Thursday, September 22, 2011

Remembering A 90th Anniversary, September 22, 2011

The more you celebrate your life.
the more there is in life to celebrate.
~Oprah Winfrey

Hello Family and Friends,

This coming Tuesday, September 27, marks the 90th anniversary of the wedding of my late grandparents Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower. It is an occasion to remember and to honor these two whose lives had a great impact on those of us who are descendants of theirs.

Leroy and Nola were both born in Mountain View, Arkansas at the turn of the 20th century - Leroy in 1899, and Nola in 1902. They were raised there in farming families of very modest means and then married in 1921, perhaps in the Baptist Church to which their families belonged. The first picture shows Leroy and Nola in a picture that may have been taken on their wedding day.

Mountain View was where they bore their first two children, Hendrix and Maida. Maida remembers her folks saying that in 1925, on her first birthday, the four of them left Mountain View and began their 300 mile journey by wagon from Northern Arkansas to Okemah in Eastern Oklahoma.

Oklahoma was where their third child Victoria (nee Melva) was born and where they lived for 17 years. In 1942 they followed the lead of many other Okies and moved to California. They settled in San Diego where Leroy and Hendrix found work with the Railway Express. San Diego is where Leroy and Nola spent almost all the rest of their lives, in their home on Lynne Street. San Diego is also where they are laid to rest in Greenwood Cemetery. The final few years of Nola's life (she lived to 102!) were spent in Western Washington where her daughters Maida Shepard and Vicki Johnston still live today.

Their 3 children gave them 12 grand children: Hershell and Jimmie by Hendrix; Gary, me, Linda, Darrell, Barbara and Russ by Maida; and Paula, Gloria, Michael and David by Vicki. Their descendants today also include 14 Ggrandchildren and 11 GGgrandchildren. Of their 40 descendants, born in the last 90 years, just one of their children, Hendrix, and one of their grandchildren, Linda, have passed away. The rest are scattered around the U.S., mainly in Western Washington and California, but also Arizona and Tennessee.

I honestly never remember my grandparents ever celebrating a wedding anniversary. They were of very humble and modest beginnings and were not given to celebrations like anniversaries. I was only 26 years old when my grandfather Leroy passed away in 1974 (30 years before Nola). So I did not have many occasions to be around them when their anniversaries occurred. I do know that their 50th anniversary in 1971 was a special occasion, at a very memorable time in our family's history. In my next post I will share some specifics of that event. 

The second picture from 1962 was taken at the Gower home on Lynne Street in San Diego and shows Leroy and Nola Gower on the left. Maida and Eugene Shepard are on the right with their children Russell, Darrell and Barbara. On the left in front is Starlene Bass Gower, wife of Hendrix Gower.

Cheryl Gower. I mentioned two weeks ago that Cheryl Gower, wife of Jimmie Gower of Fort Mojave, Arizona, had surgery. She wrote me recently to say that she is now home and recovering very well. Continuing best wishes to her!

Headstone Replacement. We continue to receive donations in hopes of replacing the headstones for Alexander Davis (1819-66) and his daughter Elizabeth (1844-67), in Spencer, Indiana. Select this link for all the details. Please contact me by email or contact Jerry Davis if you are able to contribute. Thanks so much.
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