Sunday’s Obituary – Charles E Palmatier

Charles Palmatier is my husband’s g-g-grandfather. john to charles palmatier

I have heard stories from my husband’s grandmother about how her grandfather was a Pony Express rider.  There are very good records of who worked for the Pony Express and Charles Palmatier was not one of them.  The obituary below proves that although the story was not totally accurate, there was definitely a grain of truth in it.  This is the longest obituary I have ever found.  Charley must have been a well-known and liked man in town.

Palmatier, Charles obit picture

Charles E. Palmatier. This photo ran with his obituary 7 June 1951 in The Ord Quiz, Ord, Nebraska, page 1 column 2 and page 2, columns 1, 2, 3 and 4. Digital images accessed 6 February 2015 at www.ordlibrary.org (The Ord Library Township Newspaper Archive).

 

C.E. Palmatier, Oldest Pioneer of All, Laid to Rest

Ord Resident Dies After Illness of 10 Days; Friends Mourn.

Charles Palmatier, Valley county pioneer and one of the county’s oldest and most highly respected citizens, passed away at the Ord Cooperative hospital early June 1st, at the age of 95 years, three months and twenty-three days.  His death was the result of a stroke which he suffered May 23.  He was born in New York state in 1856.

He leaves to mourn his passing, his beloved wife, Ettie, whom he married in 1884; three sons, Marshall of Wilmington, Calif., Edmund, of Boise, Ida, and Ellery of Chicago; four daughters, Stella Grindey, Loretta Frazier and Grace Rowe of Chicago and Alice Reed of North Hollywood, Calif.; eleven grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild, besides his many friends and acquaintances.

Mr. Palmatier came to Nebraska in 1878, homesteaded at Geranium in 1879.  He was a mail carrier of the early days, and ran the post office at Geranium for 17 years. Leaving the farm in 1910, he was a resident of Ord until the time of his death .  A man of absolute integrity, he will long be remembered by the old friends and neighbors who knew him best.

(Continued on Page 2)

C.E. Palmatier, Oldest Pioneer of All Laid to Rest

Ord Resident Dies After Illness of 10 Days; Friends Mourn.

(Continued from Page 1)

Funeral services were held from the Methodist church at 2:30 Sunday afternoon, Rev. R.E. Daughelee officiating, with Hastings and Pearson in charge of arrangements.  Lucille Tolen sang, with Mrs. Viola Kellison at the piano.  The pall bearers were Elmer Zlomke, Don Dong, Wilbur Rogers, O.E. Patchen, Robert Noll, and M.B. Cummins. Mr. and Mrs. John Haskell had charge of the flowers.  Burial was in Graceland cemetery.

Charles Palmatier was born in New York state, at Youngsville, Sullivan county, March 9, 1856, and first came to Nebraska in 1878.  With him came a friend, John S. Wheeler, who once lived north of Elyria. They walked from Grand Island to St. Paul, and the next day got a job off-bearing brick in a brick  yard owned by a man named Dory DeVry. This yard was located on the river near St. Paul.

Mr. Palmatier’s next job was working for Zach Leftwich in a mill on Spring Creek, He worked in the mill and also fed hogs.  His first work at Ord was teaming in flour for S.S. Haskell, who at that time ran a store in the old Transit House, now located on the corner north of Hotel Ord, but then located about where the U.P. shops used to be.

It was a rather risky trip in those days.  It took two days each way and camp was usually made over night near Scotia Junction.  He stayed over night on some occasions with as much as $40 to $60 in his pocket, and that was a lot of money in those days.  He ran quite a chance of being held up and relieved of it, but happened to be lucky.

It was not far from that time that Palmatier came to Valley county and filed on a homestead where he later located the post office of Geranium.  As the law required residence on the land only a small part of the time, he got out and worked wherever he could to get money to live on.  He was helping put up hay on the Calamus between the Skull and the Bloody when he got his first mail job.

Another man had the contract but he got Charley to do the carrying for him.  She started carrying mail on horse back and carried it until the famous blizzard of 1880 hit on Oct. 15 and 16.  His route was between Hartsuff and Fort Niobrara, a distance of 160 miles through the hills.  He lost two horses in that blizzard and never went back to the job.

He would sometimes see as many as one hundred Indians on a single mail trip.  Mostly they were peaceable, but a mail carrier can take no chances so he had little to do with them.  One day he saw an Indian traveling to head him off, and tried to get past him, but got headed off.  He asked the red man what he wanted and he answered “Tobac.”

It happened that Charley had brought a plug of chewing tobacco at the store.  It was about an inch square and four inches long.  He broke it in two across his knee and gave the Indian the smaller piece.  He looked as though he would like to have the larger piece, but he did not get it.

While living in New York state Mr. Palmatier had taken a fancy to a girl somewhat younger than himself, and in 1881 he went back and persuaded Ettie Conklin to come back with him as his wife and make a home for him on his quarter section of land, which he had proved up on that year.  They lived on the homestead and raised a large family of children.

Palmatier also carried mail for “Bill” W.H. Williams from St. Paul to Ord and on to St. Helena.  He never had a chance to go to school, but nobody would believe it after visiting him.  His mind was clear until the last, and he never was at loss for the answers for any questions friends asked him.

In the early ‘80s solon Pierson, a brother of Perry and uncle of Claence [sic], started the original Geranium post office.  Later John Wolfe took it over and then it went to Herbert Losey.  Mr. and Mrs. Palmatier got it from Losey and kept it for some time after the turn of the century, when it was discontinued with the coming of rural free delivery.  Mrs. Palmatier had much of the work of taking care of the office while her husband was engaged in other work.

There was no salary connected with the office and he got only about $30 for the year’s work, which of course was not worth the trouble.  After a while the post office closed at Manderson a few miles north and Geranium got the extra business.  H.F. Rhodes was postmaster of the Manderson office.

Palmatier did any kind of work he could get in those days.  He worked on the railroad between St. Paul and North Loup before the line was extended to Ord.  He says that J.J. “Bud” Shirley case his first vote at the Palmatier house in Geranium.  When Mr. and Mrs. R.B. Miller, still living in Burwell, were married at the Dies House in Ord, Charley was at the wedding.

He was one of the few men still living who knew how to build a sod house.  He never belonged to any secret society, and did not believe in them.  Geranium was on the wagon route from east to west, and people always planned to stop at the Palmatier home over night.  They were always welcome.  He lived to be the oldest living mail carrier, the oldest Quiz subscriber and probably the oldest living citizen in Valley county.

In 1910 Mr. Palmatier built a home in east Ord and the family has lived there since that time.  In 1911 they made a visit to their old home in New York state.  He was always a busy man, and had a fine garden at his home when death called him.  The fine character of both Mr. and Mrs. Palmatier is shown by the loving care of their children for them.

 

 

Sunday’s Obituary – John Buchannan Fuller

John Buchannan Fuller is my husband’s great great grandfather.

John to john fuller

 

 

I do not know much about John B Fuller.  What I do know is that after Percy Fuller and Loretta Palmatier split up in 1920’s, the couple’s daughter went to live with her mother in Chicago.  The couple’s two older boys, Raymond and Marshall, moved in with their grandparents, John and Emma Fuller.   The household was not an easy place for the grandsons to grow up in.

I recently found an index to obituaries in Custer county, Nebraska.  Using the index, I contacted the Nebraska State Historical Society to order a copy of the obituary for John B. Fuller.  I am so thankful for the archivist who I contacted.  Not only did she locate obituary from the Comstock News, she also let me know that there was an additional obituary in the Sargent Leader.  Both obituaries have plenty of drama to share.

John B Fuller obituary, 15 December, 1938, Comstock News, Comstock, Nebraska, page 1, column 1 and page 8, column 6; Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, Nebraska.

John B Fuller obituary, 15 December, 1938, Comstock News, Comstock, Nebraska, page 1, column 1 and page 8, column 6; Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, Nebraska.

J B FULLER LAID TO REST MON., DEC. 12

Passed Away Suddenly Thursday Morning at Age of 82 Years.

 

With the suddenness of a bolt of lightning came the death of J.B. Fuller, occurring about nine o’clock last Thursday morning, December 8, death being attributed to a heart attack.

Mr. Fuller came to work last Thursday morning, evidently in good health, and during the early hours of the morning he joshed with several of his friends.  About nine o’clock he was found, by one of the Reckling boys, in his hardware store, sitting in a chair, the boy thinking he was asleep.  Being unable to awake him, the boy went for assistance, and it was then found that he had quietly passed away.

Mr. Fuller was one of the pioneer hardware dealers of this community, was the oldest businessman in Comstock, and one of the oldest, if not the oldest, hardware dealers in the state.  He began his hardware business in the old town of Wescott in 1898, later moving to Comstock.  In 1906 he disposed of his store here and farmed west of town for several years.  He opened another hardware store in Comstock in July 1925, and operated this business enterprise until his death Thursday morning.  Of him it can be said, “a man who did his work well.”

John Buchannan Fuller, son of John and Marietta Wilson Fuller, was born in Lapeer, Lapeer county, Michigan, November 5, 1856, and departed this life on December 8, 1938, at the age of 82 years, one month, and three days.

When a small boy he moved with his parents to Illinois.  From Illinois he moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he grew to manhood.

In the year 1878 he came to York, Nebraska, where he met and married Miss Emma Jane Shipman on January 8, 1880, and to this union ten children were born, the three elder dying in infancy.

In the year of 1890 he moved with his family to a homestead near Wescott, Nebraska, living there until the spring of 1898 when he moved to Wescott, Nebraska, and engaged in the hardware business.  After the railroad came up the valley, he moved his business and family to the new town of Comstock, Nebraska.

(Continued on Page Eight)

J.B. FULLER LAID TO REST MONDAY, DEC. 12

(Continued from page one.)

Disposing of his business in 1906 he engaged in farming until 1918 at which time he disposed of his farm and moved to Comstock.  In July, 1925, he again entered into the hardware business which he owned and operated up to the time of his death.

While living in Wescott he was active in the Congregational church and Sunday school, and after moving to Comstock he transferred his membership to the First Congregational church of Comstock, Nebraska.

He leaves to mourn his loss, his wife, seven children: Percy E. of Divide, Wyoming, Gladys Eggers, Myrtle Point, Oregon, Clara Smelser, Lincoln, Nebraska, Clarence E. of Martin, South Dakota, Roy R., and Irene Day of Comstock, and Alma Mathauser of Omaha, Nebraska.  One brother, Irving Fuller of York, Nebraska; 19 grand children; eight great grand children; and many other relatives and a host of friends.

Funeral services were held from the Community church in Comstock Monday afternoon, December 12, conducted by the Rev. E. G. Samuelson of Elmcreek, Nebraska, and internment was made in the Douglas Grove cemetery.

 

John B Fuller obituary, 15 December 1938, Sargent Leader, Sargent, Nebraska, page 4, column 4; Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, Nebraska.

John B Fuller obituary, 15 December 1938, Sargent Leader, Sargent, Nebraska, page 4, column 4; Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, Nebraska.

 

COMSTOCK HARDWARE DEALER DIES FROM HEART ATTACK

Thursday, December 8, John B. Fuller of Comstock passed away while sitting in a chair in his hardware store.  Mr. Fuller had arisen that morning and at the usual time went to his hardware store and built the fire and swept out.  In the course of time he was arranging some money in its accustomed place for the days use.  While doing this he probably felt coming on the heart attack or whatever it was that caused his death, for we are told that he sat down on  a nearby chair, placed is arm over the back and then put his hand in his pocket.  This kept him from falling to the floor.

Sometime afterwards a small boy went into the store and not being able to get Mr. Fuller to answer his questions, he ran into Orin Mutter’s store and said Mr. Fuller wouldn’t talk to him.  Mr. Mutter sensing that something was wrong, sent word to someone else to come and when they entered the store, they found that Mr. Fuller was dead.

Mr. Fuller was 82 years of age.  He first entered the hardware business at Wescott in 1898, forty years ago.  When the railroad came up the valley in 1899 and the new town of Comstock was started, Mr. Fuller moved his store to Comstock and continued to operate it until 1906 when he sold the business to Tom Arthur and Jason Evans.  He then moved to a farm southwest of Comstock and farmed for twelve years and then moved back to Comstock.  About the year 1926 he started into the hardware business again in Comstock, being sixty eight or sixty nine years old at the time.  He continued to operate this business from then until his death at the age of a little more then 82 years.

Mr. Fuller’s funeral was held Monday, December 12, from the Comstock church and interment was made in the Douglas Grove cemetery.

Fay Spooner was the funeral director.  Loy E. Hersh of this city was one of the singers.

 

Wedding Wednesday – William Lawbaugh and Lydia Ummel

I mentioned in my post Following A Shiny Star Into A Genealogy Blackhole that I had found the marriage of William Lawbaugh and Lydia Ummel on FamilySearch.org.

"Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XZDK-72B : accessed 11 March 2015), William Lawbaugh and Lydia Umel, 22 Nov 1849; citing Wayne, Ohio, United States, reference 430; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 425,754.

“Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XZDK-72B : accessed 11 March 2015), William Lawbaugh and Lydia Umel, 22 Nov 1849; citing Wayne, Ohio, United States, reference 430; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 425,754.

William Lawbaugh to Lydia Ummel

The state of Ohio Wayne County SS.  I hereby certify that on the 22nd day of November AD 1849 Mr William Lawbaugh and miss Lydia Ummel were legally joined in marriage by me a teaching Elder in the church ????  ???? my hand this 22nd day of November 1849.  Samuel N Miller

Sunday’s Obituary – Ettie May Palmatier

Etta May Conklin is my husband’s great-great-grandmother.

john to etta conklin

I recently pulled out my husband’s grandmother’s bible to use as an example for how to digitize items using a camera.  To my surprise, from the middle of the bible, fell a couple of newspaper clippings. Big mistake on my part to not check the rest of the bible to see if there were any hidden gems.  At the same time, I am so happy that I did pull out the bible and find these gems!

One of the newspaper clippings was the obituary for Etta Palmatier.  While I do not know the source newspaper or date it was published.  I can make the educated guess it was from Ord, Nebraska.  I will follow-up to see if I can find the exact date it was published.

Etta Palmatier obituary

 

Palmatier Rites Are Held Monday Here

Funeral services were held Monday afternoon for Ettie May Palmatier, 87, who died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Stella Grindey, in Chicago, Friday.

The service was held from the Ord Methodist church, with Rev. Keith Shepherd officiating. Glen Auble was soloist, accompanied by Mrs. Orin Kellison.

Bearers were Wilbur Rogers, Robert Noll, O.E. Patchen, Don Long, Orin Kellison, and Leo Long.

Burial followed in the Ord city cemetery.

Mrs. Palmatier was the daughter of John and Senath Conklin.  She was born May 2, 1868 in Stevensville, N.Y.

August 13, 1884, she was married to Charles A. Palmatier, of Youngsville, N.Y.  The couple came to Valley county, as pioneers.  Their home was in Geranium township for several years. Later the family moved to Ord.  Thirteen children were born to the couple.

Mr.  Palmatier died in 1953. Six children have died.

Mrs. Palmatier was a member of the Ord Methodist church and also a member of the women’s auxiliary of the American Legion here.

Surviving are Lauretta Fraser, Grace Roe, Stella Grindey, Ellery Palmatier, all of Chicago; Marshall Palmatier and Alyce Reed, of California and Edmund Palmatier, of Boise, Idaho.  Fourteen grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren, and four great-great-grandchildren.

Tombstone Tuesday – Percy Emery Fuller

Percy Fuller is my husband’s great-grandfather.  He was born 4 June 1885 most likely in Comstock County, Nebraska.  He was married to Loretta Palmatier.  They divorced when their third child, my husband’s grandmother, was little.  After that I have found Percy in Sterling, Colorado and Hood River, Oregon.  Percy passed away in Oregon on January 6, 1965.  He is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery, Hood River, Oregon.

FindAGrave.com, digital images (htp://www.findagrave.com), accessed 9 February 2015, photograph by fred, gravestone for Percy E Fuller (1885-1965), FindAGrave memorial #29641419, Pine Grove Cemetery, Hood River, Hood River, Oregon.

FindAGrave.com, digital images (htp://www.findagrave.com), accessed 9 February 2015, photograph by fred, gravestone for Percy E Fuller (1885-1965), FindAGrave memorial #29641419, Pine Grove Cemetery, Hood River, Hood River, Oregon.

Genealogy Time With My Daughters

Disclaimer: I work very hard to indoctrinate my children in all things family history.  I believe (and studies are backing me up) knowing where you come from helps grow your children into the best version of themselves.

Last fall my six-year-old daughter made a five-minute video on her LeapPad (a game tablet for kids). The topic was genealogy.  She spent a lot of time telling me how much she wanted to “do genealogy with Mommy.”  She also said that she wanted to go to cemeteries to find her ancestors.  The only problem was that the list of ancestors included living people.

The next day, after clearing up the fact that only dead people are buried, Julia and I talked about what kinds of projects we could work on together.  We agreed to start interviewing different family members about their lives.  As a surprise for her birthday, my husband and I purchased Julia a basic camcorder.  She took a couple of tentative steps into the video world at Christmas by asking my extended family questions.

This week Julia approached me again with a request to tell her about an ancestor.  We got out the video recorder and I told her all about her great-grandmother who recently passed away.  We ended the video session with a promise to talk about other family members in the near future.

I was surprised yesterday when Julia again brought up the topic of family history.  She wanted to “see” her ancestors.  We sat down together and printed out a fan chart from TreeSeek.com.  It was so adorable when she kept stating “these are all my ancestors!”  I didn’t have the heart to tell her I have much more research to do.

Julia was not happy though because a fan chart does not include her cousins.  She wanted to see her cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents from both sides of the family in the same chart.  I gave her a piece of paper and this is what she put together:

2015-02-19 10.42.05

She asked for help adding the rest of our immediate family and dogs.  Together we worked to make another version of her family tree.  This time I started by writing Mommy and Daddy.  We worked together to add the rest of our family and dogs by attaching them to the correct people.  I was so proud that Julia knew how the family relationships should be laid out.  I also loved that she felt it was important to include the dogs and cat since they are loved as family members.  She has already mounted the sheet to construction paper and taped it to the wall.

2015-02-19 10.41.04

 

My 3-year-old is all about keeping up with her big sister.  Mia wanted to draw a family tree too.  I gave her a piece of paper and let her do her own thing.  She decided to draw stick figures of our family including dogs.  We finished it off by adding each person’s name to the bottom of the page.  This picture was taped to the wall right next to her sister’s.

2015-02-19 11.25.42

 

The fun my kids and I had this week is another example of how you can make genealogy fun and age appropriate.  I am so excited about the ideas I have to “do genealogy” with them in the future.

Following A Shiny Star Into A Genealogy Black Hole

I try to be an organized, thoughtful researcher who plans every move in advance.  Reality looks different then my dreams.  I have research that I need to analyze and enter into my genealogy software.  I use my research log but not consistently (a goal again this year to work on).  I also get sucked into genealogy black holes every now and then.

Supermassive_black_hole

I will get sucked in so fast and so hard by some random side line of research that I do not even realize what has occurred.  When I come up for air a couple of hours later, there is not much to show for it.  Except me with my eyes wide-eyed and glassy and hair sticking out in every direction like it was electrocuted.

I have been working on my family tree at FamilySearch by adding documentation and photos, attaching sources, and adding siblings.  Yesterday after adding a transcription of the obituary for Lydia Ummel, my house was suddenly engulfed by a HUGE genealogy black hole.

It started with a quick search for anything about Lydia Ummel in Juinata County, Pennsylvania. This was listed as her birthplace in the obituary.  Not finding anything, the search then detoured to the Ohio Marriages database at FamilySearch.  There I found a record of Lydia’s marriage to William Lawbaugh in Wayne County, Ohio on 22 November 1849.

I really got in deep when I Googled “Lydia Ummel Ohio”.  I found a reference to Lydia on a record for Joseph Ummel on MyHeritage.  I was excited because as a member of the Southern California Genealogical Society I can log into that database from home.  There was a biography of Joseph Ummel posted that named his Lydia as his sister.

At this point I had a feeling I was onto something and opened Evernote on my laptop.  I started clipping everything I was finding so I would have breadcrumbs when I returned to reality.

I was able to get a partial read of the title of the book at the top of the article about Joseph Ummel.  Another tab was opened in Chrome to now do a Google search for Joseph in Elkhart, Indiana.  I found the full biography using the Google Book search.  In “Pictorial and Biographical Memoirs of Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties Indiana”, pages 748-749, is a complete rundown of the life of Joseph Elkhart.  Not only does the biography name his four sisters, I now have he names of his parents!

Pictorial and Biographical Memoirs of Elkhart and St Joseph Counties Indiana, Goodspeed Brothers, 1893, page 748.

Pictorial and Biographical Memoirs of Elkhart and St Joseph Counties Indiana, Goodspeed Brothers, 1893, page 748.

 

Of course, I could not stop myself and steamed ahead into the genealogy unknown.  After some searches at FamilySearch and Ancestry, I went back to my trusted friend Google.  A simple search for John Ummel had too many hits, but the same search on Google Books was akin to having winning lottery ticket.  The very first listing is for a book by Helen Ummel Harness titled “Ummel-Lambert Roots and Branches: The Family History of John Ummel (1861-1942) and Ella Lambert (1874-1951): Their Ancestors and Descendants, Including the Surnames Brumbaugh, Coughman, Gehman, Musselman, Nafzger, Unangst and Others.”  The book was not digitized on Google.  I clicked on the link to find a copy in a library which pops you over to WorldCat.  I happy to see that a copy of the book is at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

I opened yet another tab in Chrome to check the catalog for FamilySearch.  I was hoping the book had been microfilmed and I could order the film right away.  To my surprise, it has been digitized and is available online at FamilySearch!  The pages 31-54 include tons of information regarding John Ummel and Magdalena Nafzger.  It even goes back another couple of generations for the Nafzger line. I now have at least one more gateway ancestor on my list.

Ummel Book

It was time to come up for a breath of fresh air.  The first thing I did was send an email to a cousin who is researching the same line.  I was so excited to share the link to the book!  I then called my husband to ask him to pick up take-out since I had not been doing anything I was supposed to be.  After some family time and the kids were snuggled into bed, I attacked my laptop again to get some sources created and people entered into my database.

I still have some more work to do today for my finds yesterday but I am confident my notes in Evernote will lead me the right direction.  I also now have tons to research to do to find the sources listed in the Ummel Lambert Roots and Branches book.  Only a genealogist would be this happy to have more research to do!

I have never had such a successful genealogy black hole! I do not generally recommend chasing shiny stars into a genealogy black hole.  I will say that an occasional trip can be fun and it might have some results.  Just be sure to follow up after you finish your genealogy binge with good research skills such as citing your sources and analyzing the data.

Almost Wordless Wednesday – Dudley Mitchell and Opal Strickler

This is one of my favorite family photos.  It is not the best quality photo but I can’t get enough of it.  Why you ask?  Look closely in the background of the photos at the pictures on top of the piano.  There are six marriage photos.  One for Dudley and Opal and then one for each of their five children.  Love it!

Mitchell photo

Rest In Peace Grandma

This past Wednesday, January 31, 2014, my grandmother, Roberta Fleming passed away peacefully with her family around her.

She was known by many names including Mom, Grandma, Aunt Roberta, Birdie, and the Silver Fox.  A couple of years ago when my children, her great-grandchildren, were born we added another name, Gigi.  It was her short hand for Great Grandmother.  She wanted a fun grandma name.

Roberta Mitchell baby

Roberta Irene Mitchell

 

My grandmother was born Roberta Irene Mitchell to Dudley Moses Mitchell and Opal Blanche Strickler on January 10, 1931 in Topeka, Kansas.  She was the youngest of five children with one older sister, Loretta, and three older brothers, Raymond, Delbert, and Kenneth.

Her family moved to Hutchinson, Kansas during the Depression. Grandma stayed there until she attended X-Ray Technician school in Topeka, Kansas.  While at school, she met my grandfather, William Henry Lawbaugh.  They married in 1950.  The couple starting raising their family in Pratt, Kansas with their first three children.  They relocated to the Anaheim, California area in the late 1950’s.  There they added to the family a set of twins.  In 1964, Bill Lawbaugh passed away leaving his wife with 5 children.  Roberta went to work to provide for her family.

Roberta and Bill

Roberta and Bill Lawbaugh

 

In 1973, Roberta married James Fleming.  They joined their families Brady Bunch style, five from her side in addition to the four children Jim had. They lived in several cities in Los Angeles and Orange counties. I have many memories from my childhood of them being together.  In fact, I learned how to swim in their pool when they lived in Downey, California.  After their time in Downey, they moved to the desert, living in the Cochella Valley.

Roberta and Jim

Jim and Roberta Fleming

 

After Jim Fleming passed away in 1994, Grandma moved back to the beach.  She loved the ocean and was at home in San Clemente, California.  This was during my college years in San Diego.  At least once a month I would make the 45 minute drive north to spend the weekend with her.  We had so much fun together!

All of the facts above do not capture the entire picture.  My grandma was fun and feisty.  She LOVED her children.  It would not be a complete day without a Crown Royal and cigarette, even her dog enjoyed cocktail hour with a piece of ice.  Her house was never quiet, either the news channel was on the TV or she was playing her beloved big band music.  She loved to dance.  Our family has the great memory of dancing the night away at my cousin’s wedding this past summer.  While she was not interested in researching her family herself, she was always willing to tell me stories of her childhood and what she remembered of others in her family. Grandma was a horrendous driver.  We were always offering to chauffeur her places.  She was an avid Bridge player.  The drawer of her coffee table has many sets of playing cards and bridge score sheets.  Grandma was very neat and clean.  You were always careful to make your bed and clean up after yourself at her home.  Most of all Grandma loved being with her family.  Holidays were always big affairs with lots of food and football.  Most Sundays were spent with family on the beach.  The beach was a slice of heaven for my grandma.

Roberta 80th

I could go on and on.  She is going to be so greatly missed.  I have to take comfort in how she taught us all to be a family.  I know that although she is no longer at the head of the family, we have each other.

I love you grandma!