Fifty-five years of service as an insurance and investment advisor to more than 1,000 residents of Webster Count ended in 2021 when J. Mick Flaherty joined the ranks of retirees, many of whom were formerly his clients.
Early on he considered being a Catholic coach or priest – and after graduating from St. Edmond High School in 1964, he attended Conception Seminary in Missouri.
“When we graduated from St. Edmond, Monsignor (Leonard) Ziegmann thought I should try the seminary, at least for the summer school. “ said Flaherty. “I couldn’t think of a good reason not to. I attended seminary for the next two years. At that time, you were only allowed to leave campus twice per semester. Realizing there was more to do, I left and graduated from Creighton. There I met (his wife) Alyce – and our children are grateful that we have met.
Flaherty has followed in his father’s footsteps and has no regrets.
“You have good and bad in all of this” said Flaherty. “I’m glad I held onto it. It’s been a good career and I feel like I’m helping people build better lives. I felt the insurance industry was a good fit for me as I was able to help people save and protect their families.
Flaherty’s father, John Flaherty, started in Fort Dodge insurance in 1947 with Central Life Assurance Co., and Mick Flaherty started in 1967 with the same company. Now called Central Financial Group, the company has been in Fort Dodge for 116 years.
John Flaherty grew up in Moorland and was the first paid basketball and baseball coach at Corpus Christi High School (the predecessor of St. Edmond High School).
“In the morning Dad worked in insurance and in the afternoon he taught and coached. said Flaherty.
John Flaherty moved to the Central Life office in Jefferson in 1951 before returning to Fort Dodge in 1959 when the Jefferson and Fort Dodge branches were merged.
Mick Flaherty is one of four children of Ellen and John Flaherty. Her sister, Mary Ellen Pospishil, lives in Omaha, Nebraska; Brother Jim is with Central Financial Group in Fort Dodge and Brother Tom lives in Mason City. John Flaherty died in 2008 and Ellen Flaherty died in 2017.
After graduating with a BA in Marketing and Management from Creighton in 1969, Flaherty began working at Central Life in Omaha. In his senior year, he met Alyce Moss at a party. Originally from Carthage, Missouri, she was working as a registered nurse at the Bergan Mercy Hospital in Omaha at the time. They were married on April 4, 1970 and decided to return to Fort Dodge while their firstborn, Tim, was on the way.
In Fort Dodge, he joined his father at the Flaherty Insurance Agency under the umbrella of Central Life.
Flaherty received numerous industry awards along the way and was an active member of the Iowa Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. In 2001, he received the AmerUs Life Distinguished Service Award. It was all the more special since his father had received the same award in the 80s.
He has been active in the Fort Dodge community as a volunteer in numerous organizations, serving on the Holy Trinity Finance Board, past President of the Fort Dodge Catholic School Board, member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Board of Trustees , founding member of Webster County Crime. Stoppers and past president of the Knights of Columbus.
Until COVID-19 curtailed hospital visits, Flaherty delivered Holy Communion to people in hospital and nursing homes. He remains active with the Holy Trinity Catholic Church as a bailiff.
Alyce and Mick Flaherty have five children: Tim, who was the manager of HyVee at Fort Dodge when he passed away suddenly last September, married to Jodi with children Shannon, Sean, Katie and Maggie; Krysi, massage therapist in Eugene, Oregon; Lisa Reisner, third grade teacher at Duncombe School in Fort Dodge, married to Ryan with their children McKenzie and Calahan; Susan Laufersweiler, Director of Development at St. Edmond and Holy Trinity Parish, married to Mark with children JT, Griffin and Josie; Amy White, second grade teacher at Altoona, married to Adam with children Kaleb, Kennedy and Caroline.
Mick played football in St. Edmond and remembers his coach Dick Tighe calling him “The slowest running back he has ever coached.” Few grandfathers and grandsons can claim to have played for the same coach, but so do Flaherty and his grandson Sean, who graduated from the University of Iowa this year. The legendary Tighe trained them both.
Susan Laufersweiler said this about her parents:
“As a family, we’ve been fortunate that Dad works hard to provide us with hot dogs, but also has the flexibility to be our biggest fan and support us by participating in all of our activities. He has always taught us the importance of treating others with compassion and living the Golden Rule. He always believed that by giving to others, you receive much more. His efforts to show us this made him an incredible agent. We are so proud of him. We were also very lucky to have Mum at home with us when we were young and I’m sure he was lucky that she was the “real boss” in the office as we got older.
One of the most difficult times for the Flaherty family came on September 6 when Tim Flaherty suddenly passed away from respiratory failure.
Mick Flaherty had what he calls a “Conversation of God” taking a shower after coming home from the hospital after hearing from the doctors that her son would never speak or walk again.
“I asked the Good Lord, what good is all these prayers for this to happen? “ said Flaherty. “God said, ‘Hey, didn’t I keep him alive for another six days (on a ventilator) so his organs could be donated? Well, yes, my God, you did. “Hey, didn’t I keep him alive so the whole family could come here to say goodbye to him?” God said. “Well, yes you did. Then he told me to stop complaining.