Radigan praised for public service Mayor William Radigan's final journey to Calvary Cemetery fittingly was by fire truck instead of hearse. Radigan's daughters (at right) watch as his sons, serving as pallbearers, lift his casket to volunteer firemen who secured it on the back of Engine #1 following funeral services at St. Agnes Church. by David Lias Hundreds of people from not only Vermillion but also from across South Dakota crowded into St. Agnes Catholic Church Saturday morning to pay final respects to William Radigan.
Radigan's achievements � ranging from volunteer fireman and VFW adjutant, to city mayor and family man � all were noted in a touching funeral service.
The requiem Mass featured religious and patriotic music, and spoken messages from Father Don Imming, Radigan's children, and Tom Sorensen of the Vermillion Fire Department.
"It's difficult to think of some way to express the feeling that the people of Vermillion have for Bill. I couldn't think of anything better than to think about a person who lived in a nice house with a beautiful, large maple tree in the front yard that shaded it for years and years," Imming said.
The tree had magnificent branches that stretched out over the whole area of that front yard, and one day it got struck by lightning, and had to be cut down.
"How it would be missed, that glorious tree," Imming said. "None of us is indispensible and Bill was not indispensible, but he certainly will be missed like that maple tree."
Imming reminded those attending Radigan's funeral that it is always better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.
"Maybe I didn't know Bill as well as many here did," he said. "Maybe there were times when he cursed the darkness, but I think he lit a lot of candles."
Imming said the church remembers the life of Jesus by referring to him as the "suffering servant."
"There are several poems in Isaiah's proverbs in the New Testament that talk about the suffering servant," Imming said. "In my visits with the family, we all agreed that there is one word that best describes Bill, and that word is service."
Serving other people was part and parcel of Radigan's entire life, Imming said. "Down through the years, Bill had been involved in all types of community activities in which he served others."
Son pays tribute to father
Dan Radigan presented this eulogy at his father's funeral Saturday.
"Today we are paying tribute to a son of Vermillion, a classmate, an athlete, a truancy officer, a school bus driver, a director of transportation, a fellow comrade, a lower gunner on a B-17, a VFW member, a state department quartermaster adjutant, a firefighter, a councilman, the mailman, my grade school coach, a baseball commissioner, a Tanager fan, a Coyote fan, the mayor, a lobbyist, a friend, a neighbor, a South Dakotan a faithful servant of God.
"To a son, a brother, Uncle Bill, a great-grandpa, a grandpa, a loving husband, our father.
"We cleared messages on our answering machine one night this week; there were many of them. 'Bill, the meeting time for tomorrow has changed.' 'Bill, I'm wondering if you can share some thoughts at the upcoming dedication.' His daughter called to check on him. 'Can you stop by city hall and review a contract at your convenience? It needs to be signed by tomorrow.' 'I was wondering if you could return a call, I have a question about the VFW.' A granddaughter calls to see how he's doing. 'Can you come to the elementary school and talk briefly about patriotism?' There were many more…
"I appreciate the representation of the Veterans of Foreign Wars who are present this morning. My father was proud that he was called to serve his country. He was proud to be an American and to have fought for the freedom we enjoy today. He was proud of the American flag. He was proud of our national anthem. He was proud of the decorated soldier sitting in the front row of this church � his son Bill Jr. He was proud of the decorated soldier that has gone before him � his son Randy.
"I appreciate the representatives of the Vermillion Fire Department who are present this morning. When the whistle blew,
we knew my father was on his
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he was often the first one to the fire hall.
As kids, we would run to the corner of our street because the assigned routing to get out of town would take them by our house. It wasn't necessary to wave because Dad was focusing on his task of driving the truck, being on the radio, sounding the sirens.
To all of those who served in the past on the department and to you active members here today, you were my father's extended family, and in recent years, his adopted sons. My father would ask of all of you today, please continue to answer the call, protect our community, and do what you can to make the department strong.
While my father was a city mail carrier, he took pride in being accurate with every box. He not only knew every house in the community, he knew its address and the names of the families who have lived there. When he became a rural mail carrier, his biggest challenge was during the winter months. He took pride in telling us upon his return home that he made it to every box.
My father loved the city of Vermillion. He was proud to serve this community. We are all very proud of our father's accomplishments. But his greatest work was done at his home on North Dakota Street. My father was a very loving husband. A banner that hung forever in our kitchen read: The best thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother. On behalf of all my brothers and sisters, I thank God for having given us such wonderful parents. May their examples continue to affect our lives forever. God bless both of you!