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Dr. Evelyn Shields Mudd: Saginaw History, Ireland, and Irish Brown Bread

“When Evelyn Shields was a kid gowning up in Saginaw, she used to listen to her grandfather tell tales about life as a lumberjack.”

-The Saginaw News, September 21, 1986

Dr. Evelyn Shields Mudd was important in preserving and interpreting Saginaw’s history and her passing last year has left a void. Whether you knew her as a colleague, professor, or friend – or in more than one capacity, you could be certain that she would be there to lead or help with a project, and she would share her love and passion for history and the arts.

Her doctorate from the University of Michigan was in Irish Studies and in preparation for her dissertation, she was awarded a fellowship to study in Ireland for a year. A careful student of communication, the title of one of her early articles was “The Rhetoric of Emerging Nationalism: A Case Study in Irish Rhetorical Failure.” Her passion for Ireland was equaled by her passion for Saginaw’s heritage. She served on numerous boards and committees – including serving as an officer on the Historical Society of Saginaw County’s Board of Trustees.

Above: Evelyn contributed to numerous Saginaw history publications, including a history of Saginaw published to celebrate the national Bicentennial history of Saginaw.

Below we have reprinted Evelyn’s obituary. It lists her interests, achievements, and community involvement.

Mudd, Evelyn 1/10/1938 - 7/10/2022 Saginaw, Michigan Mudd, Evelyn S., age 84, passed away Sunday, July 10, 2022 at Covenant Healthcare-Cooper with her husband holding her hand. Evelyn was born January 10, 1938 in Saginaw, Michigan, the daughter of Carl and Estelle (Wargacki) Shields. She graduated from St. Peter and Paul High School in 1956. She finished her schooling at the University of Michigan with a doctorate in Irish Studies. Evelyn retired from Delta College after teaching for many years in the English department. Evelyn was united in marriage to Thomas Mudd on November 30, 2002 at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Saginaw, Michigan. During her long professional career, Evelyn held leadership positions in many organizations and groups: American Association of University Women (AAUW), Saginaw County Hall of Fame, Castle Museum of Saginaw County History, Rotary Club, Japanese Cultural Center and Tea House, Historic Preservation Society, and the City of Saginaw Historic District Commission, among others. Evelyn enjoyed the challenges and learning offered by her extensive travels: Ireland (many times), China, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, Italy, Scandinavia, Bermuda, along with cruises to Alaska and the Caribbean, and tours on Route 66 and the Grand Canyon, and more. Evelyn is survived by her loving husband of 20 years, Thomas, and her siblings: David (Evelyn) Shields, John (Barbara) Shields, Joseph Shields, William Shields, Katherine Sproull and Barbara Weaver, nieces and nephews: Priscilla, Monica, Jennifer, Casey, Austin, and a special great-nephew, Jack. Besides her parents, Evelyn was preceded in death by brother, Dennis, and sister, Dorothy. FUNERAL: Funeral Mass for Evelyn will take place Friday, July 15, 2022 at 11:00 AM from the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption Church, 615 Hoyt Ave., Saginaw, MI 48607. Rev. Fr. Prentice Tipton to officiate. VISITATION: Family and friends are welcome to gather at Deisler Funeral Home, 2233 Hemmeter Road.

As you make Evelyn Mudd’s recipe for Irish Brown Bread, note that she did not find this recipe in a cookbook. It was shared with her by a woman she met on her travels in Ireland. She found this recipe in much the same way she attentively listened to her grandfather’s stories.

The Recipe: Evelyn Mudd's Irish Brown Bread*

1 cup coarse ground brown flour

1 cup white flour

1 ½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

2 oz butter

1 Tbsp sugar

1 sm egg

1 ¼ cup buttermilk

Mix dry ingredients. Add butter. Mix egg and buttermilk and gradually add to dry ingredients.

Grease 8 inch round pan. Pour batter into pan.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes at 400° over. Overcook rather than undercook.

Note: *Evelyn Mudd encountered a woman in Ireland who gave this prize-winning recipe to her.


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