Posts Tagged ‘Howard Eben Foster’

Gladys Evelyn Branum FosterOne of my biggest genealogy regrets is not taking the time to sit down with this lady and learn more about her past. My grandmother would have been 98 years old today. She was born 16 July 1913, in Lancaster, Ohio, the third of four children born to Cora Ellen KITTLE and Samuel Clarence BRANUM.

I don’t think her life was easy. Her parents were divorced when she was still in school. She didn’t have a good relationship with her father at all, and from what I’ve been told, she pretty much wrote him off.

She lived in Florida for a time and I have vague recollections of going to visit her there. One time, we went to visit her as Hurricane Gladys was hitting the area. What are the odds?

This was back in the days when kids didn’t need to ride in car seats, and although it was probably a different trip (one with my mom, cousins and uncle), I remember sleeping in the package shelf of the car on the trip down. Craziness!

She was married twice. Her first marriage, to Roger MINYOUNG, ended in divorce. She had a son, Charles, whom I don’t recall ever meeting. (Part of the reason I’m so interested in this side of my family is because of the lack of connections between various relatives.)

She remarried in 1935, to my grandfather, Howard FOSTER. He died before I was before I was born, as mentioned in a previous post. The had three more children together, including my mom.

Grandma was in and out of our lives throughout the years, taking care of us while my mom worked just prior to my own parents’ divorce. She and her sister Twila were in Florida a lot, I think. And she’d be in Marion as well. I think one of the things I need to do is get her kids to help me pinpoint a timeline of where she was and when. There is a lot I don’t know about my grandma, and I would really like to fix that.

Her last few years, she lived with my mom. I regret that I didn’t try to get to know her better. She wasn’t very mobile then, but her sense of humor was still intact and she could get a gleam in her eye… I can only hope I’ve inherited her sharp mind.

Happy Birthday, Grandma! I really miss you.

Self-portrait of Howard Eben Foster

Fifty years ago today, a man I never knew left this world too soon. Howard Eben Foster was only fifty years old and his first and only grandchild was just nine months old when he died.

Howard’s parents were Emma Adelia Briggs and Samuel Blocksom Foster. All in all, there were four children: Hattie Corrine, Carl Blocksom, Lulu Grace (or Grace Lulu–she wrote it both ways) and Howard.

I’m told that Howard had no middle name when he was born. He took on Eben as his middle name because it was the name of the doctor who saved his life after he was stricken with scarlet fever. The impact of this becomes even more obvious when one learns that his older sister, Hattie Corrine, died of scarlet fever before Howard was born.

Visiting the cemetery where his parents and oldest sister are buried, it is easy to believe that they never recovered from losing their first born child. It’s also easy to believe that perhaps Howard’s parents tried not to get too close. I’m making a lot of assumptions, of course. But the stories I’ve heard indicate that life wasn’t easy for him.

Those stories of Howard range from shockingly painful to laugh out loud hilarious. One hopes that old wounds might have healed if he’d had the time on this earth to repair them. It saddens me that he never had the chance. But I am also so grateful that those family members manage to view things with a wider lens, so that those hilariously funny stories are willingly shared.

Howard is one of the two biggest reasons that my interest in genealogy has taken hold. It seems only fitting that I should begin this blogging attempt by remembering him today. After all, without him, I wouldn’t be here to write this blog post.

Rest in peace, Grandpa Foster.