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Local Medina County News

Pavilion built in memory of late priest, parishioner

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    Pictured from left are siblings Marianne (Dunphy) Henterly and Jay Dunphy, brothers Michael and Brian Waldron, and brother Terry Dunphy. Siblings of the Rev. Thomas R. Dunphy, former priest at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church of Liverpool Township, and sons of former parishoner Charlie Waldron attended a dedication ceremony of the pavilion and auxilary building Sunday afternoon in memory of Dunphy and Waldron.

    HALEE HEIRONIMUS / GAZETTE

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    The new auxiliary building, left, and Dunphy-Waldron pavilion are shown Sunday outside of St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Liverpool Township.

    HALEE HEIRONIMUS / GAZETTE

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    The Rev. Don Oleksiak, who has assisted at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Liverpool Township for 14 years, leads more than 150 parishioners in prayer during a dedication ceremony Sunday afternoon at the church's new pavilion in honor of the late Rev. Thomas R. Dunphy and former parishioner Charlie Waldron. Also pictured, left, is Don Kelley, grand knight of the church's Knights of Columbus Council.

    HALEE HEIRONIMUS / GAZETTE

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    Phrases, Bible verses and family names are among the messages engraved in 24 picnic tables inside the newly dedicated Dunphy-Waldron pavilion outside of St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Liverpool Township.

    HALEE HEIRONIMUS / GAZETTE

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    The late Charlie Waldron, left, and the late Rev. Thomas R. Dunphy, right, are shown at a dinner in Tampa Bay, Fla., in 2014.

    PHOTO PROVIDED

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LIVERPOOL TWP. — The late Rev. Thomas R. Dunphy of St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church and former parishioner Charlie Waldron were said to be "twin brothers from different mothers."

"They were two happy guys," said Michael Waldron, Charlie's son.

The men were honored during a special dedication Sunday for the newly named Dunphy-Waldron pavilion that sits behind the church at 1800 Station Road.

Dunphy, 86, died from an illness in March. Waldron, 89, died in 2014. Both men are buried in the church cemetery.

After 10:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, more than 150 parishioners filled the pavilion, including three of Dunphy's siblings - Marianne (Dunphy) Henterly, Jay and Terry Dunphy - and Waldron's two sons, Michael and Brian Waldron.

"It was always Dunphy's dream to build a pavilion that could be enjoyed by the entire parish," said Don Kelley, grand knight of the church's Knights of Columbus Council. "He said, 'If we need it, God will provide.'"

The church's Knights of Columbus raised $23,000 and parishioners collected $31,000 to fund the project, including an auxiliary building with restrooms, all completed earlier this year.

The pavilion has 24 picnic tables, each engraved down the middle with a phrase, Bible verse or family's name as a table sponsor.

"They're smiling and probably crying, too, right now," Michael Waldron said of his father and Dunphy.

"I thought this was great to have the ceremony on Father's Day," he added.

The ceremony was led by Kelley and the Rev. Don Oleksiak. Oleksiak, who has assisted at the church for 14 years, led the prayers and spoke about Dunphy.

" 'I shall not refuse labor' was the motto of Martin of Tours ... and that's what I think about Father Dunphy," Oleksiak said. "He had a great love for you, the people. His soul's desire was to lead us closer to the Lord, and he was a faithful servant."

Henterly said her brother always would refer to the church as his family.

"Tom loved the parish and these people," said Dunphy's sister, Marianne Henterly. "He wanted to be buried here. As his family, we are so grateful for the way people treated him as their family all these years."

Dunphy and Charlie Waldron became "buds" after Kelley introduced the two during Mass one Sunday.

"They became very good friends and were so in tune with each other," Kelley said. "I always said come to St. Martin's to visit with a real-life saint on this earth," referring to Dunphy.

Kelley shared that Dunphy would recognize Waldron during Mass to welcome him back from Florida in the spring and give a farewell message when he would leave before the winter months.

Five days before Waldron's death, Olesiak said, Waldron called and said he purchased a 2015 red Buick LaCrosse for Dunphy.

"There was nothing Charlie wouldn't have done for Dunphy and likewise" for Charlie, Michael Waldron said. "Father (Dunphy) gave Dad a lot of peace knowing that he was going to be with God, and we're grateful of Father for doing that."

Contact reporter Halee Heironimus at (330) 721-4012 or hheironimus@medina-gazette.com.

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