It is with profound sadness that the McNulty family shares the news of the passing of Emily, their family’s matriarch, mother, “Glam-ma”, great “Glam-ma”, aunt, godmother and treasured friend to so many, in the early morning hours of Monday, June 26th. She was 98 years old (1925-2023). Emily truly lived a life well lived.
Born by a mid-wife at home (often common in 1925), she was the daughter of George and Anna Gago who had immigrated from Czechoslovakia. Not many can say this, but Emily lived her entire 98 years within a 50 block radius in the greater Milwaukee area. Always impeccably dressed and coifed with a keen sense of style in fashion and home decorating, her French twist hairstyle was her signature.
She was a graduate of the class of 1939 from St. Michael’s Grade School. St. Michael’s perhaps has one of the most active and well run alumni programs in the country (remember this is a grade school!). Emily was passionately active in running key year reunions for her class, even hosting the 70th in her home and garden.
Emily had many fond memories and again established lifelong friendships when she attended Holy Angels Academy, graduating with the class of 1943. Once again, she used her creative talents to spearhead the reunions to ensure they were well orchestrated with eye catching invitations, angel name tags, programs and centerpieces.
Emily was honored to be awarded 1 of the 7 Boston Store Retail College Scholarships, assisting her to attend Marquette University. She was so proud to represent Marquette University on the Boston Store College Travel Bureau reception committee, modeling for their fashion shows and working as an assistant buyer in Better Sportswear. She earned her BA in Business Administration in 1948. At Marquette, she met the love of her life and future husband of 53 years, Truman Quentin McNulty, who she fondly referred to as “Tru-heart”. His exceptional ballroom dancing skills and many MU mixers sealed the deal. She had a storybook wedding in 1950, with her wedding dress from Hixon’s, reception in the Imperial Grand Ballroom of the Pfister Hotel, a full orchestra and 300 in attendance.
Family was everything to Emily. She provided her children/grandchildren with guidance, discipline, strength, family values, work ethic and was supportive of their dreams. 110% of her focus was on her husband and raising her children, Mark, Mary Kay, Brian, and Erin. She was often teased for having the perfectly planned Catholic family, having them two years a part.! Her career became roles, such as scout den mother of Pack 56, Den 7, supreme hostess of countless elaborately decorated themed birthday parties for the children, Marquette High School Mother’s Guild, DSHA Parent’s Club, and more. On her husband’s side, a member of Milwaukee Lawyer’s Wives (hosting May 1 Law Day for new USA citizens), State Bar of Wisconsin and ABA Lawyer’s Wives, board member of Marquette University Association of Women, and hosted the MU “Dinner for 12 Strangers” that brought new students and faculty together. She also devoted time to two Wauwatosa Women’s Clubs, was a lifetime member of the Christ Child Society and Slovak Catholic Sokols Wreath 93. Always very proud of her 100% Slovak heritage. She was a consummate host to home dinner parties, Washington Highland’s newcomer parties, coffees for various political candidates, and too many more to mention.
What was truly remarkable about Emily was her wide range of friends from all backgrounds and ages, sometimes 25 years her junior to 20 years her senior, who came to her for advice, decorating tips, recipes, serving dishes, party planning decorations, etc. She was even nominated by a young, just married lawyer for the Milwaukee Journal Best Cook on the Block publication.
Emily always said she lived a charmed life. A travel agent friend of her once told her “You are not considered well traveled until you book passage on the QE-2, fly the Concorde and ride the Orient Express.” Emily accomplished all 3. She treasured her two trips to her mother’s home village in Slovakia, once with her mother and 25 years later with her daughter. One of her cherished memories was attending the Presidential Inauguration and Ball in Washington DC.
Emily’s last years were graced by the immeasurably compassionate care and loving, loyal and constant support of Betty V. Heartfelt thanks to the other caregivers who also supported Emily on her final journey. They all were instrumental in allowing her to stay in the Highland’s home she treasured since 1971.
Just a glimpse into the life of a 98 year old woman who gave so much to so many for them to succeed and enjoy life.
Emily is reunited in heaven with her husband Truman (2004), daughter Erin (2010), son Mark (2019), brother Rudy Gago (1983) and her faithful canine companion Riley (2021). She leaves to celebrate her life her devoted daughter Mary Kay of San Francisco, loving son Brian (Luanne) of Green Bay, cherished grandchildren Natalie Bowling (Scott), Kelly, Brigette and Sam and great-grandson Ace Bowling, along with many other relatives and friends. Visitation for Emily will be on Friday, July 7th from 4 PM – 7 PM at Wisconsin Memorial Park, Chapel of the Chimes, 13235 W. Capitol Dr. Brookfield. Mass will be on Saturday, July 8th at 12 Noon, with eulogies at 11:50 AM, at St. Sebastian Catholic Church, 5400 W. Washington Blvd., Milwaukee. Private interment.
Contributions to the Truman & Emily McNulty Scholarship and Award Fund at Marquette University Law School (Checks may be made payable to Marquette University Law School, with McNulty Fund written in the memo line. Please mail checks to Marquette University, PO Box 7013, Carol Stream, IL 60197-7013.) or the Wisconsin Humane Society (4500 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53208) requested.
Mom, you are now reunited with dad and enjoying a ballroom dance that will last an eternity. As was your telephone ritual with Brigette, we say to you “we love you, we love you more, we love you the mostest, we love you to the moon and now love you to the heavens”.
Truman & Emily McNulty Scholarship and Award Fund at Marquette University Law School
PO Box 7013, Carol Stream IL 60197-7013
Please make checks payable to: "Marquette University Law School"
Please enter on the check memo line: "McNulty Fund"
Wisconsin Humane Society
4500 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee WI 53208