Father Grubba featured

A familiar named popped up in a recent edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — the Rev. Dale Grubba.

Grubba had been a parish priest in Waterloo some years ago and today he’s the priest for two small parishes in the Neshkoro, Wis., area. He is soon to be 80 years old, but continues with this priestly duties and also has a variety of different “hobbies,” if you will, including running, woodworking and, of course, his beloved auto racing.

The Journal Sentinel article traced Grubba’s life from his early school days right up to the present. He has survived some difficult health issues, including a heart attack and also back surgery. Still, he’s determined to get back to running.

When Grubba was in Waterloo, he was a regular at various auto races and would be called upon to say a prayer for safety for the drivers who would be competing in a matter of minutes. He also blessed many of the cars and drivers over decades of work, and met and called the biggest names in racing his friends.

Some years ago the Checkered Racing News, a Watertown-based racing magazine owned by John and Doris Quinn, often carried bylines by Grubba. He was a regular contributor. The Checkered Flag Racing News is no longer published, but it was located across the street from the former Daily Times offices on West Main Street. We’d pop in occasionally to see John and Doris hard at work pulling together the next issue of the magazine.

Grubba is a colorful priest and if you have a chance to read the Journal Sentinel article written by Dave Kallmann, it will show you just how deeply Grubba is connected to racing and his many other hobbies.

Over the years, the Daily Times and the Waterloo Courier carried articles on the “Racing Priest” and his many exploits that always took second place to his priestly duties.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Most people who have lived in this area for any amount of time know about the connection Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the “Little House” series of books, has in Jefferson County.

While that famous author never lived in the town of Concord, where she is often mentioned as being connected, her family does have strong ties to that small community.

Those came to the surface again with an in-depth article on the home in Concord, which has the connections to Laura.

Joanne Kempinger Demski, wrote a special article, complete with photos by Michael Sears of the Journal Sentinel staff, about that home, which today is owned by John and Beth Jennings.

The home was featured because of the many Christmas decorations they add to the home this time of year. Beth said in the article, “Our little farmstead shines around Christmas. It’s a Christmas house, simple and sweet.”

So how is Laura Ingalls Wilder connected to this beautifully decorated home?

In the Journal Sentinel article, Beth explains, “Laura was born in Pepin, but her parents, Charles and Caroline Quiner Ingalls (known as ‘Ma and Pa Ingalls’ in the books), met and married here. And Laura’s step-grandfather, Frederick Marshall Holbrook (who married Laura’s grandmother, Charlotte Wallis Tucker Quiner Holbrook), also built and lived in our home. Maybe she (Laura) visited here one day.”

With that kind of background, it’s easy to see why John and Beth fell in love with the home and made it into something very special.

Again, there is a compilation of about 25 photos as part of the digital article and they clearly show the love the Jennings’ have for this historical home.

The New Year

We’re now into the new year only three days so it’s hard to tell just what is in store for all of us. For starters, it would be nice if we could get politics in this country a little more cordial with both sides working toward common goals. But, this is an election year so don’t expect miracles.

Also, with the start of a new decade, it got us thinking about how many decades I’ve been part of. I was born in the late 1940s, meaning I’ve now been around for at least part of nine decades. And, that statistic alone reminds many of us that time is marching on, rather quickly, I might ad.

Enjoy the New Year and make it everything it can be for you and your loved ones. Remember, the best is yet to come.


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