Michael T. (Mike) Lennon (born 1944) is a native of Cloonmurray, Strokestown and grew up in Corbohill, Strokestown. He was educated at Carnaska National School and Scoil Mhuire Secondary School, Bawn Street, Strokestown. After sitting the Leaving Certificate in 1962, he emigrated to Princeton, New Jersey where he began his career as a clerk at the First National Bank of Princeton. In August 1964, Mike enlisted for three years in the United States Army after being conscripted for military service (more commonly known as the draft). Over the following six months, he underwent military and army payroll training at Fort Dix, New Jersey and Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. He was assigned to Würzburg in Bavaria, Germany in February 1965 where he worked in the payroll section at the headquarters of the 6th Missile Battalion, 52nd Artillery Brigade of the U.S. 7th Army.
Mike was one of thousands of U.S. troops who were recalled from Germany in the summer of 1966 in preparation for deployment to South Vietnam as the war intensified there. He was assigned to Fort Lewis in Washington State where a new administration unit, the 527th Personnel Services Company, was being formed. The unit arrived in Vietnam by ship in November 1966 at the coastal city of Qui Nhon, located 430km north of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City). He remained there until his enlistment period ended in August 1967. For his service, he was awarded the U.S. Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defence Service Medal and Vietnam Campaign Medal.
Following his return to the First National Bank of Princeton, Mike took up the position of internal auditor and later, personnel manager. He also took advantage of the Veterans education benefits to pursue a college degree at night at Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. He graduated in January 1971 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. He decided to return to Ireland in September 1972, having secured a position with Citibank in Dublin. He became a money markets dealer in 1975 and was appointed Country Treasurer in 1978.
In 1988, Mike was recruited by EBS Building Society as its Head of Treasury and Funding. He established EBS Asset Managers in 1994. He also served as a member of various financial industry bodies and legislative working parties. After a working career of forty years, he retired in May 2002. Afterwards, he took up financial industry directorships as well as being a director of the County Roscommon Heritage and Genealogy Company from 2007 to 2019.
Researching the genealogy of his own family led to his interest in the history of his native area and county. His Lennon ancestors originated in Newtown, Drum, Athlone from where his great-grandfather, Michael Lennon (1817-1903) came to care for his aging uncles and aunt who lived in Cloonmurray. One of his uncles was Rev. Michael Lennon (1791-1871) who was parish priest of Tulsk from 1830 until he died. Mike’s maternal ancestors, the Shaughnessys, were ancient chieftains in the Gort area of Co. Galway. When their lands were confiscated in the 1690s, they migrated to other parts of Galway and surrounding counties, including to Caggle near Strokestown from where Mike’s ancestors came.
Mike has been involved in editing and contributing to several Roscommon publications, including Drum and its Hinterland, The Roscommon Association Dublin Yearbook, Roscommon Life and the Roscommon Historical and Archaeological Society Journal. He acted as editor of Kathleen Hegarty Thorne’s comprehensive history of the War of Independence in County Roscommon, They Put the Flag a-Flyin’, which was published in 2005. In collaboration with Henry Owens, he helped compile and edit the 2018 local history book, Sliabh Bán – A Historical Journey. He also collaborated with George Reynolds in producing the Strokestown on Film DVD in 2008. He has been chairperson of the Roscommon Association in Dublin since 2008.
Mike is married to Mary (née Harrison from Rathangan, Co. Kildare) and they have three sons, Michael (Dubai), Barry and Colum (both in Dublin).