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“Red” Heroff was West 7th all the way

As sure as the fall leaves turn in West 7th, St. Stan’s fall festival unfolds every year on church grounds.

Good fellowship, bouncing kids, second-hand treasures, good causes. Turkey dinners, to go even. And hotdogs and beer.

September 10, 2023. I was there just like every year. Yes, it was crowded. I had to park in Hastings. But no way was I going to miss out.

First order of business, I bee-lined it to the hotdog stand in the parish garage. I needed a Diet Coke and three hotdogs stat. And I needed to see “Red” Heroff.

Red’s wife, Pat, was there with sons, David and Greg. Red was one week gone to heaven to see Blessed Father John Clay who preceded him by 3 years. 

Red was West 7th all the way. Born at Miller Hospital. Grade school: St. Stan’s. Monroe grad, 1954. Uncle Sam sent Red to Germany for two years. He was back to West 7th in 1960.

Red was a lifelong steel molder for three different foundries supplying railroad ball bearings to the Omaha shops. The steel had to be liquefied at 2200°. “A bit hotter than boiling hotdogs,” Red would say.

Pat was born and raised in Browns Valley Minnesota. Her family moved to St. Paul in time for her to start high school at Monroe in 1953.

Interestingly, Pat and Red never met until 1965 over a beer at Friendly’s bar (now Skarda’s). Pat said they pretty much hit it off really well, married a year later and were, “happy as clams for 57 years,” in their West 7th house.

They raised 5 children in the “hood.” Pat worked secretarial and office assistant jobs. They tragically lost their daughter Chris (motorcycle crash) and son, Justin (colon cancer).

Pat said she got tricked into the Fall Festival Chairwomanship in 1972, but, “just for 1 year that turned into 25 years.” Red and others co-chaired the last 15 years. Red always did the hot dogs.

A ”friend of St Stans” has always donated the “dogs” and Keenen’s Bar the beer.

Approximately $20,000 was raised this year for general parish funds.

Two Red tidbits: ice was cut and stored from Crosby Lake in the early days and later from scraped-indoor hockey rinks.

Red passed at the end of this August, just before Fall Festival. we

Pat and I had a long phone visit September 15.Times were obviously still tender. But Pat is happy Red is with Justin and Chris and knows Father Clay has his arms around them.

She had just gotten some extraordinary news that her sibs and kids were sending her to Paris 

at the end of September!

“I’m going to bring Red,” she said.

“In an urn?” I asked.

“In my heart. And we’re going to try a French hot dog, if there is such a delicacy.”

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