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Tiny Tim: security at the Woods

Tiny Tim provided security for the college and the motherhouse for more than four decades.

For 48 years, Andrew “Tiny Tim” O’Dwyer was the face of security at the motherhouse and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. A large-statured man, Andrew hailed from County Galway, Ireland. During his long tenure at the Woods, Tiny Tim came to know many sisters and generations of students.

Coming to the United States in 1906, Tiny Tim initially settled in Chicago where he eventually found employment with the Chicago police department. Word reached a Chicago sergeant that the Sisters of Providence were looking for a security cop and he recommended Andrew.

According to the Jan. 16, 1958, Michigan City, Ind., News-Dispatch: “O’Dwyer visited St. Mary’s and tried the job. But after one day he unhappily sought Mother General Mary Cleophas [Foley].

“‘It’s sorry I am, Sister,’ said the big, gentle Irishman, ‘but I can’t stay. I love people and cities. It’s too lonesome here. …’

“‘We need you badly,’ beseeched Mother Mary [Cleophas]. ‘Please stay the week.’

Tiny Tim came to know generations of Woods students.

“‘Sure, and how can I refuse a woman so saintly?’ murmured O’Dwyer, and stayed. Beseeched anew, he stayed another week … and another.

“‘Soon I moved me family. I’ve been here 42 years since … and it’s glad that I am,’ chuckled Tiny Tim.”

Martha Ann Jacob, in a 1956 newspaper article, wrote about Tiny Tim: “Each night since 1916 Mr. O’Dwyer, as a member of the Terre Haute city police force, has patrolled Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College grounds. He wears the city police badge on the chest of his blue uniform and on his sleeve are the gold stripes signifying forty years of service.

“The most Irish member of the Terre Haute police force is a friend of every Woods girl. ‘I know all the girls, I can pick a St. Mary’s girl out anywhere. I see them come and go and years later I see their daughters here.’”

Tiny Tim, who became a U.S. citizen in 1920, and his wife, Teresa, married in 1912. The couple lived in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Village and raised seven children. Upon his retirement in 1964, Tiny Tim and his wife moved to Benson, Ariz. Tiny Tim died in 1967 at the age of 87. His funeral Mass was held in the Church of the Immaculate Conception and he was buried in the Village cemetery.

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Connie McCammon

Connie McCammon worked in the communications office for the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

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