Hogan, Mary Grace

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                                         MARY GRACE HOGAN
                                     Celebrating 90th birthday
                                         By Joanne Cadogan

Mary Grace Hogan Still giggles like a young girl. "I don't think I'm old. I know I'm slowing down a bit, but I feel pretty healthy," she said from the gold easy chair in the living room of her Upper Derby home.

It's hard to believe this woman, who still goes to church every Sunday, who never misses a St. Patrick's Day concert, who faithfully attends every church supper and every Irish Festival, will be 90 on Oct. 23. She and her family are gathering at the Derby Recreation Center that evening at seven for an open house to mark the occasion. It should be quite the party. Her sons and daughters with their spouses will be there. They’re coming from London, Ontario, St. Catherines, Ontario and Nashville, Tennesee. A grandson is coming in from Texas. Mary Hogan has 40 grandchildren and 40 great-grandchildren, many of whom have made plans to attend.

Friends and neighbors have been invited. Even the milk man's coming with the promise to bring lots of creamers. There will be lots of stories told. Like the one about Hogan's first meeting with her husband, Bartholomew, who was struck by a car and killed 20 years ago.

"I went to midnight mass with the O'Brien girls and he asked if he could walk me home, and I said yes. My poor uncle Johnny was supposed to walk home with me, so he walked with us all the way home, but stayed a few steps back so we could be alone. He wanted to make sure nothing happened," she said with a characteristic giggle.

Mary Grace Underhill, born in Barnettville, was living in St. Stephen at that time. She'd moved to the border town shortly after graduation to work at the cotton mill where her sister Millie had a job. "But I didn't stay there long," she said of the mill. "I didn't like the work. So I went on to work for the McAllister brothers (who owned the mill) as a housekeeper."

                                     Both late for wedding

Bart Hogan wrote Mary Grace often and saw her whenever he could. After a two year courtship, he wrote her in St. Stephen to ask if she would marry him. She accepted. The couple were married at the 8:30 morning mass at St. Raphael's Catholic Church in Blackville on Sept. 7, 1927. Both the bride and groom were late.

"In those days the Hogans were one of the few families up this way that had a car," her daughter said. Mary Grace said that's why her intended and his brother, Percy, came to collect her the morning of the wedding. She can't remember what happened to put them behind schedule - perhaps it was awe of the beautiful picture she made in her custom sewn white satin gown, trimmed with georgette and long strands of rhinestones. But she does recall everyone standing outside the church waiting for them when they arrived. "I'm surprised you were married at all,'" laughed her son. "Dad hated being late. If he couldn't be on time, he wouldn't go."

              Mary still lives in the home built by her father in 1930

Mary and Bart Hogan were blessed with eight children. Their first, a son, was born July 26, 1928, the year after the couple was married. Mary was 44 when her youngest, a daughter, was born in 1949. "We were all born at home except the youngest. She was born at Hotel Dieu," said Mary's daughter. "By that time, a daughter was in training at Hotel Dieu and she felt Mum really should be in hospital."

When the Hogans first married they lived with Mary's parents. Shortly after that they moved in with Bernie Colepaugh, a widower who needed help caring for his family.

In 1930, Mary's father, Alexander Underhill, built the house where most of the Hogan children were born - and where Mary still lives.

Source: Miramichi Leader – October 17, 1995

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