Crawford County Memorial Hospital
CAUSE OF DEATH: irreversible congestive heart failure; digitalis toxicity; history of senile dementia
PLACE OF BURIAL: Mt Olivet Cemetery
INFORMANT: John Meehan, Marion, IA
BORN: 6 June 1909
FATHER: John Joseph Meehan
MOTHER: Bridget O™Connor
SOCIAL SECURITY: 482-20-9715

Contact Information


Send comments or updates to either of the following E-mail addresses:

John J. Meehan - -
Charlene Deam - -

Please visit my other WEB Sites:

JJ Meehan's Family Tree
This WEB Site has links to over 4,000 members of John J. Meehan Family.

Family History and Genealogy Site
This WEB site contains history of several Surnames e.g., Meehan,
Doyle, Lynch, Ayers, Ryan and McDonald.
In addition there are links to several Family Genealogy WEB Sites
plus several other interesting WEB Sites developed by John J. Meehan.
There are also links to other Genealogy Resources and Archives..

This WEB Site contains links to blogs (stories) and other data on Ireland.

This WEB Site contains links to people who are my heroes or have influenced my life.

Fly High and Fast
Flying Blogs by JJ Meehan

A salute to America by John Wayne

"Cruzin the Avenue"
This WEB Site brings back memories of the 50's and 60's.

The Meehan Family came from Kilkee, County Clare, Munster, Ireland.

Home | Table of Contents | Surnames | Name List

An Irish Blessing please click above on "IRISH BLESSING".


This Web Site was created 29 Jan 2009 by John J. Meehan