Monday, April 4, 2011

Meet The Parents -- Dad

I suppose, in a lot of ways, my Dad was the first family member I ever researched. But I did so without realising what I was doing was genealogy research.

You see, my Dad died unexpectadly when I was 9months old.  I grew up not having any memory of him.  When I was about 16 years old I set out on a quest of sorts to bring my Dad to life....on paper.  I felt an odd need to make his life more tangible to myself.  I needed to see that he HAD lived.

By the time I was 17 years old, I had accumulated all the information I possibly could.  I had his birth certificate, his death certificate, his social security application, his coroners report, his obituary, articles about his accident, his school records, photos of every home he had lived in, and interviewed every family member and friend who had any memory of him.

At times my quest was upsetting to my mom, not so much for the purpose of my quest, but because at times information I found would be very upsetting to me and that was difficult for her.  I was essentially mourning my Dad's death 16years after it had happened.  There were times my mom wanted to protect me from the sorrow, but it was a process I was determined to go through and a quest I was determined to finish.
1944 Baltimore MD

My Dad was born on a Friday, 6 Aug 1943 in Baltimore, Maryland.  He was the fourth and final child born to my paternal grandparents.  He was born at home while his three older siblings played in the yard outside their Urbman Avenue home.

Urbman Ave., Maryland

His early childhood years, up to age 2, where spent in Baltimore, Maryland with frequent visits to his Grandmother "Mama's" home in Pennsylvania.

Circa 1945

In 1945, the family of six drove across counrty to Novato, California.  California would remain their home for the rest of their lives.  When they arrived in California, they lived in a very small home with the family of my Grandmother's brother, who had settled here the year before.

In 1946 his father, my Grandfather, was diagnosed with lung cancer.  My Uncle recalls his father still heading off to work in San Francisco following surgery to remove a portion of his lung.

My Dad with his Father, 1944 Maryland

In the fall of 1947 my Grandfather lost his battle with cancer, leaving his wife, twin sons age 12, a daughter age 7, and my Dad age 4, without a father.

My Dad with his Mother, his sisiter and his twin brothers 1955

During the next few years my Dad's family settled into life without a father and in 1950 my Grandmother remarried.

Age 7

By all accounts, my Dad was the typical 1950's "Bad Boy" with a charming personality who could always make you laugh.  My mom says "It was his personality that drew me to him."

circa 1957

In 1960, my parents met during detention in high school.  My Mom says it wasn't love at first sight, but that they definitely had a soulful connection from the start.  They dated briefly that fall, then went their separate ways until my mom's accident in the spring of 1961.  After she returned home from her accident, they dated again until the fall of 1961, when they again parted ways.

Little did my Father know at the time they went their separate ways that fall, my Mom was 3 months pregnant with his child!


  1. Great story of your dad....and what a cliffhanger! I can't wait to hear more!

  2. Thanks for sharing this story.