Wednesday, January 13, 2016

52 Ancestors/52 Weeks, Week 1 - Wallace Kinder

For my first "52 Ancestors/52 Weeks" entry, I'm going to discuss one of my wife's ancestors - her grandfather (my children's great-grandfather), Wallace Kinder.

I never had the opportunity to meet Wally, as he passed away long before I ever knew my wife, when she was a child, but I have many stories about him from my extended in-law family, and he seems like he was quite a character.

Wallace Kinder was born 9 July 1918 to Otis Harry Kinder and Lillian Mae Eisnaugle. He had one sibling, an older brother Donald, who died 20 February 1926 at the age of 10, when Wally was only 7.  I'm told that fact and the death of his father were the formative events of his youth.

His father died 27 November 1934, when Wally was 16. Family lore says that Otis died of a heart attack after going out on a cold day to kill a chicken for dinner after Wally refused to do the deed. I was told that Wally carried guilt from this event for many years.

He married Janet Louise Reeg on 8 August 1936, and like so many men of his generation, he served in the Army during World War II.  After the war he worked for Rockwell International building "clean rooms".  In a story told by one of his daughters, in the late 1950's he traveled to Roswell, New Mexico for work.  He would never discuss the particulars of this trip, which was out of character for Wally, who loved to tell stories - he occasionally asked why someone would need television or radio if he was around to tell stories.

He died 28 January 1989, after a battle with cancer.

At the beginning of this post, I stated I never met him.  This might not be entirely true.  The house I grew up in until the age of 10 had a small path behind it for utility access.  This path also got used by residents for quick trips to the convenience store and local pizza place.  On the other side of the path, directly behind my house, was the house where Wally and Janet lived - effectively, he was my back fence neighbor. It is more than likely that at some point in the years I lived there that I saw or spoke with Wally and Janet, at least in passing.  I just had no way of knowing at the time that he would be the grandfather of my future wife.

A note on this entry - I acknowledge that this post is lean on source citations.  Hopefully, that will improve as the year progresses, particularly as I discuss people more remote in time.  Thanks.

1 comment:

  1. Did her grandfather live next door to the gypsies? Were the stars aligning way back then for you and Kerri?????