Concluding a career of service
Mick Flaherty retires after 55 years as insurance, investment adviser
Fifty-five years of service as an insurance and investment adviser to more than 1,000 Webster Count residents came to a close at the end of 2021 when J. Mick Flaherty joined the ranks of retirees, many of whom were once his customers.
Early on, he considered being a coach or a Catholic 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 give the seminary a try, at least for summer school,” Flaherty said. “I couldn’t think of a good reason not to. I went to the seminary for the next two years. At that time you were only allowed to leave the campus twice a semester. Realizing that there was more to do, I left and graduated from Creighton. There I met (his wife) Alyce — and our kids are grateful that we met.”
Flaherty followed in the career footsteps of his dad and has no regrets.
“You have good and bad in all this,” Flaherty said. “I’m glad I stuck with it. It’s been a good career and I feel I was helping people build better lives. I did feel that the insurance business 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 the insurance business in Fort Dodge in 1947, with the 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 coach for basketball and baseball at Corpus Christi High School (the predecessor to St. Edmond High School).
“In the morning, dad would work on insurance business and in the afternoon he would teach and coach,” Flaherty said.
John Flaherty moved to Central Life’s Jefferson office in 1951 before returning to Fort Dodge in 1959, when the Jefferson and Fort Dodge agencies were combined.
Mick Flaherty is one of four children of Ellen and John Flaherty. His 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 from Creighton in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management, Flaherty began work at Central Life in Omaha. During his senior year, he met Alyce Moss at a party. A native of Carthage, Missouri, she was working at the time as a registered nurse at Bergan Mercy Hospital in Omaha. They married on April 4, 1970, and decided to return to Fort Dodge when their firstborn, Tim, was on his way.
In Fort Dodge, he joined his father at the Flaherty Insurance Agency under the Central Life umbrella.
Flaherty received many industry awards along the way and was an active member of the Iowa Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. In 2001 he was awarded the AmerUs Life Distinguished Service Award. It was all the more special because his dad 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 council, past president of the Fort Dodge Catholic School Board, board member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, charter member of the Webster County Crime Stoppers and former president of Knights of Columbus.
Until COVID-19 limited hospital visits, Flaherty delivered Holy Communion to those in the hospital and nursing homes. He remains active with Holy Trinity Catholic Church as an usher.
Alyce and Mick Flaherty have five children: Tim, who was the HyVee director in Fort Dodge when he died suddenly last September, married to Jodi with children Shannon, Sean, Katie and Maggie; Krysi, a massage therapist in Eugene, Ore.; Lisa Reisner, a third-grade teacher at Duncombe School in Fort Dodge, married to Ryan with their children McKenzie and Calahan; Susan Laufersweiler, development director at St. Edmond and Holy Trinity Parish, married to Mark with children JT, Griffin and Josie; Amy White, a second-grade teacher in Altoona, married to Adam with children Kaleb, Kennedy and Caroline.
Mick played football at St. Edmond and recalls that his coach, Dick Tighe, called him “the slowest running back he ever coached.” Not many grandfathers and grandsons can claim to have played for the same coach, but such is the case for Flaherty and his grandson Sean — who is graduating from the University of Iowa this year. The legendary Tighe coached them both.
Susan Laufersweiler had this to say about her parents:
“As a family, we were blessed that dad worked hard to provide us with hot dogs, but also that he had the flexibility to be our biggest fan and support us by being at all of our activities. He’s always taught us the importance of treating others with compassion and living the Golden Rule. He always felt that in giving to others you receive far more. His efforts to show us that made him an incredible agent. We are so proud of him. We were also so fortunate to have mom at home with us when we were young and I’m sure he was lucky to have her be the ‘real boss’ at the office as we grew older.”
One of the hardest moments in the Flaherty family came last Sept. 6 when Tim Flaherty died suddenly of respiratory failure.
Mick Flaherty had what he calls a “God conversation” while taking a shower after getting home from the hospital after learning from doctors that his son would never talk or walk again.
“I asked the Good Lord, what good are all these prayers for this to happen?” Flaherty said. “God said, ‘Hey, didn’t I keep him alive for an extra six days (on a respirator) so that his organs could be donated?’ Well, yes, God, you did. ‘Hey, didn’t I keep him alive so that all the family could get here to say their goodbyes?’ God said. “Well, yes you did. Then he told me to quit complaining.”