SUMMER 2014 / VOL. 14 ISSUE 2
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John Alley

Milwaukee-based photographer, adventurer and explorer John Alley died after a severe illness on Feb. 25, 2014, after a two-day stay at Columbia-St.Mary's Hospital in Ozaukee County. He had been in failing health with diabetes and related ailments

Among his many professional memberships, John belonged to the American Geographical Society, The Explorers Club and American Institute of Exploration. He traveled to remote corners of the world in search of the best photo, winning numerous awards for his work. From 1968 to 1979, he was the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s chief photographer and was a pioneer in medical photography. After leaving UWM, he was corporate photographer at what was then the Wisconsin Gas Co. until 1995.

Early in his career, John was director of photography for the government of American Samoa. Subsequent assignments took him to 26 countries, and his work was carried in Time and Newsweek magazine.

An avid Scot, he was active for years in the St. Andrew's Society and was a longtime supporter of the Milwaukee Highland Games. Being a Scot was not a problem for The Irish American Post because this publication utilized his services for years as our chief photographer. He also was a regular photographer for Milwaukee Irish Fest. 

After all, a Celt is a Celt is a Celt. Among his many jobs for The Post, John photographed the remote Tory Island off the Irish coast and became good friends of the "King of Tory Island," painter/story teller Patsy Dan Patsy Dan Rodgers (Patsaí Dan Mac Ruaidhrí). He also photographed noted Irish and Northern Irish political and cultural leaders for The Post when they visited Chicago and Milwaukee, including Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams and Irish presidents Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese.

St. Andrew's Society honored John at the Society's annual "Kirking of the Tartan," on April 6, at Milwaukee’s All Saints Cathedral. He was sent off in fine style with bagpipes. His body has been cremated.

— Martin Hintz, publisher, The Irish American Post


Kathleen O. Sweeney

An avid enthusiast of all things Irish, Kathleen O. Sweeney of Madison, Wis., died on February 11, 2014, at age, 81. She was very proud of her Irish heritage and devoted much of her life in retirement traveling to Ireland, collecting information about and artifacts of Ireland, including Irish lace and related textiles, bog oak items, peat postcards, Irish jewelry and many books relating to anything Irish. For  many years, she worked as an occupational therapist with the State of Wisconsin. 

Her contacts at museums throughout Ireland  brought her many friendships that she cherished. Katie was often asked to lecture to groups about Irish textiles, and could usually be found at Irish Fest in Milwaukee, extolling the benefits of being Irish and making many become "wanna-be Irish". 

An auction of her personal effects will be held on Aug. 2 and 3 at the University Research Center just outside Madison.  In her near 50 years of retirement, Kathleen did not miss a corner of the world that intrigued her.  In those travels, she became a collector and student of textiles and sewing tools, postcards tattoo, indigenous people, penguins, Scandinavia, especially the Sami people, along with 3,000-4,000 books.  Many of these items will be offered at the auction.

Katie lived a wonderful and rewarding life and had a strong desire to keep going but her heart and lungs could not take the pace.   Knowing this would be a fate to accept, Katie therefore left the bulk of her estate to the University of Wisconsin School of Ecology to use for education and example for those young folks who find a passion for those things Katie found life enriching. 

The public is invited attend the auction and see just what one woman can accomplish in retirement.   For more information, contact Carole Bendtse,, or home phone in the evenings at 608-271-9660.

Memorial donations to The Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection at The Ruth Kelterer Harris Library in Katie's name would be appreciated: Gifts of any amount in support of the HLATC can be made online at:  To mail a gift, please make check payable to UW Foundation/HLATC and mail to: UW Foundation, US Bank Lockbox, Box 78807, Milwaukee, WI 53278-0807.

— Carole Bendtse


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Milwaukee, WI  53217
Phone: 414-540-6636

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