Kraske, Moriarty share 2016 title
By Lori Schneider
The Shamrock Club came to a stalemate during Irish Rose selection this year, and members voted to double the fun with two Roses for 2016.
Irene Kraske and Pat Moriarty will join the list of Irish Roses to grace the Grand Parade and weeklong events taking place March 14-19 in New London (New Dublin).
During Irish Rose nomination discussions, Kraske was recognized by the Shamrock Club for caring about and being actively involved in the communities surrounding her.
“I was sure surprised when Judy McDaniels called me. I thought, ‘Oh my land, they finally got down to me,’” Kraske said.
Though the Irish Rose designation does not require a person to have Irish in her, Kraske is happy a part of her is Irish.
Kraske’s Irish lineage is traced back as far as her great -grandparents, Felix and Mary O’Brien, who left Ireland in 1834. They boarded a ship that sailed to Prince Edward Island and found work in Canada.
In 1848, they set sail for America, traveling down the St. Lawrence River, winding through the Great Lakes and across Lake Michigan to Green Bay. They wintered in Oshkosh and eventually settled in the town of Mukwa. They had 10 children.
One of the O’Brien daughters, Ann, married Patrick Butler in 1876. Ed Butler was one of their five children and Irene is Ed’s daughter.
Kraske was born and raised in Royalton and wrote a weekly news column for the Royalton and Northport area.
“That was back when the big news was that Susy visited Jane, and Robert was home for the weekend,” Kraske says.
As she grew older, she graduated to writing about some of the organizations she helped with when children Kaye, Carol and Bill were growing up, like the Northport 4H Club, and June Dairy Brunch promotions.
Later in life, as a member of St. Patrick’s Parish in Lebanon, New London Catholic Woman’s Study Club, and AARP, Kraske sent meeting minutes to be published.
Kraske is recognized by many as a letter writer.
“I write a letter to the editor now and again, and I guess I write some thank-yous to those in the community I see doing a good job.
“My friend Pat, who was a McPeak starting out, is a Rose with me. That makes it twice as nice.”
Kraske said they were registered nurses.
“We both went through Mercy School of Nursing in Oshkosh,” Kraske said. “She was a few years ahead of me. We both worked with the nuns here at New London Community Hospital.”
Kraske has a short story published in the book “A Living History of Central Wisconsin: Threshing Rings and Chalkboard Lessons.” She wrote about her participation in the Cadet Nursing Program, developed by the government. ‘It was a program designed to attract young women to the nursing profession to ensure adequate nursing care to our military forces, as well as to those at home.’
In 1944, Kraske was a nurse’s aide, making 25 cents an hour. The new program offered full payment of tuition, room and board and dress uniforms for winter and summer. This allowed her to attend Mercy School of Nursing in Oshkosh from 1945-48. Even though the war was ended, the government paid students to complete their education. She went to work at New London Community Hospital.
Irene married John Kraske in 1963. In his retirement years, John gained notoriety for using farm equipment to construct the Mukwa Retirement Home, located on the outskirts of North Dublin (Northport). John is a full blooded German.
“My husband thought he would be cute one year and brought me something green for St. Patrick’s Day: A jar of pickles,” she said.
A nurse and caretaker for her entire adult life, Pat Moriarty is admired for her stamina in the face of life’s devastating events.
Moriarty was born in 1923 to Earl and Vera McPeak of Manawa, WI. The McPeak family moved to New London in 1935 when her father bought out several small dairies and started a milk business. The business was Cedar Lawn Dairy.
“My dad was a good singer,” Moriarty said. “Our entire family was musical. We had friends at the house often. Dad played the trombone and mom played the piano. Dad sang ‘My Old Irish Rose’ every year.”
“There were seven of us (children) when we moved to New London: Vivian, Geraldine, Ercel, Delores, Sally and Sharon. Dawn, Terry and Mike were born here and delivered by the well-known Doctor Pfeiffer,” Moriarty said.
Moriarty graduated from Mercy Hospital School of Nursing during World War II. In 1944 she married Navy Seaman Paul Poepke, who was stationed in Washington D.C. She worked at Doctor’s Hospital for one year, caring for a great many politicians. When Paul was sent overseas, Moriarty returned to New London.
Once Paul was home, they had six children: Jill, Paula, Mary, Kris, Debbie and Paul.
One of Pat’s favorite memories was in 1962, the day the community celebrated Pfeiffer’s 50 years of delivering babies. A film crew from Life Magazine was there to document the event and arrived at the hospital to see the newborns. It happened that Pat and Paul’s son, Paul Jr., was born that week. His picture appeared in the printed pages of Life Magazine.
Then Paul Sr. fell victim to leukemia and died in 1962. Pat was to raise her children on her own. She worked at New London Community Hospital for 25 years and at St. Joseph Nursing Home until age 65. She married a full blooded Irishman, John Moriarty. He passed away too soon.
“I loved the sisters of the Religious Hospitalers of St. Joseph,” Moriarty said. “I was very close to them. They helped me through many, many very tough times in my life.”
Moriarty says she continues to enjoy the role of caretaker. She volunteered to deliver Meals on Wheels to homebound individuals and cared for many friends over the years when they needed assistance. She ran many miles with them to doctor appointments in the Fox Valley.
“I try to do something good for someone every day. I believe it is the right thing to do,” Moriarty said. “I enjoy belonging to the Friends of the Public Museum, too.”
Moriarty is a sports enthusiast, and faithfully watches Packers, Brewers and Badgers games with her good friend, Bud Stern.
“I am fortunate that my mind is still good and I can get out and do things. Without my faith, family and friends, I would never have made it to age 92,” she said.