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The Irish Lose A Friend

By Staff | Mar 5, 2009

FAREWELL -- Wearing his white blazer and green hat, Mickey Conlon walked at the front of the St. Patrick’s Celebration in Emmetsburg for many years. He was an active part of the annual celebration for nearly 40 years. Mickey died March 1 at age 65.

Emmetsburg will say goodbye to Mickey Conlon, chairman of the St. Patrick’s Celebration for many years.

Funeral service for Mickey Conlon is 10:30 a.m. Friday, March 6, at Holy Family Catholic Church in Emmetsburg.

Mickey Conlon was a friend to many in Palo Alto County. A lifelong resident, he gave a lot back to the people.

Conlon worked at the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Department for 26 years, under three different sheriffs.

“All of law enforcement knew Mickey very well and thought highly of him, especially his abilities and his knowledge of the county,” said Palo Alto County Sheriff Dennis Goeders. “We are definitely going to miss him.”

Goeders remembers the many times Mickey finished his shift at the Communication Center, then jumped in the patrol car with him for the night.

“I remember one really stormy night when there was a basketball game and people had to stay the night in the gym,” said Goeders. “Mickey jumped right in and did what needed to be done to keep everyone comfortable.”

Goeders said his office has received many telephone calls since Mickey Conlon’s death.

“All of law enforcement was appreciative when Mickey was on the radio. He would get all the help they could when handling a situation. He was always in control. Everybody here thinks very highly of Mick. I loved him dearly and I’ll miss him,” said Goeders.

Mickey Conlon was most visible in his role as chairman of the St. Patrick’s Association. He worked with the association for nearly 40 years and served in nearly every capacity, from organizing the parade to escorting the queens.

“Mickey lit up when he was around the queens. That was his passion,” said Billie Jo Hoffman, business manager at St. Pat’s. “He wanted it to be more than just a pageant so he made sure there were things for the girls to do in the summer. They went to a lot of parades, representing Emmetsburg. There was a special bond between Mickey and the girls.”

Andy Joyce has been chairman of the dignitary committee, working with Mickey Conlon for the past eight years.

“Spending the past eight years at the St. Pat’s Association and working together with Mickey has been a wonderful experience,” said Joyce. “The trips to Des Moines to pick pu the Irish Dignitary never had a dull moment, and we never turned the radio on. Our time was spent discussing the year’s celebration, checking to be sure that all was taken care of for the upcoming days, telling old St. Patty’s tales about the float being stolen or the Blarney Factory Strike, and on occasion, singing the Irish Lullaby. I will miss him dearly and hold on to the memories we made while working together.”

Rick and Diane Brennan agree, “A guy like that can’t be replaced. He is one of those rare people that bind the community together.”

“The stories that people can tell are many,” said Diane. “Last summer during the Sesquicentennial, I was driving the car and it was like having a celebrity with me. People stopped and talked to Mickey all along the parade route.”

Mickey Conlon traveled in Iowa and Ireland, making friends along the way as he promoted Emmetsburg and the St. Patrick’s Celebration. He earned many honors, all in the name of the St. Patrick’s Association. He also received the Emmetsburg Rotary Club Business and Industry Award of Merit.