Herald JournalHerald Journal, Sept. 5, 2005

Sculpture to Humphrey dedicated in Waverly

By Lynda Jensen

Warm stories and vivid memories highlighted a personable ceremony to dedicate a sculpture and memorial in honor of Hubert H. Humphrey Sept. 10 in Railroad Park, Waverly.

The bust and granite marker were unveiled by members of the Humphrey family, who were on hand for the event, along with other notable guests and legislators.

“It’s funny how – when you leave a town – your memories are twice as good,” commented Bob Humphrey, Hubert Humphrey’s son.

Buck Humphrey, a grandson, recalled a number of humourous stories about Waverly when he was young, putting around town in a Model T of his father’s, and “borrowing” apples as a boy from other people’s trees.

“For my father, Waverly was a refuge . . . a place to get away,” Bob Humphrey said.

This is consistent with a quote attributed to Humphrey about Waverly “It’s just a small town near a lake in Minnesota, but to me, it’s the peace of the world.”

Another story remembered was of Humphrey’s special relationship with St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Waverly. Hubert and Muriel Humphrey were Methodists, but would worship at St. Mary’s, observing Mass during special occasions and on Christmas or holidays, commented Joe Campbell of Waverly.

“Father Hermes was here when Hubert was vice president. Father Hermes loved politics and especially loved having a celebrity attend Mass. He dedicated a church pew in honor of Hubert May 26, 1968,” Campbell said.

There is a plaque on the pew yet today, it was noted.

“Father used to tease Hubert about becoming Catholic,” Campbell said. Hubert’s comeback to Father Hermes was “for a Methodist, I’m a pretty good Catholic.”

Granite supporting the bust was quarried from Humphrey’s birthplace, Milbank, SD, and the granite for the marker was from India – selected to symbolize Humphrey’s global vision, and make note of a historic trip he made to that country.

Former Miss Minnesota Tiffany Ogle was on hand to sing the national anthem. Ogle’s father and grandfather were great friends with Hubert Humphrey.

Facts about HHH

Few people may know the following about Hubert H. Humphrey:

• he was once mayor of Minneapolis;

• he served as a United States senator twice (before and after being vice president of the United States);

• and was a graduate student of the University of Minnesota, and later, a professor.

Many in Waverly personally remember a rally conducted by Humphrey on the steps of the Village Hall during his presidential campaign in 1968.

Humphrey’s last public speech in Waverly was during the Memorial Day observance in 1977.

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