Rosemary Madonna Callahan McHugh, known affectionately as "Posy" a grace filled Irish Catholic woman died Tuesday September 8, 2020 in Ottawa Hills.
Born December 4, 1926 to Hugh Callahan and Anna Mackin, who emigrated from Donegal and Armagh, Ireland to America in the hope of a better life. The middle child of five siblings, John Callahan (Dec.), Kathryn Craig, Margaret LaFayette (Dec.) and Hugh Callahan, she grew up surrounded by friends and relations, and immersed in the rituals of Catholic life. She was baptized, received her First Holy Communion, attended elementary school and was married at Gesu Church, which was the foundation of her faith. She said the rosary daily. She graduated from Notre Dame Academy in 1944 and remained an active alumna.
Wearing white gloves and a hat, she interviewed following graduation with the president of American Flint Glass Workers union, then headquartered in Toledo and was hired as a secretary. For six weeks every summer, she traveled to Atlantic City, NJ, taking shorthand at meetings and typing letters. She and a friend regularly snuck out to swim in the ocean and buried the payroll cash under a beach blanket, while they frolicked in the Atlantic.
Introduced by her future mother in law, she met John J. "Jack" McHugh at the Visitation Monastery during the Novena of Grace, in June 1949. She married him on Sweetest day October 21, 1950. Eight children were born of their union. An Inky’s pizza usually preceded a delivery. Posy set about raising her family with faith, love of their Irish heritage and a life-long commitment to education. She frequently recalled that the day before delivering her third son, she typed a doctoral paper, in Latin, on Pliny the elder, on an old typewriter for an oblate priest.
At the age of 32, she enrolled at Mary Manse College in January 1959. As she pursued a degree in education, she listened to French records on the hi fi, conjugating verbs while diapering and distracting kids. A blackboard was positioned next to the stove for practicing math equations. Six years and three sons later, she completed her BA and began teaching fourth grade, first at the old Horace Mann school. Later, at Greenwood, a Washington local school, she taught third grade. Her number one goal was to instill a healthy sense of self-esteem in each child as she endeavored to share her overwhelmingly positive attitude. For science projects, chicks and ducks were incubated regularly.
Frequently, after cooking dinner for ten, she used an adding machine to run grade tallies and calculate quarterly averages at the dining room table. She awarded extra points to kids who made an effort under difficult circumstances. Always one to see the value in industry, she purchased a Toledo Blade paper route in 1965, that was transferred sequentially from son to son, teaching work ethic, customer service and elementary principles of finance.
Education was a priority in her life. After a program of night study, she was awarded a Master’s degree at UT in 1976, and encouraged this pursuit in her children, providing a Catholic education through high school and in several cases, throughout college. While still teaching, as a hobby, she obtained her realtors license and worked at Lindsay Realty. Retiring from teaching after twenty-five years, she then supervised student teachers at UT. With a lifelong friend, Ruth Danner, she delivered mobile meals for over twenty years.
It was a busy life, requiring tremendous energy and dedication. Whatever public obligations she fulfilled, though – and they were innumerable – Posy always made time for family and many friends, and nourished friendships for life; one, since the age of four. Her favorite saying, which she scrupulously followed, was "if you can’t say something nice, don't say anything at all".
A true daughter of Erin, she never met her grandparents, but that led to an early interest in genealogy, which she researched by writing letters to parishes in order to establish a family tree. She always embraced the Irish sense of hospitality. With eight children, her home was busy, happy and crowded but there was always room for another plate at the table or another potato in the pot. She loved a party, hosting an annual Christmas Eve party for family and friends.
Her husband died in 1999, after 49 years of a happy marriage. Many evenings after dinner they'd sit and hold hands on the sofa, listening to Irish music. Left to cherish her memory are her best friend and daughter, Sarah; sons, Thomas and his wife, Jeannie Hylant; Terrence and his wife, Karen; bachelor son, Timothy; Philip and his wife Suzanne and Daniel and his wife, Teresa; and John. Her son, James Patrick preceded her in death as did her only son-in-law, David Hart. Grandchildren include Bridget, Brendan, Colleen, Erin, Philip, Patrick, Kate, Margaret, Sean Connor and Caleigh McHugh along with Sarah’s boys David Hart Jr., and L. Lee Hart; both of whom graciously opened their home for the care of Posy during these final months.
She lived at the Woodlands from 2010 until January 2020, where she played scrabble — which she hated to lose — twice a week, belonged to a book club, and a bible study group. The last several years she has been well cared for by her nurse extraordinaire, Patty K. and many aides who made her comfortable, entertained and loved, with these final months in the home of her daughter, Sarah. A life so beautifully lived deserves to be beautifully remembered. Visitation will be at Ansberg-West Funeral Home, Friday, September 11, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Mass of the Resurrection will be at Gesu Church on Saturday September 12 at 10:00 a.m., friends will be received one hour prior to Mass. Cemetery services will follow at Resurrection Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider Gesu Church, 2049 Parkside, Toledo, Ohio 43606 or Notre Dame Academy, 3535 W. Sylvania, Toledo Oh 43623. To send her family online condolences, please visit www.ansberg-west.com.