Grennans in the Irish mood
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CUTLINE: Pat and Karla Grennan have made an impact on the community, church, and school over the years and will be honored this weekend as the 2013 Maynard Days grand marshals. (Becky Walz photo)
Grennans in the Irish mood
It isn’t hard for grand marshals Pat and Karla Grennan to get into the Irish mood for Shamrock Days theme in Maynard, considering Pat’s great grandparents, emigrated from Ireland many years ago.
Pat comes from a family of 10 sisters and one brother, which he lovingly dubbed “an old Irish recipe.”
“I have kissed the Blarney stone twice,” said Pat proudly, sitting at the kitchen table with an Irish shirt on. “They say if you kiss it, you will have the gift of eloquence.”
Ask many families around the Maynard community, and his gift can be felt throughout.
Nearly 25 years ago, Pat was asked by athletic director Gene Klinge to be the announcer of West Central football and he is still the voice of the Blue Devils today.
The former junior high teacher has served as the Master of Ceremonies for many local events over the years.
A bit quieter, wife Karla was a first-grade teacher for 24 years and later taught second and third grades at West Central until retirement three years ago. She now enjoys quilting, baking, gardening, shopping, and spending time with her grandchildren. For 20 years she has also been an alto member of the “Melody Moms” singers in Maynard.
As members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, the couple both sing in the choir, Karla serves as the council secretary, and Pat taught Sunday school for 25 years.
“It is a big part of our lives and always has been,” noted Pat.
For 14 years, Pat was also a member of a men’s gospel quartet that sang at over 600 engagements until the group lost one of its elder members.
“We had started the group because we were the only four men in the church choir. But we made a deal that if any one member of the group was unable to continue, we would disband,” said Pat quietly.
The Maynard Days grand marshals met back in 1974 on the first day of in-service at West Central. Pat had come to northeast Iowa from Illinois to attend Upper Iowa University, completed his student teaching at West Central, and a year later took a position as the junior high history and social studies teacher.
Originally from Minnesota, Karla graduated from Waldorf College and Iowa State University with a degree in education and came to Maynard to teach first grade.
Pat remained at West Central for six years, coaching softball, girls’ basketball, track, and golf before going to work at the Maynard Co-op. He has currently worked with United Life Insurance Company since 1990. He also teaches continuing education courses as a regional marketing manager.
When their children were younger the Maynard Days grand marshals were even more active in the community as the leaders of the Maynard Community Club.
“We were kind of the unofficial leaders since the meetings were always held at our house,” said Karla. “We joined because many of our friends were involved, and this small community has a lot to offer.”
On June 12, the couple celebrated 37 years of wedded bliss with three children, Matt, Heidi, and Sean. The couple also have four grandchildren.
“Maynard was a great place to raise our family,” the couple added.
Since Maynard celebrated its sesquicentennial in 1998, the Grennans can see how successful the annual three-day event has grown.
“It takes a lot of hands to run Maynard Days,” noted Karla.
Pat added, “A lot of people aren’t truly active in the Community Club, but in a town like this — its been historical in Maynard — that if you go ask someone for help, they are going to pitch in and see what they can do.”
As part of Pat’s duties in the Community Club, he would meet with all of the businesses in town to ask for sponsorships for events and activities.
“Everyone’s participation is the secret to the annual success of Maynard Days,” acknowledged the 2013 Shamrock Days grand marshals.
The couple was really surprised but humbled to be selected as this year’s grand marshals.
“We couldn’t say no when Mayor Dan Howard called and asked,” said Pat of the phone call he received. “We are so excited to celebrate our Irish heritage with the community this year during the annual Maynard Days celebration.”