Mildred Daly McGilvery was born November 29, 1899, the daughter of George Daly and Margaret Galeese Daly. She was a dark haired girl with exceptionally blue eyes. Her brother, Bob Daly, would describe her as beautiful. As a young girl she learned to play classical piano very well but she also enjoyed singing. Favorite songs included ,. such Irish ones as, Danny Boy, When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, and McNamara’s Band. Daughter, Adele, remembers her singing this verse:
“Rain, when’s it gonna rain again? Rain, make the flowers grow again. Showers I’m countin’ on you.”
Mildred met Hugh McGilvery at a dance while he was stationed at Wright Field. He loved calling her “toots” and would often drive her to Middletown to visit her cousins on a motorcycle with a side car. They were married on November 27, 1919. Hugh was always proud of Mildred, he liked to show her off when she was dressed pretty. He gave her aprons of silk that he had purchased while he was in France:during WW I. She especially Jooked good in blue.
Mildred always cooked big suppers for her family of four children. Adele would remember smelling her mother’s homemade ketchup as she played down the street. On Sunday’s there would be a large meal after church and then Mildred would take a nap. She was often tired after a Saturday night spent in her parents basement drinking beer with her family. A few days before Thanksgiving, Mildred and Hugh would buy a live turkey and keep it in their backyard. They would then kill it and Mildred would fix it for the big day.
Mildred was always busy with her housekeeping and raising her children. She also helped her mother clean every spring. The wallpaper had to be washed down because of the dirt residue from the coal furnace. And the lace curtains needed washed, starched, and stretched, before they could be hung.
As a grandmother, Mildred was wonderful. Helping granddaughter, Christine, with her homework, babysitting, and caring for all her grandchildren. She was a great storyteller and Christine remembered one silly poem she would often recite:
“Once upon a time, The goose drank wine, The monkey chewed tobacco on the street car line. The line broke, The monkey got choked, And they all went to heaven in a little row boat!”
On Sunday night, Hugh would hang the clothes line for Monday was a wash day. And on Monday night he would take it down. If it rained on Monday Mildred would hand the clothes in the basement to dry. In the winter she hung them by the furnace.
Hugh Jr., Mildred’s oldest son joined the Navy to fight in World War II. These times of worry were a prelude to even sadder times ahead. Next her youngest son, Jimmy, joined the Marines to fight in the Korean War. Telegraphs sent home only intensified her fears as Jimmy was wounded several times and eventually had his right leg amputated.
It was during this time that Mildred discovered a lump in her breast and chose to ignore it. Eventually the pain was so bad that Adele forced her to go to the doctor and surgery was performed. Her heartbreak continued with the accidental death of her husband and inseparable companion, Hugh. Mildred almost made five years without a trace of cancer. After it reoccurred she was to go through another five years of physical pain. Adele remained very devoted to her mother, making sure she had her prescriptions and visiting her in the hospital every other day. Adele’s children remembered their disappointment one Christmas when their ;Grandma was supposed to stay at their home. They had rented a special bed for her but a tearful Mildred refused to come afraid something would happen to her frail body. Trips to the hospital meant they would have to wait in the car while their mother visited. Children could ohly visit with special permission.
- Adele Hilgeford, daughter
- Florence Minch, cousin
- Bob Daly, brother
- Christine Connor, granddaughter
- Tombstone at Calvary Cemetery