Dear Friends & Family,
We come together today for daddy’s funeral mass. A devoted Catholic, today is his final trip to his much-loved Church of Our Lady, where he consistently practiced his faith for 101 years. Daddy’s love of being Catholic and being Irish ran deep to the core of his very soul. Daddy’s ancestors left Ireland over seven McCarney generations ago, just before the Irish Potato Famine, which left many of the remaining Irish people in poverty, starvation and death….
Daddy’s desire to travel was primarily limited to visiting family, however, his love for his wife prevailed, and he would accompany her adventurous heart on several bus tours and onto his beloved Ireland. Daddy had free worldwide travel on American Airlines for the last 18 years of his life, but that was not his thing! He never wanted to get on an airplane. The exception was when his son-in-law, Tim, died. His love for his daughter, Cathy, made him brave enough to get on the plane to attend Tim’s funeral with Cathy, and the children.
Daddy and Mother shared the love of playing bridge. We all learned to play bridge from Grandma McCarney. She started us out about age 10 or 11…must be why daddy was such a good bridge player. The Green Bay Packers had a special spot in daddy’s heart—even before than Vince Lombardi. His favorite weekend pastime was taking us to the Rosary on Saturday night followed by “farm talk” with the guys at the back of the Manannah Store. Meanwhile, we were mostly unsupervised children giggling and playing with the other unsupervised children.
Daddy loved farming…he took us with him to the cattle-pig markets at South St Paul. I think mother thought our chatter would keep him awake during the horrific long lines of trucks waiting to sell their animals. He loved the social aspect of farming. Farm Talk with the Jost Uncles and his brother, Robert, was a highlight of family gatherings. When daddy was pushing age 99, Michael would drive him halfway to Morris to visit with his brother-in-law Paul, "to re-live the glories of farm life." As children, Daddy had us baling hay, feeding animals, grinding corn, chasing escaped steers, and driving tractor to bring afternoon lunch out to the fields. Lunch consisted of Kool-Aid, cookies, Spam or peanut-butter-jelly sandwiches on Wonder bread.
Today and forever, we will celebrate the life of our dear sweet daddy. Mary Jo was the oldest child. He told me how excited he and mother were to have a baby. I arrived 15 months later. He said I was always busy and never stopped talking. Cathy was born 3 years later, blond, and cute as she could be! Then Michael and Kevan were born. Every farmer loves his girls, but the arrival of a boy to the family brings hope of more “farm talk!” Daddy and Mother’s sorrow ran deeply when their youngest child Kevan passed away. When Daddy’s soulmate, “Mama,” died in 2014 the joy of life was never the same for him. Mother’s death ultimately required him to leave the farm as he needed more physical assistance.
Daddy’s life was a story of deep marital love and commitment. A St Thomas nun became the match maker for Mother and Daddy. This nun set up a blind date between Daddy, a St. Thomas collegiate and Margaret Jost, a student at St Catherine’s. Jerome and Margaret were mentors of love and kindness to their 5 children, their 17 grandchildren, and 29 great grandchildren. Everyone around them saw the love and respect they had for each other. If Mother showed any disapproval she would say, “Now, Jerome…” In response, Daddy would say not much more than ”Now, Mama.” I never heard him curse or swear. Daddy was always a gentleman, a friend to friends, honest in all business dealings, kind to those around him, and a wonderful-loving father.
Today our hearts and souls unite in a celebration of Jerome McCarney’s life! Some of you are present here today, and others honor him from afar. We are grateful to all of you for honoring and loving our dear daddy. Daddy’s glorious celebration of life must include Mother, as she WAS the celebration of HIS life. Anne McCarney has written a beautiful obituary that details Daddy’s earlier years. It is posted on the Johnson Hagglund website. The Celebration of Life Video will also be posted on the same website.
Cathy and I were blessed to accompany him through "his last tomorrow.” After October 29th there is no tomorrow on earth for dear sweet Daddy. Mary Jo called us in Iowa to warn us how much Daddy had failed during the previous week. We were able to come and comfort him as he passed from this life. We are grateful to Hospice and Bethany for the care and love they gave our dear dear Daddy. Being with Daddy as he died in peace and finally pain free was the greatest gift of my lifetime. With gratitude we say, "We will always love you, Daddy!” We will see you again in the Eternity of love and peace.
Jerome T. McCarney, age 101 of Litchfield, MN died October 29, 2021, at Bethany Assisted Living in Litchfield. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, November 12, 2021, at 1:00 PM at Church of Our Lady in Manannah. A visitation will be held Thursday, November 11, 2021, from 4:00-7:00 PM at Johnson-Hagglund Funeral and Cremation Service in Litchfield with Parish Prayers at 6:30 PM. Interment will be at Church of Our Lady Cemetery in Manannah. Masks are requested during Mass.
(Thomas) Jerome McCarney was born May 5, 1920, to James Leonard “Len” and Mary “Babe” (Hollihan) McCarney. He and his younger brother Robert grew up on the family farm in Harvey Township which was homesteaded by the pioneer McCarneys in 1867.
Jerome attended country school and then Litchfield High School. A founding member of the Harvey 4-H club, he also served as its first president. He was an early FFA member when the Litchfield chapter began. In high school, Jerome excelled in track, particularly the quarter mile as well as the broad jump. H e also played football—mainly because they needed someone fast. More than eighty years later, Jerome still loved telling the story of his final game. The opposing team fumbled with eight minutes on the clock, and when the coach put him in, Jerome ran 92 yards for a touchdown.
After graduating from Litchfield High School in 1938, Jerome enrolled in what is now the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. There he ran track for two years and served as a residence director for freshmen. Thanks to his need for a date to an event and a friend whose aunt was a matchmaking nun at St. Kate’s, he met Margaret Jost—the love of his life. He graduated from St. Thomas with a degree in business. Though he considered a business career in the Twin Cities, Jerome returned to take charge of the family farm.
Jerome and Margaret married July 8, 1943. They enjoyed 70 years together as a married couple. In that time, they welcomed five children and seventeen grandchildren. The family now includes 29 great-grandchildren ranging in age from twenty to one.
Jerome’s life work was farming. He was a fixture at the South St. Paul and Albany sales barns where he bought and sold cattle. Jerome still combined until his late 80s and rode his four-wheeler to inspect the farm into his 90s.
A faith-filled Catholic, Jerome was a lifelong member of the Church of Our Lady in Manannah. He served as parish trustee for about twenty years, as a long time Eucharistic minister, and as a member of the Knights of Columbus, continuing a long tradition of service to a parish his ancestors helped found in 1876. He and Margaret received the diocesan Bishop’s Medal for Service. Jerome also served his local community as an elected member of the Harvey Township Board for decades including many years as chairperson. For years, he sold all Harvey’s burning permits. He also served many years on the ASCS and Cenex boards.
Jerome loved family gatherings. McCarney family holidays—especially Christmas and Thanksgiving—could easily number over 50. He loved to play cards—bridge with Margaret in several leagues and 500 with the grandkids. He also enjoyed travel taking lots of drives to Morris, Phoenix, Iowa, and other destinations. Jerome didn’t enjoy flying, but he and Margaret did travel to Ireland, the land of his ancestors. He also followed the Packers since, as he liked to say, he’d been a football fan long before the Vikings existed.
After Margaret’s death in 2014, Jerome retired to an apartment in Litchfield. His heart, though, always stayed on the farm.
Jerome is survived by children Mary Jo (and Pete) Conzemius of Minnetonka, MN, Jeanne (and Bruce) Rooney-Graves of West Des Moines, IA, Cathy Derksen of West Des Moines, IA, and Michael (and Diana) McCarney of Litchfield, MN. He is also survived by daughter-in-law Marcia McCarney; his sister Geraldine Lounsbury; grandchildren Jim, Jeff, Eric, Brian, and Andy Conzemius; Sean, Ryan, and Kyle Rooney; Patrick, Michael, Bridget, and Brenna Derksen; Anne McCarney, Katie (McCarney) Campbell, Mary Beth (McCarney) Plucinski, Joe McCarney; and Elizabeth McCarney; and 29 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife Margaret, their son Kevan, his brother Robert, his sister-in-law Roselyn, his parents, his son-in-law Tim Derksen, and other friends and relatives.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the charity of your choice in memory of Jerome.