Emerald Isle
Irish Féile

2023 Beaver Island Irish
Hall of Fame Inductees

Beaver Island Irish American Hall of Fame Class of 2023

Dr John DuffyDr John Duffy John Patrick Duffy was born on St Patrick’s Day (17 March) in 1933 on Arranmore Island in Donegal. He was the 7th of 8 children.  Trained as a physician, he came to the United States in 1964 to work at the Mayo Clinic and Loyola University in Chicago where there was a large Irish community, with very many Arranmore people in that community. In 1966, he came to Beaver Island in search of his aunt, Mary Duffy Gallagher, the last known Irish immigrant to speak Irish. Having found Beaver Island, John and his wife, Nora, contributed to the Irish cultural heritage of the island playing the bagpipes, singing, and dancing, and telling stories of Irish lore. His beloved wife Nora died in 2016 at the age of 84, and when the pandemic hit in 2020, John moved back to Arranmore, where he lives to this day.

Jerry Early photoJerry Early Jerry is a bridge between the people of Beaver Island and the people of Arranmore Island. Early’s Pub is welcoming to all Beaver Island folks and those with any connection to the islands. Jerry Early is proud to call himself an islander. Jerry was born in Chicago and raised in his native Arranmore Island. He married fellow islander Patricia Boyle (related to the Greene’s & Boyle’s of Beaver Island) and took over the running of the successful and well-established business, Early’s Bar, from his parents, Andrew (RIP) and Mary (still going strong). They have 3 children – Kayla, Aisling and Paul who are now running the business on the island. Jerry would like to acknowledge the huge influence that Dr Duffy and the late great Charlie O’Hara had in forging and maintaining the strong links between our sister islands. It is his hope that as long as the tide ebbs and flows in Arranmore, that our younger generation will continue to enhance the beautiful relationship between our islands. “May we all someday meet again”

Pamela Grassmick photoPamela McDonough Grassmick Pam was instrumental in getting the Invasive Species program (Phragmites control) started; she has made Islanders aware of upcoming meeting agendas, election information, and ecological issues that might not have been known without Pam’s interest. She also promotes the activities of the Beaver Island Association such as Warblers on the Water and the BI Birding Trail. Pam can be found volunteering her time and talents with many organizations such as the Great Lakes Island Initiative and the Great Lakes Island Alliance as well as several local organizations. She currently represents Beaver Island on the Charlevoix County Planning Commission and the Charlevoix County Community Foundation. Pam is the daughter of Lawrence McDonough and Winnie LaFreniere McDonough.

Eleanor Gallagher McDonough photoEleanor Gallagher McDonough Eleanor is Island born and raised and continues to emulate all the qualities that our parents and grandparents taught us from a very early age. Respect and honor describe the very depth of Eleanor McDonough. Eleanor Gallagher McDonough and her husband Glen, an Island born fiddler, were long-time members of the Beaver Island Club of Grand Rapids which hosted an annual Beaver Island Party which drew the Beaver Island diaspora for a weekend of music, dance, and reconnection.   In 2008, Eleanor established the annual Glen McDonough Memorial Concert on Beaver Island as a free outdoor community event that has encouraged the continuation of Island music.  Additionally, she created the Eve Glen McDonough Music School, a free fiddle camp for young students, ensuring that Beaver Island continues to foster music development and scholarship.

Timothy McDonough photoTimothy J McDonough Beaver Islander Tim McDonough is being nominated for the 2023 Beaver Island Irish American Hall of Fame for his outstanding public service as Beaver Island’s Volunteer Fire Chief. McDonough’s oversight as Chief includes that all mandated training, drills, and recertifications are mastered to state standards. Equipment and trucks are regularly inspected and tested weekly with the assistance of other volunteer fire department personnel.  Tim was a long-standing member of the St. James Township Board, serving on the many committees whose work keeps Beaver Island functioning.  Tim is also one of the faces of McDonough’s Market; his patience and interest in visitors and islanders alike help people to feel connected to the Island.  Tim is the son of Joseph ‘Bud’ and Edna ‘Skip’ McDonough.

Edward Palmer photoEdward Palmer Edward was a cultural icon whose music brought joy to an un-measurable number of people during his life. Music has been integral to the fabric of life on Beaver Island since the Irish settled here.  Our island music embodies a variety of genres including traditional Irish songs, American folk songs and homegrown tunes written by Jewell Gillespie and many others. On June 14, 1946, Edward Palmer was born on Beaver Island to Clarence and Lorraine (Boyle) Palmer.  He began playing musical instruments was he was just 9 years old and he was largely self-taught.  He had a beautiful voice, his dancing was remarkable and his piano playing, guitar playing and his harmonica playing were legendary.  He also served his country honorably during the Vietnam War. From the Homecoming Dances to the annual Beaver Island-Grand Rapids parties to many nights at the Circle M, Donegal Danny’s or the Beachcomber, his heart bounced off the piano keys for us all at one time or another.  His signature tag line was “Is Everybody Happy?” Edward passed away on July 17, 2021.

Barry Pischner photoBarry Pischner Barry was an artist by trade – a fine furniture designer. Barry used his talents to design exhibits at the Marine Museum and he was very proud of designing our monument to the twinning here on Beaver Island, the Grotto at Holy Cross Cemetery. Barry learned many Irish songs in Ireland and shared them with us all.  He held a concert every spring to raise money for the enhancement of Holy Cross Hall. Barry grew up in Charlevoix, Michigan. His parents, Emil Pischner and Dolores Gillespie Pischner were both born and raised on Beaver Island. Barry enjoyed many trips to see his grandparents and his beloved Uncle Jewel. Jewel Gillespie taught Barry to play the guitar and Barry added to that talent his beautiful voice. Barry learned many of the traditional Beaver Island/Irish songs . . . and stories. Barry became involved in the Beaver Island Historical Society focusing on his true passion, the Marine Museum. Barry would often help arrange music and sing at family reunions, including a classic “When the Beavers was Irish”. He was a kind and gentle man.

Hugh Nancy Rodgers photoHugh Nancy Rodgers Hugh Rodgers has been an essential link between Arranmore and Beaver Island for decades. He was instrumental in facilitating the 2023 Beaver Island visit by so many from Arranmore and the Chicagoland area Arranmore diaspora. On Beaver Island in October of 2000 there was a “Gathering of Islands” where Arranmore and Beaver Island were twinned, cementing the generations long connection. Hugh Rodgers was Instrumental in organizing, facilitating, and honoring the connection between Arranmore and Beaver Island in our original twinning and again in 2023 for our Irish Féile. He has used his communication and storytelling skills to bridge gaps with all individuals educating them on traditions, history, folklore, and music. His attention to detail with history and the importance of preserving heritage has been instrumental over the decades for others to learn and grow. His caring, compassion, and wit while honoring customs of dance, music, and folklore bridges generations.

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