Saturday, September 13, 2014

Cousins: Family and Connection

Of all of my 1st cousins on my father's side of the family, I was the baby of that generation of the clan. By the time I came along in 1949, many of those cousins were already in high school, and some were already married with children of there own, a couple of such children being as old or even a little order then me.

That providence of differing ages made family get-together's interesting for me. As a young kid, it was a little fuzzy at times as to how everyone related to me. The other impact was that I did not have the degree of mutual experiences with these older cousins that I had with those on Mom's side of the family that were more my age and generation. That pretty well describes the gap that existed; it was a generation gap. Some of them were actually closer to my Father in age then they were to me. Sadly, some of those cousins are no longer with us; they have passed away and the opportunity to connect and relate has passed.

With my retirement back in December of 2013, I find I am now having time to "catch up" with the lives of some of those older cousins who are still with us. We've had occasion to get together and visit, and share some of the stories of our lives. I find in that a certain fulfillment. These cousins are family and also friends. I hear stories about my Grandpa and Grandma, and about my Aunts and Uncles, and of course, the cousins themselves. After all these years, I am connecting with them on a level not previously known. That's pretty neat, and it is pretty precious.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Livia Jidov-Williamson Baldwin

Liva (Jidov-Williamson) Baldwin was born June 20, 1914, in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was the firstborn child of Dan (Dimitri) & Gafia Jidov. She passed away Wednesday, February 26, 2014 in Texas. She was 4 months shy of reaching the age of 100.

Livia was preceded in death by her parents, her six younger siblings, Malany, Ann, Elizabeth, Julie, George, and James, as well as her first husband Albert C. Williamson, and second husband Jerry Baldwin.

She is survived by her three children, Thomas (Janet) Williamson of Wheaton,Illinois; Beverly (Dennis) Stostad of Round Rock, Texas; and Nancy (Bill) Newcomer, Ada, Michigan; 7 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held Monday, March 3, 2014, 9:45 AM, at the Cook-Walden-Davis Funeral home in Georgetown, TX; Pastor Rick Brann officiating. Interment will be at the Central Texas Veterans Cemetery, Killeen, Texas. A private family time of remembrance will be held at a later date.

Arrangements through Cook-Walden Davis Funeral Home, 2900 Williams Drive, Georgetown, TX

Mom loved The Lord, and her confidence in life and in death was in her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Herbert Lawrence Ruffer

Herbert Lawrence Ruffer
Born in Michigan on Aug. 10, 1940
Passed away on Aug. 10, 2013 and resided in San Pedro, CA.

August 10, 1940 – August 10, 2013

Born in a farmhouse in Michigan to Florence Newcomer Ruffer and Lawrence Ruffer, Herb grew up loving farm- fresh fruits and vegetables and hating milk and eggs. He graduated from Baldwin- Wallace College in Ohio with a degree in religion. Abandoning a plan to become a Mennonite minister, Herb joined the Air Force where he was stationed in Texas and Colorado and served as a Supply Sergeant in Saigon during the Vietnam War.

He and his wife and son lived in Cherry Hill, NJ. Following a successful career in the commercial casualty insurance field, Herb moved to San Pedro, where he married his second wife, Sherry. He loved the ocean, marine life, and USC football. He was a docent at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and the Marine Mammal Care Center, both in San Pedro.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Gail and sister, Mary. He is survived by his son, Guy; daughter-in-law, Kerstan; wife, Sherry; brother, David; sisters, Anne and Nancy; three beautiful grandchildren and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

He passed away from complications of MS. Following cremation by McNerney's Mortuary, scattering of Herb's ashes at sea and a memorial service will be private. Donations may be made to FRIENDS of Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, the Marine Mammal Care Center or a charity of your choice.

(McNerney's Mortuary, 570 W. 5th Street, San Pedro, California)

Herb was a first cousin. His mother Florence was my Father's sister.

When I was a young lad, there was a time I was at Aunt Florence's place in the country near Archbold, Ohio. It was a warm sunny day with a good breeze blowing. My much older cousin Herb took me to an open field across the road, and he flew a box kite he had attached to the line of a fishing reel. He let me full the strong tug of the pull of the kite as it danced and sailed in the breeze way up in the sky. I never forgot that. Thank you for the memory Herb... RIP...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Rex Eugene Newcomer

Rex E. Newcomer
August 10, 1917 - December 20, 2012

Rex E. Newcomer, 95, of Waldron, Michigan passed away, Thursday, December 20, 2012, at Hospice of Lenawee County in Adrian, Michigan. He was born August 10, 1917, in Waldron, Michigan the son of Guy and Sarah (Gray) Newcomer. He married Mildred M. Bavin on March 20, 1943, in Waldron, Michigan and she preceded him in death on December 5, 2012.

Rex graduated from Waldron High School, Class of 1935, was a lifelong farmer and retired from Daisy Parts in Hillsdale in 1982, with many years of service, was the Wright Township Treasurer for 6 years, Wright Township Supervisor for 10 years and a member of Waldron Church of Christ. He and Mildred wintered in Arizona for many years and his hobbies included golfing and woodworking.

Surviving Rex is one daughter, Carol M. Newcomer and her husband, Michael Cox of Morenci, Michigan; two sons, John M. (Carol D.) Newcomer of Chantilly, Virginia and James W. "Bill" (Nancy) Newcomer of Ada, Michigan; eight grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren and several step-grandchildren and step-great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, one daughter, Joy Anne Newcomer, four sisters, Martha Merrifield, Gladys McCully, Florence Ruffer and June Newcomer.

Funeral services for Rex Newcomer will be Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. at the Waldron Church of Christ with Minister Don Crain officiating. Interment will follow in the Waldron Cemetery. Visitation will be at the Waldron Church of Christ on Saturday from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m.

Those planning an expression of sympathy may make memorial contributions to the Waldron District Library or the Waldron Church of Christ. Arrangements were entrusted to Eagle Funeral Home in Waldron.

(Eagle Funeral Homes)

Mildred Marie (Bavin) Newcomer

Mildred M. Newcomer
January 29, 1920 - December 5, 2012

Mildred M. Newcomer, 92, of Waldron, Michigan passed away, Wednesday, December 5, 2012, at her home. She was born January 29, 1920, in Ransom Township, Michigan the daughter of Cecil and Dollie (Britton) Bavin. She married Rex E. Newcomer on March 20, 1943, in Waldron, Michigan and he survives.

Mildred graduated from Pittsford High School in 1937, attended Wayne State University for three years and graduated from Hillsdale College with a Teaching Certificate. Mildred taught school for 31 years, 29 in the Waldron Area Schools.. Mildred attended the Waldron Church of Christ and her hobbies included painting, gardening, and reading.

Surviving Mildred besides her husband, Rex of Waldron, Michigan is one daughter, Carol M. Newcomer and her husband, Michael Cox of Morenci, Michigan; two sons, John M. (Carol D.) Newcomer of Chantillly, Virginia and James W. "Bill" (Nancy) Newcomer of Ada, Michigan; one sister, Gela Vreeland of Somerset Center, Michigan; one brother, George (Doris) Bavin of Pittsford, Michigan; eight grandchildren, twelve great grandchildren and several step grandchildren and step great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, one daughter, Joy Anne Newcomer, one sister, Joyce Stubli and one brother, Robert Bavin.

Funeral services for Mildred Newcomer will be Saturday, December 8, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. at Waldron Church of Christ with Minister Don Crane officiating. Interment will follow in Waldron Cemetery. Visitation will be at the Waldron Church of Christ on Friday from 4 p.m until 7 p.m.

Those planning an expression of sympathy may make memorial contributions to Waldron District Library or Waldron Church of Christ. Arrangements were entrusted to Eagle Funeral Home in Waldron.

Eagle Funeral Homes

The Last Ride

A little ritual had kind of developed between Dad and I over the last several years before his passing. We would go down to visit Mom and Dad. Sometime during the visit, I would take Dad for a ride. Usually those rides were around the more immediate rural area of the Michigan-Ohio border where they lived. The trips were of varying length, but served several purposes. It was a chance for Dad to get out of the house. It was a chance for us to talk about things; to have a father-son time. It was also an opportunity for me to see what was going on around the stomping grounds of my youth; to see how so many things had changed and how a few things had stayed the same; a way of reconnecting with my roots.

Those rides became more important as Mom's health and mind began to fail. On those rides Dad would tell me how Mom was doing. I could get first hand from him what was going on as the two of them aged and that aging slowly sapped their strength and vitality. We would discuss what some of their options were. It was a chance for me to reinforce some of the concerns and issues my sister had discussed with me regarding Mom and Dad's health and care. Dad needed the time out of and away from the house. He needed the respite from the care and worry over his now invalid wife.

It was this past November (2012) and the Thanksgiving Holiday was coming up. It had been more then a few months since our last visit to Mom and Dad, and I knew we really needed to make that two and half hour trip down to see them. The Friday after Thanksgiving would be the best time to go, and so it was the plans were made. That Friday morning my wife and I made the trip down to see Mom and Dad.

Mom was laying in the hospital bed set up in the living room. She was not able to stand at all. She was at the point where an aid was coming in just about every day , and Hospice was checking in a couple of times a week. She was not fully "there" in her mind though able to carry on limited conversation. She was still at the point where someone would move her to a wheelchair and bring her into the dining room to eat at the table with the rest of us. As it was, we would have to help her eat.

At some point in the afternoon, Dad and I went for our drive. As usual, I would drive and dad would sit there in the front passenger seat. We went to town and drove around the village. Dad had me drive around by the grain elevator so he could see the new office and scales, and the new grain silo bin that had recently been erected. We went through the cemetery by the stone marking my oldest sister's grave, and the stone with Mom and Dad's names on it, but at that time with only the years of birth.

We drove out north of town, swung east a mile then north again to the other near by village in the area that was also part of the local school district. In that small village we passed by the old school building where I had gone to kindergarten. The decrepit condition of that abandoned school building was an indicative statement of how the whole area of that broader rural community had changed. We turned west at the main corner and wandered through the country side until we found ourselves back at Mom and Dad's house.

I played the memory game with Momma. "Do you remember when we would go to the Britton reunions at the old Grange hall?" "Do you remember when we would go up north to the lake for vacation?" Yes, she remembered, and she remembered those things happened a long time ago.

My last meal with my mother was that evening's supper. I sat there and was spoon feeding her, much like she had done to me so many years ago when I was the baby. After supper my wife and I left for the two and half hour trip back to our home. A week and a half later we got the phone call. Momma had died at the age of 92. That Thanksgiving Friday had been my last visit with her.

Two weeks and one day after Momma died, Daddy died at the age of 95. I got to see him two days before he died and that was good. But then he was invalid and there was no thought of going for our ritual ride together. It dawned on me today, some few weeks later, that the Thanksgiving Friday was not only the last time I saw Momma alive, but it was also when Daddy and I went on our last ride together.

RIP Mom and Dad...

(Cross posted to The Billy Goat Blog.)