Daniel ‘Dan’ J. Hoolihan, 86, of Grand Rapids, died Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2003 at the Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital in Grand Rapids.
He was born on Feb. 9. 1917, the ninth child of a family of twelve, seven boys and five girls. He attended school in Grand Rapids, graduating from Grand Rapids High School in 1935. He attended Itasca Junior College in Coleraine for two years, and also attended St. John’s University for one year. He was employed by the Federal Government in Alaska in 1943, building airfields for the Defense Department of the U.S.
In 1943, Dan received his draft board summons, and was sent to the 29th Infantry Division. The 29th Division made its landing on the shore of France on the 6th of June (D-Day), 1944 on Omaha Beach, the landing where many American Soldiers died and many more were wounded. Dan made it through that day. He was wounded in the Battle for St. Lo in France a few weeks after D-Day. He was flown to a hospital in England. After being patched up and healed, he was sent back to the 29th Division, which was fighting on the front line throughout the war. The 29th ended up in the war in May 1945 on the Elbe River, where they met the Russian Army. He was discharged from the Army in the fall of 1945.
Dan was employed by the Industrial Lubricant Company of Grand Rapids as a salesman. He traveled from mine to mine by pick-up. He then decided he could cover his vast territory faster and safer by airplane, whereupon he took flying lessons and bought his first beloved Stinson. The Stinson was soon equipped with floats for flying to mines in Canada, where there were thousands of landing places called ‘lakes.’ While flying over these lakes, he spotted a place that would make a wonderful fishing camp, which he promptly bought. This camp, which has wonderful fishing and also a sand beach for swimming, brought great joy and pleasure to hundreds of relatives and friends over the years. Accessible only by airplane, and the only cabin on a very large lake, no sound can be heard except the lonesome cry of a loon just before sundown.
He was a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Grand Rapids, the American Legion, D.A.V. and the V.F.W., all of Grand Rapids.
Dan is preceded in death by his parents; five brothers, Sherman, Jerome, William, Matthew, and Theodore; and three sisters, Mary Beaudry, Eleanor Beckfelt, and Bernadette Hoolihan. He is survived by two sisters, Gertrude Hoolihan of Grand Rapids, and Margaret Fider of Duluth; and one brother, James (Alice) Hoolihan of Grand Rapids. VISITATION:4-7 p.m., with a Carmelite Rosary Service at 4 p.m. and a Wake Prayer Service at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 12, 2003 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Grand Rapids. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2003 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. The Rev. Fr. Thomas Radaich, Rev. Fr. William Fider, and Rev. Fr. John Beckfelt will be Concelebrants.
Burial with full military honors will be in the Itasca-Calvary Cemetery in Grand Rapids.
In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials to the St. Joseph’s Catholic School Endowment Fund. Arrangements are by Rowe Funeral Home in Grand Rapids.