Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Charlie Lyons Coughlin, Leonard Lyons’ cousin

Became a millionaire/ hired to beat up on unions, he took over Briggs-Stratton corp.He donated a bell-tower to his almaMater, So.Dak.U, so he was then known as
‘Silo Charlie’.

I met him once, dropped in while hitchhiking around Milwaukee. His wife, Coletta , still did the cooking (awful!)—but he had a full-wall closet filled with shoes. (One significant feature of poverty is worn-out childrens’ shoes.)

He visited us once in Cresco, found out we had no radio, and donated a huge floor set which we used during my entire childhood. We then realized how rich he was, and resented that he did not give more to us.

A tragic/comic contact with my father:
We were desperate, so Dad took mother’s expensive wedding ring for collateral, and went off to borrow $1k from Charlie.
Charlie took the ring—but then he and Dad went out drinking, and Dad returned with almost no money, but a suitcase full of frozen ducks.

Charlie kept the ring for years, until Dad was more solvent, could pay back the loan. Mother never forgave him.

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