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MCCAULEY, Michael Sylvester
MCCAULEY, Michael Sylvester "Syl." (Dubuque, IA, May 19, 1901--Dubuque, May 22, 1978). MAYOR. McCauley was born to James "Judd" McCauley and Mary Moran McCauley. At that time, most boys named Michael were called "Mickey" and Mary McCauley did not like that thus he became known as "Syl."
McCauley was a member of the first kindergarten class in the newly built (1906) facility at 1st and Bluff STREETS-later known as FRANKLIN SCHOOL. He graduated from DUBUQUE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL in 1918 and in 1921 enrolled at Columbia College )now LORAS COLLEGE. He graduated from Columbia College in January 1925 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a history major. In the fall of 1925, McCauley was advised by Columbia University in New York City that he was the third alternate for the Lydia Roberts Fellowship (history). He traveled to New York by train in September and studied under that fellowship until 1926 when he received his Master of Arts degree.
McCauley played baseball for Columbia College and in 1922 a relative, Tom Conlon, took him to Chicago and introduced him to Charles Albert COMISKEY, owner of the Chicago White Sox. Comiskey talked to McCauley into spending two weeks with the Sox after which time he signed a pitching contract with the Sox to report in 1924. During the summer of 1924 and 1925, McCauley played for Muskegon, Michigan in the Michigan-Ontario League. Later he was sent to the Texarkana League and the season ended in September of 1925. His baseball ability and talent was well-known in the Dubuque County area and in 1991 McCauley was inducted into the DUBUQUE COUNTY BASEBALL HALL OF FAME.
In 1926 McCauley began teaching economics and business law at Senior High School in Dubuque and continued to teacher there until May of 1931.
On August 22, 1928 McCauley married Bernice Fautsch at ST. COLUMBKILLE CATHOLIC CHURCH. Three children were born of this marriage: Francis "Frank" on December 6, 1929 and Sarah "Sally" on March 3, 1934, both born in Dubuque and Michael S. MCCAULEY "Mike" born in Davenport, Iowa on October 21, 1936. He was the uncle of James Joseph MCCAULEY.
In May of 1931 McCauley assumed the position of Director of Recreation for the City of Dubuque. He held that position until April of 1936 when he was appointed by Governor Clyde Herring, a Democrat, as Superintendent of the Iowa Soldiers Orphan Home in Davenport, Iowa. This facility was later known as the Annie Wittenmeyer Home. Due to the election of a Republican governor in 1940, McCauley was not reappointed to the superintendent's position and returned to Dubuque where he practiced law with his brother-in-law, Louis FAUTSCH, Sr.
In 1942 McCauley was appointed as Director of the USO (United Service Organization), a serviceman's recreation club, and was based in Sioux City, Iowa. He later requested a transfer to the OPA (Office of Price Administration) which controlled rationing during wartime and was also responsible for price controls. The family returned to Dubuque in 1945 due to the death of his father-in-law, Frank Fautsch. McCauley worked for a time at McGhee Farm Store in Dubuque.
In January 1947 McCauley accepted a position to teach history at Loras College and to supplement his income began in 1949 to work summers at the DUBUQUE PACKING COMPANY. After being terminated by Loras in 1950, he took a full-time position at the packing company. In 1957 McCauley was elected to his first three-year term as a member of the Board of Directors of the Dupaco Employees Credit Union. He was re-elected and served fifteen years on the board. He was also a member of the Executive Committee and Director of Local 150, Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen, for a number of years.
During his lifetime McCauley was active in local Democratic politics, serving as Precinct Committeeman for the old 1st Precinct. He once said that the precinct caucus in those days could have been held in a phone booth. After his retirement from the Dubuque Packing Company in 1965, he was recruited to be a candidate for the Dubuque City Council, a non-partisan position. He won the primary and general elections and assumed the four-year councilman position in January 1966. In 1968 his councilmen colleagues elected him mayor, a one-year term.
During his term as mayor, the Dubuque City Council voted to issue $490,000 in bonds for the construction of a new terminal building. In 1968 the bell that originally hung in the belfry above the City Hall was placed in a planter area on the Central Avenue side of the same building. The DUTCH ELM DISEASE reached its peak in the city. George LIPPER became the assistant city manager and city residents experienced their first city-wide breakdown in TELEVISION service.
In 1969 he lost his bid for re-election to the city council.
In 1967 McCauley was elected treasurer of Project Concern, Inc., a senior citizens groups, and served until 1973. That same year a tourist information booth was established by the DUBUQUE AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE and he was a part-time employee there for several years. He regaled many tourists with his stories about the history and people of Dubuque.
In 2009 "Syl" McCauley was inducted into the Dubuque County Democrats Hall of Fame.
For additional events in 1968, write the year in the search feature of this encyclopedia.
Obituaries, Telegraph-Herald, May 23, 1978, p. 10