Business bends policy to welcome Irish wake

June 18, 2018

The lower level at The Blarney Stone Pub often is one of the most packed places in downtown Sioux Falls on a Friday or Saturday night.

It’s so busy, the restaurant won’t rent it out to special events those days.

But when manager Mikael Engebretson heard from a family friend of Ted Curry, he decided to make an exception.

Curry died June 5 at age 42. He found out weeks earlier he had colon cancer and died of complications related to it. Family, friends and co-workers filled a church in his hometown of Elk Point for his service.

But “Ted was definitely too spirited to have a somber event,” longtime friend and co-worker Jon Leahey said. “And some people couldn’t get here (for the church service), so we decided to throw a modern wake. He was cantankerous and feisty. And at a traditional Irish wake, you’re supposed to drink and have fun, and he definitely would have loved it.”

Finding the venue was more challenging, though, until family friend and Sioux Falls attorney John Archer reached out to The Blarney Stone.

“And I explained the tragic event and that we wanted to have a celebration, and they were able to bend the rules, which they don’t normally do, and we were really appreciative,” Archer said. “We thought it would be nice Sioux Falls knew they did a good deed.”

Surveying the lower level set for about 100 guests Friday night, Engebretson called it the most unique event the restaurant has hosted – including his time at The Blarney Stone in North Dakota.

“It was such an unfortunate event, we were just glad to host the celebration of his life. Once we heard how tragic it was, we definitely thought we could help. For an Irish wake, what better fitting place than the new Irish pub in town.”

Curry, one of four children, would have loved it, said his brother, Tony.

“He would have thought it was fitting. He always loved our Irish heritage.”

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Business bends policy to welcome Irish wake

When a grieving family needing a space for an Irish wake, The Blarney Stone Pub stepped up.

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