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an hour or so, seeing that the panic showed no signs of diminishing and realizing that almost their entire fortune was in the bank he was asked, "Aren't you going to draw out?" "I'll be the last man out," he replied. "Shall I draw out?" he was asked. "Dont ask me" he answered. "Ask your husband". After a hurried consultation in a corner of the bank the verdict was "If your father is the last one out I think he would like to feel that you are the second to the last. Let the account alone." And so one depositor, not without misgiving but feeling that after all money was not the really important thing in the world, turned homeward empty handed.
It was always a matter of great relief to Mr. Onahan that although the greater part of his own fortune was swept away, no depositor in the Home Savings Bank lost a cent. The loss fell only on the stockholders, of whom he was one of the heaviest.
His list of correspondents was world-wide and ranged from the highest to the humblest. Sometimes in the same mail were letters from Alaska and from New South Wales. But when all were winnowed down the friendship that was dearest of them all to him was that of the great Archbishop of St. Paul. A few months before his death he read the following letter to a friend and said: "I am a poor man but I would not take a thousand dollars for this letter." It is dated St. Paul, December 24, 1915.
"MY DEAR OLD FRIEND-Alone in my room I recall the Christmas days that are gone and the friends whose affections were twined around them. But an insuperable sadness overpowers me as I call one name after another, and hear no response, save that the grave has taken them to its cold embrace. So many gone: Am I the last rose of summer-the lone pine-tree of a once dense forest? Almost so indeed. Yet a few-a very few-are still standing, ready to return salute to salute. I cherish them all the more for their very rarity.
You are one of the few—the one so long nearest to me— the one readiest to understand my loneliness and to assuage
its sorrows. Well, here then is "A Happy Christmas to you and a blessed New Year. May the Infant of Bethlehem be most gracious to you, shedding upon you His smiles of love and filling your soul with joyousness.
"Well, I must say no more. I must cease remembering the fallen pine-trees, the friends whom I am not to see again on earth, lest I be sad and make you sad, when we all should be happy and hopeful-hopeful of a life to which there is no end, of a bliss to which comes no surcease.
My regards to Mr. and Mrs. Gallery: my prayers are for their happiness.
The loneliness that Archbishop Ireland spoke of was beginning to be keenly felt by my father too. His greatest joy and solace in life were in his grandchildren. Still he missed his old friends. His two dear friends in the Northwest, Bishop Cotter and more recently that gentlest of souls Bishop McGolrick, were gone. Everywhere he looked there were gaps till in moments of depression he sometimes said he had more friends out in Calvary than anywhere else. When the telegram came from Archbishop Ireland's sister, Mother Seraphine, telling the sad news of his death, it was early in the morning and so it was kept from him for several hours. After he had his breakfast, had read the morning paper and had smoked his cigar, only then was it brought to him. He was sitting in his Morris chair before the grate fire in his parlor when the one who received the message entered the room holding the yellow slip in her hand. He took one look at her face and said, "Well, well, it has come."
"Yes, dear, it has come.'
He put his hand over his eyes to hide the tears and said brokenly, "The light of my life has gone out."
He went up to St. Paul to the funeral and he seemed fairly well after it, but he was never quite the same. The loneliness that had been gradually growing of late owing to
the death of so many of his dear friends was now greater than ever. It seemed as if a chord in his heart had been broken, one that no human power could ever again vibrate. They were much alike in character and in loftiness of ideals. Their vision was always broad and high, they viewed things in the large. Their Americanism was deep seated, omnipresent and fearless, and in both instances it sprang from vigorous Celtic roots.
His last public appearance was at the State Centennial Celebration of the ILLINOIS CATHOLIC HISTORICAL SOCIETY and opening of the Quigley Memorial Hall, December 3, 1918. He had a peculiar interest in this school because one of his grandsons, named after the great Archbishop Ireland, he loved so well, was a student there. The meeting was held under the auspices of the ILLINOIS CATHOLIC HISTORICAL SOCIETY of which he was President. He made the opening address and introduced Reverend Frederic Siedenburg, S. J., as chairman, who in turn announced Most Reverend George William Mundelein, Archbishop, and other speakers. He was at early Mass and Holy Communion Christmas morning. It was a bright, cold morning, the sun shining but the ground all white with new-fallen snow, but the snow was no whiter than his silver hair as he came home from church that morning with two of his grandchildren (both as tall as he) on either side of him.
His last sickness was of only a week's duration and it seemed so slight at first that he would not allow a doctor to be called in. When on the second day a physician was summoned in spite of him, there seemed to be nothing alarming. But on Wednesday night an artery in his foot became clogged and gangrene set in. On Thursday evening the physician said it was the beginning of the end. He was not told the verdict but that night he himself said quite simply, "The call has come." So with a smile upon his lips and a look of perfect peace and serenity on his face without a sigh, without a tremor, gently, fearlessly he stepped gallantly out into eter
nity. The world became indeed desolate but surely Heaven opened wide its gates to admit a rare and beautiful soul.
THE FUNERAL OBSEQUIES
The solemn funeral rites were an eloquent tribute to the rectitude of William J. Onahan's life. The sublimity of the Catholic ritual, than which nothing human is more impressive, was made manifest in the assemblage of prelates and clergy vested in accordance with church laws and usages for such a solemn occasion.
The Requiem Mass was solemnized at St. Patrick's Church of which the deceased had been one of the earliest and most distinguished parishioners. The Mass was celebrated by the pastor, the Reverend William J. McNamee, assisted by the Reverend Frederic Siedenburg, S. J., Dean of Loyola School of Sociology and First Vice-President of the ILLINOIS CATHOLIC HISTORICAL SOCIETY, as deacon, and the Very Reverend F. A. Purcell, D. D., rector of Quigley Preparatory Seminary, sub-deacon. The sermon was preached by the Very Reverend John A. Cavanaugh, C. S. C., president of Notre Dame University. The Most Reverend George W. Mundelein, D. D., was present and gave the last absolution.
PERSONAL TRIBUTE TO THE LATE WILLIAM J. ONAHAN, LL. D., BY THE REVEREND JOHN CAVANAUGH, C. S. C., D. D.,
PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE
DAME, NOTRE DAME, INDIANA.
Born at Leighlin Bridge, County Carlow, Ireland, in the year 1836, William Onahan had the good fortune of inheriting the noblest and most heroic blood of Europe. His ancestry embraced the men and women who, during centuries of sublime devotion and endurance, held faith against the wiles of statecraft, the brutal power of infamous government and the most alluring seductions of the world. Brought up on the hero tales and ballads of a noble but oppressed people, the very fibre of his soul, in his earliest years, was refined and
strengthened by the sights and sounds of every day life. Nourished on the ancient and beautiful literature of Ireland, the gentlest, strongest, loftiest instincts of his nature grew from year to year, when, as a young man, he turned his back on the ancient and mellow civilization of Ireland for the rudeness and crudeness of life in America at that period. He embodied, in his striking physique, in his agile and adaptable mind, in his gift of graceful and dynamic expression, in his loyalty to the old land, the old creed, the old memories, the old traditions, the very genius of the Irish people.
Shortly after his advent to this friendly haven into which had sailed so many hundreds of thousands of his own people in quest of peace and opportunity, Mr. Onahan arrived in Chicago. From that moment he became the leader of his people. Gifted with a handsome figure, with noble features, with engaging manners, with rare instincts for leadership, young Onahan at once assumed a prominent place among men of Irish blood in Chicago. Sixty years ago the Irishman was little understood in this country. The vulgar comedian on the stage, and the more vulgar newspaper paragrapher, had joined forces with the ribald bigot to misrepresent the Irish character. God knows, we were not without our faults, but they were gentle faults, capable of discipline and willing to be disciplined, and they were associated with marvelous virtues and excellencies which America needed and which America would love when she came to know them. On the other hand, the American people were unknown in many ways to the Irish immigrant. With quick intuition he would soon come to understand. But in the meantime it was necessary for someone to interpret the Irish immigrant to the American and the American himself to the Irish immigrant. This was a golden opportunity for the right man. The venerable Patrick Donahoe did it in Boston; the great Archbishop Hughes did it in New York; the ever-to-be-lamented Boyle O'Reilly did it through his poems and his newspaper work over the whole country. It was William J. Onahan who did it most conspicuously and brilliantly for Chicago and the