In Your Midst


Nov 2002

In This Issue:
Shoe man, Santa man, soul man are several descriptions one could apply to Terry Mondhan, a resident of Chancery Place and a parishioner here since 1986. Terry ushers at the eight o’clock Mass on Sunday mornings and at special events at St. James Cathedral.

The “shoe man” is an expert in fitting shoes, especially children’s shoes. His shoe career started at Nordstrom in 1954 and took him to Anchorage for 12 years, then on to Liberty House in Honolulu until 1986 when he returned to Seattle to retire. But his retirement was short lived. When visiting a friend at the downtown Nordstrom a shoe buyer told him he was needed, and “to start on Monday”. Terry did start that Monday, but not full time. He calls his own shots, working the major sales and conducting workshops to train new personnel on fitting children’s shoes.

“Santa” Terry Mondhan with 3-year old “grand-niece” Georgia.
With his mop of thick white curly hair, bright blue eyes and his Irish grin, it was not surprising that Terry was asked to be the store’s Santa Claus. One November day in 1992 Father Ryan walked past Nordstrom’s Santa’s Workshop on Fifth Avenue when the voice over the loudspeaker called him by name and invited him “to come talk to Santa”. Father Ryan obliged and created quite a stir. Terry has been back every year on the day after Thanksgiving.

“Soul man” is the quiet side of Terry. He was born and grew up in Anacortes. Soon after graduating from Skagit Valley Junior College, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and lived from 1949 to 1954 in the Riverton Sanatorium. During those five years in the sanatorium, Terry understood what it meant to be alone. Later, when well and on his own, he befriended two young men also working at Nordstrom. They weren't making much money, so Terry had them share his apartment. They have become life-long friends. Terry watched them grow and move on into excellent careers and marry while he became “uncle” to their children. One of the families always makes sure Terry spends two months each winter at their Palm Springs home and both have told him he always has a room in their home just for him.

Golden honey from bees must be holy food. It is mentioned in praise sixty-one times in one biblical concordance. Perhaps that is why our Cathedral Choir chaplain Shelda Bernat Dolan has beehives on her Camano Island farm and harvests about 350 pounds of honey each year. And as she tells you, “they are Catholic bees!" They came from a Benedictine Monastery in Devonshire, England.

Shelda is a surgical nurse and works in the operating room of a medical facility in Mount Vernon. She has always loved music, and it has been a part of her life since she learned to sing in the Lutheran church choir in her hometown in Wisconsin.

Years ago, friends of Shelda brought her to St. James for Great Music for Great Cathedrals. Shelda describes it as “one of those mountaintop moments”. It was so stunning she knew she needed to be here. By fall of 1995, Shelda had added her soprano voice to the Cathedral Choir.

Sean, Shelda, Carolyn, and Bill Dolan.
In recent years several of Shelda’s friends adopted infant daughters through an orphanage in China. This led her to begin checking into the adoption process. About the same time, other friends introduced her to Bill Dolan of Everett. He was a widower who had lost his wife to cancer when their son, Sean, was two and a half years old.

Shelda and Bill became very good friends, and no one can resist Sean. Of course, this romantic story just gets better. Shelda told Bill there was a baby girl in her future and Bill said it sounded great to him. Shelda went to China in September of 2000 and came home with Caroline. The baby was very tiny, weighing only 14 pounds at ten months when Shelda brought her home. Now Caroline is an energetic, sparkling-eyed child who celebrated her third birthday November 2nd.

Bill and Shelda made their family complete when Father Ryan married them here at St. James on February 24th, 2001 in the presence of good friends and the Cathedral Choir.

Like all families today, the Dolans balance a busy schedule. They live in Everett during the week; weekends at Fireweed Farm on Camano Island include tending the bees, harvesting honey, sailing their boat on Puget Sound, and, of course, worshiping at the 10 am Sunday Mass at St. James.

As choir chaplain, Shelda has written three collections of prayers for the Sundays of the liturgical year. These wonderful booklets are now available in the Cathedral Bookstore. This is her prayer for the First Sunday of Advent:

Loving and gracious God,
   our hearts yearn for you,
   our Creator.
We are the work of your hands,
   vessels of the potter
   waiting to be filled.
But do not make us wait too long
   for we are weak
   and easily wander astray.
Help us to be vigilant and stay awake.
Lord Jesus, quickly come.

Joan McDonell is a parishioner and a member of the Cathedral Development Committee.

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