Martin John “Marty” Deignan Jr.
85, of Winona, MN, formerly of Monroe, WI, passed away peacefully on Sunday, May 1, 2022, at Callista Court Assisted Living in Winona.
Marty was born in Beloit, WI on January 20, 1937 to Martin John Deignan and Josephine Lillian Murphy and raised in Edgerton, WI. He was a 1955 graduate of Edgerton High School where he found much enjoyment and success playing football, basketball, tennis and baseball. Marty pursued undergraduate and graduate studies in physical education at the University of Notre Dame in 1959 and at UW-Madison in 1967. On June 25, 1960, he married Mary Margaret Solheim in the Catholic Church St. Ann in Stoughton, WI. He was drafted into the U.S. Army that same summer and spent the majority of his two-year term at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indiana.
Marty enjoyed a 35-year teaching and coaching career in Monroe Public Schools. He was the Cheesemakers’ baseball head coach for ten years and men’s basketball assistant coach for 12 seasons. He also spent seven seasons as an assistant women’s basketball coach.
Marty was passionate about providing opportunities for physical activity and recreation of all kinds. He spent 25 years on the Monroe Park Board of Directors, helping to create and oversee recreational opportunities for all ages. Beginning in 1980, he transformed the Monroe Little League baseball program from a daytime program with 50 children playing in the afternoons to one involving 400 players and volunteers and 22 participating teams. He taught tennis with the Department of Parks and Recreation for most of his time in Monroe. He ran the local Kiwanis basketball program for 13 years.
In order to support his growing family, Marty established his own summer “Monroe Sports School” which he ran from the gymnasium of St. Victor’s School for 11 years. The kids worked on baseball, basketball and general fitness skills as they cycled through the stations and tracked their progress. Participants were tested on a variety of skills to improve their individual performance and set standards to which other children could aspire. For hundreds of young Monroes and her own children, it was a highlight of the summer.
Marty was an active WIAA basketball, baseball and football official and also a USTA collegiate tennis official. Marty was a firm believer in providing quality sporting and recreational activities, as well as promoting the rules, knowledge and sportsmanship necessary for successful participation. Sportsmanship has always been a key ingredient in all of Marty’s programs over the years, as he has strongly and consistently promoted respect for all players, coaches and officials as a means of maintaining the integrity of all people and games we play.
Marty was a member of the Catholic Church, affiliated with St. Joseph’s in Edgerton, St. Victor’s in Monroe, and St. Thomas Aquinas in Madison. Over the years, he has been actively involved with the Knights of Columbus and in various aspects of parish leadership, as well as liturgical ministries of reading and distributing Communion. Marty was unabashedly proud of his Irish heritage, particularly enjoying his travels in Ireland and reveling in Celtic music and culture wherever he found it.
Moving to Madison during his retirement years, Marty transitioned from organizer to participant. From his new home in All Saints Neighborhood, he has traveled nationally and internationally and has taken many downhill skiing, hiking, or rollerblading trips, as well as many Road Scholar adventures. Closer to home, he regularly played tennis, enjoyed all of Wisconsin’s state parks, and attended countless theatrical and musical events.
Marty was predeceased by his wife Mary (in 1986), two infant children and two grandchildren. He is survived by his sister Patricia Mages, his sister-in-law Sandy Solheim, his many nieces and nephews, and his ten children: Annmarie (Tom) DeMarais, Patrick (Carol) Deignan, Teresa (Michael) Naughton, Michael (Michelle) Deignan, John (Antonia) Deignan, Colleen (Dan) Koll, Maureen (Jim) Tostrud, Katy (Brian) McGrane, Joseph (Megan) Deignan, Sara (Travis) Thompson. He is survived by 42 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren, as well as a faithful friend and companion of the past 20 years, Marge Mead.
The family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to the caring and caring staff at Callista Court and Winona Health Hospice who partnered with us as we walked with Dad in the final months of his life. Until the end, Marty remained a man on the move.
A Christian burial mass will be held on Monday, May 9, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. at St. Clare of Assisi Parish of St. Victor Catholic Church with Father Tafadzwa Kushamba officiating. Interment will be at Calvary Cemetery, Monroe, followed by lunch at St. Victor’s School. Visitations will precede Mass starting at 9:00 a.m. on May 9. Commemorations are suggested at the Monroe Department of Parks and Recreation or Callista Court Assisted Living. The Newcomer Funeral Home, Monroe, is helping the family. Condolences can be shared at www.newcomerfuneralhome.net