Irish J. Degnan

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Irwin "Irish" J. Degnan, 96, passed away with his two loving daughters by his side on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, at the Guttenberg Care Center.

Visitation was Sunday, Aug. 23, at Tuecke-Allyn Funeral Home, Guttenberg and one hour before services at the church.

Funeral service were Monday, Aug. 24, St. Mary's Catholic Church, Guttenberg, conducted by Rev. Marvin Bries.

Interment was at Mt. Olivet Catholic Cemetery, Guttenberg.

Irish was born on Feb. 12, 1919, in Guttenberg to John and Anna (Nigg) Degnan, the third in a family of seven children.

Irish graduated from St. Mary’s High School in 1936. He attended Columbia (Loras) College and graduated from Upper Iowa and later entered law school at Drake University.

He is a decorated war veteran, including the Silver Star, who served his country proudly in the United States Army in both Europe and the Pacific during WWII to include the 28th Infantry and other campaigns and the Army Headquarters V Corps, the unit specifically created for the top-secret invasion of Normandy, France of which he was the Security Control Officer and carried classified documents specific to the D-day invasion, where he landed on Omaha Beach. He entered the Army in 1941 and received honorable discharge on Nov. 15, 1945. Later he was recalled for the Korean Conflict in 1950 - 1952 as a commanding officer.

On Sept. 2, 1950, Irish was united in marriage in Des Moines with Shirley Schabacker and they were married for 55 years. 

Irish sold life insurance for Northwestern Mutual achieving the million dollar round table, established Degnan Insurance and Realty in 1953 and owned and operated his agency for 34 years. In addition, he enjoyed being a dealer and independent contractor for Hilton and Trademark Homes.

Irish was among the citizens who were instrumental in forming the Guttenberg Municipal Hospital, the Guttenberg Care Center, the Industrial Park, and Guttenberg Golf and Country Club. He was a member of Guttenberg Rotary Club, American Legion, VFW, KCs, and was involved in numerous other civic/commerce groups and projects. He was an active member of St. Mary's Church serving as a Eucharistic minister, lector and choir member over the years.

Irish enjoyed working on and collecting old cars, boating, following politics and current events, coin collecting, working in his yard, spending time aboard his house boat, The Irish Mist, with his family and taking summer family vacations. 

He loved to sing and had a great love of all music that continued throughout his entire life. He enjoyed spending time with friends and family and meeting new people. Later he enjoyed painting, car rides and working on jigsaw puzzles. Irish is survived by his two daughters, Peggy Degnan of Guttenberg and Jann (Mark) Degnan Duffin of Brooklyn, N.Y.; three siblings, Mercedes Schappler, of Nashua, N.H., Dr. Donald Degnan, of Dubuque and Marion Jacobs, of Cedar Rapids, many nieces and nephews and friends.

Irish was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Shirley; brothers, Judge L. Jack Degnan and Dr. Edward Degnan; and one sister, Annette Ellsworth.

Memorials may be directed to St. Mary's, Guttenberg Hospital, Guttenberg Veteran's Monument or Guttenberg Rotary Club. The family would like to thank the staff at the Guttenberg Hospital/ER and ambulance staff, Guttenberg Care Center and Hospice of St. Croix, Father Bries and Deacon Pfaffly.

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