Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Charlotta Ruth Banks Wade Berry

Charlotta Ruth Banks Wade Berry
Charlotta Ruth Banks Wade Berry 
31 May 1895 - 9 Sep 1960

My great-grandmother, Charlotta Ruth Banks, was born 31 May 1895 in Wabash County, IL to Sarah Eva Talley and Sherman Banks (see previous story).  Charlotta grew up without her father and had four younger half-sisters when her mother remarried Frank Z. Bruce.  On 24 Apr 1912 at the age of sixteen Charlotta married Joseph Washington Wade who was twenty years older than her.  Their first child, my grandmother Doris, was born 27 Aug 1913 followed by Mildred in 1917 and Hugh Joseph in 1919.

Charlotta ca 1905 age 10

Great-grandfather Joseph was a foreman at the car shops in Mt. Vernon, IL cand they lived a good life for the times. Unfortunately, sometime around the late 1920's business slowed and Joseph lost his position.  Sometime after 1930 Charlotta and Joseph divorced and Charlotta later married Mack Berry.  Charlotta was bedridden in the last years of her life; as a little girl I remember going with my parents to her home in Granite City, Illinois.  She and her husband kept many Chihuahua's as pets and the dogs on her bed would growl and snap at me.  As I young child I was terrified of them, strangely enough I now have two chihuahua's of my own.  Charlotta died 9 Sep 1960 in Madison County, Illinois and is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Mt. Vernon, Illinois.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Robert Calvin Smith - Mt . Vernon, Il

Bob Smith Age 35
Robert Calvin Smith 16 Sep 1888 - 31 Oct 1958

Last week I wrote briefly about my great-grandmother Verna Merritt Smith.  This week's obituary is about her husband, my great-grandfather Robert Calvin Smith.  Robert, or Bob as he was called, was born in Mt. Vernon, IL on 16 Sep 1888 to Milton A. and Mary F. (Scott) Smith.  Despite trying his hand early on at his father's occupation as a plumber, with the advent of automobiles Bob quickly found his niche.  Smith men have always been very mechanically inclined and working with engines seemed to be his calling.  He ran a garage in Mt. Vernon for many years with several of his sons.

Bob & Verna Smith 1950's

At some point in the late 1940's or early 1950's poor health forced him to retire from his garage.  He and Verna spent a couple of winter in Flagstaff, Arizona and then Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  I like this picture of them - not sure where it's taken, but he looks very relaxed and enjoying his retirement.  On 31 Oct 1958 (my third birthday) he died in a Fort Lauderdale nursing home.  He was buried in Williams Cemetery in Mt. Vernon, Illinois.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Verna A. Merritt Smith

Verna A. Merritt
Verna Anna Merritt Smith 17 Jan 1889 - 29 Mar 1972

My Great-Grandmother, Verna Anna Merritt Smith was born in Wilson County, TN 17 Jan 1889 to Obidiah J. and Florence (Sewell) Merritt.    The family moved to Jefferson County, Illinois around 1900.  Verna was the second of six children and her mother Florence died when Verna was just thirteen years old.  From all accounts, times were hard for the Merritts after their mother died.  In 1909, Verna married Robert Calvin Smith and they had eight children, one of those being my grandfather, Diamond Milton Smith.  They raised their children in Mt. Vernon, Illinois where great-grandpa Bob was an auto mechanic.

Verna A. Merritt Smith

Great-grandma Verna was quite a character and had a wicked sense of humor.  She was full of gumption right up until the end.  I like to think she got this from her grandmother, Amanda J. Martin.  Verna's husband Bob Smith died in October 1958, Verna 29 Mar 1972 in Fort Lauderdale, FL where they had lived for a number of years.  The following obituary is from the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

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