A Yankee born in Michigan who graduated from Boys Town, Nebraska, came down south to Mississippi to live and deer hunt, was
soon given the nickname of ~ TWO DOGS TALL!
Photo credit: Patrick Kavanagh

Friday, October 30, 2009

Boys Town ~ Class of 1961

I have posted all of my (94) classmates. Would like to post your autobiography if you happened to come here and see your picture. Feel free to make any comments. You can email me at: http://twodogstall@yahoo.com and I would be glad to post what has transpired in your life since we have graduated from Boys Town in Class of 1961. Thanks, Robert "Bob" Phillips

Rt. Rev. Msgr. E. J. Flanagan

Father Edward J. Flanagan 1917-1948

Father Edward J. Flanagan is the founder and visionary for what’s known today as Boys Town. He had a dream, that every child could be a productive citizen if given love, a home, an education and a trade. He accepted boys of every race, color and creed. Father Flanagan firmly believed, “There are no bad boys. There is only bad environment, bad training, bad example, bad thinking.”

Father Flanagan was born on July 13, 1886 in County Roscommon, Ireland. In 1904, he set sail for the United States. Following his ordination in 1912, Father Flanagan was assigned to the Diocese of Omaha. His first parish assignment was Saint Patrick’s, O’Neill, Nebraska, after which he was appointed Assistant Pastor to Saint Patrick Catholic Church, Omaha, in March 1913.

On December 12, 1917, Father Flanagan opened his first Boys’ Home in a run-down Victorian mansion in Omaha, in 1921, the Boys’ Home moved to Overlook Farm, its present location near 139th and West Dodge Road. Father Flanagan and his Boys Town became internationally known with the help of the 1938 movie “Boys Town.” He became an acknowledged expert in the field of childcare and toured the United States discussing his views on juvenile delinquency.

The federal government called on Father Flanagan to help children both nationally and internationally. In 1948, President Truman asked him to travel to Europe to attend discussions about children left orphaned and displaced by World War II. During this tour, he fell ill and died of a heart attack in Berlin, Germany on May 15, 1948. Funeral services for Father Flanagan were held in the Dowd Memorial Catholic Chapel, located at the heart of his beloved Boys Town, which is also the site of his final resting place.

“…The work will continue, you see, whether I am there or not, because it is God’s work, not mine.” -Father Flanagan

Visit the Father Edward J. Flanagan Timeline for more detailed information on his life.

Read more about Father Flanagan's life and legacy in "Father Flanagan's Legacy; Hope and Healing for Children"

Visit our Chapters in History pages to learn more about the creation of Boys Town.

(Courtesy of Boys Town website)

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Nicolas H. Wegner

Monsignor Nicholas H. Wegner 1948-1973

Monsignor Nicholas Wegner worked quietly during his tenure to ensure that Father Flanagan's dream would extend well into the 21st Century. His pioneering efforts resulted in, among many things, the creation of the Boys Town National Research Hospital. Under Wegner's watchful care, Boys Town doubled in population, expanded educational, vocational, athletic, and arts opportunities for its residents, found a solid financial footing, and spread its ideas on youth care around the globe.

Monsignor Wegner was born in 1898, the eleventh of 12 children in a Humphrey, Nebraska, farm family. An outstanding baseball player in his youth, he received several offers from Major League Baseball teams. He turned down the offers to pursue his calling to become a priest, pitching for small farm teams to earn his way through seminary. After studying in Rome, he was ordained on March 7, 1925. Returning to Omaha he would become the Chancellor to the Omaha Diocese. Following Father Flanagan’s death, Monsignor Wegner was appointed the director of Boys Town on September 15, 1948. Under his leadership the population of the Home grew to more than 900 students. After 25 years of service Monsignor Wegner retired on September 15, 1973. He passed away on March 18, 1976, and is buried in Omaha.
“In the administration of Boys Town I will try in every way possible to follow in the footsteps of its founder. And while I look with a great deal of fear and trepidation to the task that lies before me, I feel that with the help and the cooperation of the very able staff of Boys Town and the help of God and the prayer of our friends, the good work so ably begun by Father Flanagan and carried to such glorious heights will continue to prosper and meet with success.” -Msgr. Wegner
Read more about Monsignor Wegner’s life and legacy in “ The Mission Continues: Monsignor Nicholas Wegner of Boys Town.”
(Courtesy of Boys Town website)

Boys Town ~ Joseph Zappa

Boys Town ~ Francis Zachman

Boys Town ~ John Watson

Boys Town ~ Ralph Vigil

Boys Town ~ David Vallier

Boys Town ~ Douglas Two Shields

Boys Town ~ Charles Thompson

Boys Town ~ James Swyt

Boys Town ~ Lloyd Stahl

Boys Town ~ Leroy Spiller

Boys Town ~ Michael Skaff

Boys Town ~ Philip Silvia

Boys Town ~ Daniel Serdinsky

Boys Town ~ Dennis Seek

Boys Town ~ Jon Scott

Boys Town ~ John Schmidt

Boys Town ~ James Sanford

Boys Town ~ Lawrence Salazar

Boys Town ~ Gary Rusterholz

Boys Town ~ Donald Roberts

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