Firm Foundation: Patty Jamieson
By Ken Callahan
As the Irish immigrants of the mid-19th century began to settle and grow in big cities in America, they did so, perhaps with an intensity and intelligence unique among nationalities, with remarkable social cohesion. From the earliest arrivals in Cleveland, Irish people came together in the Hibernian Guard, the Knights of Fr. Mathew, and in early Irish parishes such as St. Patrick’s Bridge Avenue, St. Malachi, St. Coleman and the Cathedral Parish. And while Cleveland never really experienced the political “machines” that other cities did—Mayor Robert McKisson tried in the 1890s—still, the strong bonds of networking enabled the Irish to find work, including in the Cleveland Police and Fire Departments.
Patty Jamieson, the CFO or Finance Executive of many Cleveland institutions over her career, and her eight siblings, are beneficiaries of this legacy. Their dad, Daniel Joseph Jamieson, contributed a lifetime of service to the Cleveland Police Department. A 1934 graduate of St. Ignatius High School, the Great Depression prevented him from pursuing his basketball scholarship to John Carroll. He dug ditches for the County instead and was the sole provider for his parents and five siblings for years.
Purple Heart Winner
He later joined the U.S. Marine Corps during the War and was awarded the Purple Heart. After release from service, he returned to Cleveland, where he courted and won the hand of Betty Haffey (nee Mahaffey), a graduate of the Sacred Heart Academy.
The pair came from a long line of Irish stock, including McCarnes of Count Monaghan on her Dad’s side, while Betty’s Dad and Mom were from County Fermanagh and Dublin city, respectively. The couple were married at St. Aloysius Church in 1949; the Jamiesons settled in St. Philomena parish and began their family. The growing family later moved to St. Margaret Mary in Cleveland Heights, where all nine children attended classes, taught by the Notre Dame nuns.
While Patrolman Jamieson ascended the ranks of CPD, he usually worked three jobs to pay for his growing family, including working as a security guard and starting a commercial cleaning company, thus allowing Betty the opportunity to care for the children. Patty says of her dad that, “he was a very special man—he worked an incredible number of hours. He was very respectful of my Mom.”
The family was raised in a strong faith environment, all eleven of them attending Sunday Mass together. Of course, in the Catholic parishes of the era, a large brood was not uncommon—the family next door had seven children, while across the street there were ten.
Dan Jamieson rose to the rank of Inspector within the Cleveland Police Department. He became ill with cancer and died in 1974, while Patty was a freshman at John Carroll University. Yet still, Patty was impelled by her Dad’s encouragements and, with an accounting major, took the CPA exam as a senior, scoring second in the State of Ohio, and in the top 50 nationally.
Patty Jamieson began her career on the auditing staff at Ernst and Ernst in 1977 (then headed by Joe Keller). In 1983, she moved to McDonald and Company as Accounting Manager in 1983.
Patty became the Chief Financial Officer for McDonald in 1996, where she remained after the company merged with Keybank. She became CFO of Key Corp Corporate.
She retired – well, the first time – in 2013, allowing her to travel widely, including a memorable trip to Ireland with her mom and siblings, nieces and nephews, eight in all. The new found freedom also permitted her to pursue volunteer work for a number of worthwhile projects, including promoting the Cleveland Municipal Football League for kids in Cleveland’s inner city, to work with the Urban Community School, and to help those with addiction by serving on the Board of Edna House at St. Coleman’s Parish. Patty has also mentored several Cleveland High School kids.
But her profession gradually called her back. She started working part time at Boyd Watterson, a commitment that of course grew to five days a week, where she remains to this day, once more as CFO.
Patty Jamieson is a woman who attributes the success she and her siblings have enjoyed to the strict but loving environment created through the hard work of her parents. In so doing, she stands on the shoulders of the communities and relationships that preceded her.
*Ken Callahan is a lawyer at Mansour Gavin, on the Board of Irish American Archives and a Co- Founder of Irish American Law Society of Cleveland.