Monday, May 27, 2013
Tom knows the names of them all, who is descended from whom, who married whom, where they lived and died. I have a hard time remembering and keeping it all straight. But these are his people.
With a genealogy chart in hand for my benefit, we set off to honor some ancestors, some of them who also served their country in the armed services.
It was raining as we drove south on the freeway, a dismal day. But we had proper clothes, a comfortable car, and the ability to stay warm and dry, and even make coffee stops along the way. The people who have rested here for a century didn't have it so easy.
This is the final resting place of the Vandervoorts and the Bowers, related to Tom through his paternal grandmother.
Joseph and Mary Bower are Tom's great great grandparents, parents of Ella Vandervoort.
Ella was the wife of John Vandervoort, Tom's Great Grandfather (below). Ella never made it to Washington State. She died in childbirth in 1890. John and his children to moved west by or before 1900. One of those children was Tom's Grandma Gertie.
We set out next toward Olympia, where Gertie is buried.
On the way, along back country roads, we made a stop at the old general store in East Olympia. Here Gertie and her husband, Joe Reeder were the owners and proprietors, and Gertie was the postmistress.
The store is still in business, and still an important fixture in this rural community. There is a new post office however, not just a back room in the store anymore.
Tom had a great conversation with the current owner, Jenny Johnson. We chatted, looked around, and had ice cream for lunch.
The Olympia Cemetery is where we find the Reeders, starting with Great Grandfather Seneca Reeder, Civil War Veteran,
along with Great Grandmother Mary Ann Reeder.
And here too are Gertie Vandervoort Reeder and her husband, Joseph Reeder, Tom's grandparents.
And then we get to the people I knew, and still miss, Tom's parents Bud and Bernice Reeder.
Bud's sister, Tom's aunt Clessie, who was an Army nurse during WWII.
I love the wonderful old trees here, sheltering these old folks.
Tom's Aunt Wanda Gertrude Reeder Foster is here too, along with her Robert. She had 97 years of a fulfilling life.
But not everyone here had such a timely death, and the younger ones' passings are still painful to remember. Rest in peace, Cousin Sydney, and your beloved son Joe.
No one in this group died in military service to their country, but some did serve. All led productive lives, overcame hardships, and were loved and missed.
Today they are remembered.