My Handsome Father

Similar to what I did for my Mom’s birthday this year, I thought I would catalog some of Dad’s childhood through photos for his birthday.  I will only take him through about 1961 when he graduated from high school.

Happy Birthday Dad!

Dad was born in Ogden, Weber, Utah.  He and Grandma, Gladys Donaldson Ross, lived with her parents Dave and Dena Donaldson.  Milo and Gladys lived in Ogden until 1946 his father, Milo Ross, returned from World War II.

8 weeks old

Color photo of Baby Milo with Proud Mama, Gladys Ross

Milo with Grandma Donaldson in late 1943

Baby Milo and Gladys Ross

Color Portrait 1 in 1945

Color Portrait 2 in 1945

1944

Milo with Aunt Dena Donaldson in 1944

Dad with Grandma

Milo Ross and Joan Stauffer in 1944

1944

Dad and Grandma in 1944

Gladys and Milo with sled in 1944

Milo kissing his Mom

Milo with his Uncle Davie Donaldson

Winter 1944, notice the tribute to his father with the stripes on his arm

Dad with a wagon painted for him

The family then moved to Plain City and lived in a little log house (that Milo Sr was born inside in 1921) on 4200 West.  As you can see below, the house now had a clapboard outside.

Milo and Gladys in 1945

Mary Blanch and Milo Ross in 1946

Smiling in 1947

Milo, Gladys, and his tricycle

Milo with his Grandma, Dena Van Leeuwen Donaldson, and Great Grandma, Mary Elizabeth Williams Donaldson Stoker.

In 1948 the family moved into a new home on 4800 West in Plain City.

Milo and Judy Ross in 1948 on carousel

Gladys Ross holding Judy (left) and Caroline (right) and Milo standing in front in 1948

Caroline, Milo, and Judy Ross about 1950

Judy, Milo, and Caroline Ross with Santa about 1951

First day of school about 1953

Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Milo, Gladys, and Judy Ross at Yellowstone in the mid 1950’s

School portrait about 1954

Milo in his scouting uniform about 1954

The Ross family moved to the current home on 4100 West in Plain City in 1955.  You can see the previous home in the photo above.

Yearbook picture about 1956

Eagle Award clipping in 1957

Eagle Scout

Duty to God Award clipping

Duty to God Award in 1959

Weber High School Graduation 1961 clipping

Van Leeuwen Children

Some time ago I wrote about my Van Leeuwen ancestors.  Since I have a number of photos of the children, I thought I would make them available.

I listed the children in that earlier post but will list them for quick reference.

Gerhardus Hermanus Van Leeuwen (1881-1883)

Elsebina Johanna Van Leeuwen (1883-1883)

Johanna “Annie” Hermiena Van Leeuwen (1884-1958) married Ebele Edsinga (1884-1962)

Elsebina “Elsie” Maria Catharina Van Leeuwen (1886-1927) married Elmer Leroy Staker (1884-1966).

Gerhardus Hermanus “George Henry” Van Leeuwen (1887-1937) married Marie Timmers (1890-1975)

Hermiena “Minnie” Van Leewen (1890-1971) married George Berglund (1894-1962)

Jantjen “Jane” Van Leeuwen (1891-1942) married Frederick William Bremer (1894-1963)

Marie “Mary” Van Leewen (1893-1977) married Andrew “Andy” Hewitt (1892-1981)

Hermanus “Herman” Van Leeuwen (1896-1973) married Cora Edna Biddulph (1899-1985)

Berendena “Dena” Van Leeuwen (1898-1959) married David Delos Donaldson (1894-1953)

Christiena Van Leeuwen (1901-1901)

Catharina “Kate” Johanna Van Leeuwen (1902-1975) married Richard Leslie “Les” Collins (1899-1969)

Elsie Van Leeuwen

Sisters Minnie (top) and Jane Van Leeuwen

Minnie Van Leeuwen

Herman Van Leeuwen

Dena and Herman Van Leeuwen

Kate Van Leeuwen

Fred and Jane Bremer

Mary Hewitt and son, Grant

Jane Bremer with daughter Dorothy

Herman Van Leeuwen Family

Kate and Les Collins

Minnie and George Berglund

(l-R) Minnie Berglund, Kate Collins, Mary Hewitt, Marie Van Leeuwen, Cora Van Leeuwen taken on 6 October 1970

Kate Collins and Herman Van Leeuwen

Les and Kate Collins

 

Tricycle 1947

Mary Donaldson (left), Dena Donaldson, and Milo Ross in 1947

This is a fun photo of my father, Milo Paul Ross, in 1947.  Since I often see a similar facial expression in my own daughter and nephew, I thought I would post this picture now.  I have already written of Mary Williams Donaldson Stoker and Dena Donaldson previously.  I have also written of Dad’s parents.  This picture was taken in Ogden, Weber, Utah.

Ode to Grandma Ross

Gladys and Maxine; ages 5 and 3 (1927)

Since Grandma would have been 90 today, I thought I would put together a couple of memories of her to commemorate her birthday.  Not so much a biography, just more of my personal memories and a couple of pictures through the decades of her life.  Gladys Maxine Donaldson was born 20 September 1921 in Ogden, Weber, Utah.  I have written of her parents, David and Dena Donaldson, previously.

1939

Grandma married Milo James Ross 4 April 1942 in Ogden.  I have written some of their history at the following link: Ross-Donaldson Wedding.  Milo and Gladys had three children; Milo in 1943 (my father), Judy in 1946, and Caroline in 1948.

Milo and Gladys, 1943

I think the following photo was taken on the steps of Grandma’s parent’s home on Wall Avenue in Ogden.  I believe this photograph was taken the day of Glady’s father’s funeral.  The little girls are Caroline (left) and Judy (right).

Caroline, Gladys, and Judy about 1953

Here is a picture of Grandpa and Grandma in front of their home (built by Grandpa in 1955).  If you look closely, you can see the back of them in the window.

1961

Here is a more formal photograph of Grandpa and Grandma.  I do not know the occasion.

Milo and Gladys in the 1960’s

Another one.

Abt 1976

I think this is the first photo I have with my Grandma.  I do not know exactly how old I am, but I am most likely under 2 years old.  Since I grew up in Idaho, I only got to see my Grandparents once or twice a year.  In this picture, I do not seem too sure of the lady on the bike!

Paul and Gladys, about 1981

I do not recall what the occasion was for this picture but we were dressed up for something.  I do not recognize the building.

Paul, Gladys, and Andra in 1985

In 1992 when I received my Eagle Scout, my mom refused to step into an LDS church where the Court of Honor was held.  Dad invited Grandma to stand in for my Mom.  Mom arrived around the time of this photo in her thermal overalls and was royally upset and offended not only that my Grandparents were there, but that Grandma took her place.  Either way, it was a great honour to my Grandparents, especially in light of the history between my Grandparents and Mom.

Paul, Gladys, Milo (Jr) in 1992

In 1997, I moved to Logan, Utah to attend Utah State University.  Since I lived so much closer, I made an effort to visit my Grandparents at least once a month or so.  Typically it was not hard as I could catch a ride with someone passing through to another location.  Grandma was always very kind and would repeatedly remind me how much she loved me and that there was always a bed for me to sleep in if I wished to spend the night.  As her mind started to slip after Aunt Judy’s death the next year, she would often repeat the same two phrases at least every 15 minutes.  While they were the repetitions of an old lady, I still recognized that they came from the heart of my Grandmother who dearly loved me.  She knew me, loved me, and only had two phrases in which to express that in her mental infirmity.  I now feel her love over and over again with the phrases, although at the time they were sometimes annoyances.

I have to share a quick story at this point.  I had just come home my mission in England in December 2000.  I had not been home very long when I visited Utah again with my friend Dustin McClellan.  I was given some gifts and homemade soap to drop off at Grandpa and Grandma’s in Plain City.  Dustin and I stopped and we were visiting when Grandma left the room announcing she would cut up some fudge and bring it out.  Grandma came into the room and I turned down the fudge (I try to avoid sweets).  Grandpa took a piece and Dustin took a healthy portion.  Dustin put most of it in his mouth and when Grandpa took a bite he exclaimed that the fudge was soap.  Grandma had cut up the soap we brought as a gift thinking it was fudge!  The look on Dustin’s face was clearly a man who had taken a mouth of fudge and was completely disgusted and deceived but did not want to let anyone know lest he offend my Grandma.  Grandpa had to take the soap from Grandma who was about to eat a piece despite the warning.  Dustin who was nearly foaming at the mouth from the soap excused himself to wash out his mouth.  We still laugh about this episode now, 10 years on.

Another episode occurred in 2001, probably around September.  I was driving through with a friend, Kevin Orton, for business and I convinced him to pay a stop on my Grandparents.  It was a fairly routine visit and Grandpa invited Kevin and me to go out back to visit his large garden.  Grandma walked with us and after a while we all retired to the back porch to sit a while.  Grandma went in to the house after offering us all a drink.  Grandpa went after her because she was so forgetful (to the point that he was concerned about her safety when cooking).  She opened the door, walked in, and Grandpa caught the screen door as it was closing.  Grandma turned and exclaimed, “Don’t touch my damn door!”  Grandpa jumped back, let the door close, and Grandma closed the door behind.  Right before she closed the door all the way though, she spoke softly, “I love you honey.”  She then closed the door and we heard it lock!  Kevin and I laughed and laughed about the whole scene.  Even years later he will randomly reference this experience.

Here is a great picture of Grandma at her 60th wedding anniversary.  She looked great but her memory was pretty much gone and I think she was lost half the time she was there.

2002

Jennie Britzman, Grandma’s first cousin, came to visit and this picture was snapped.  Grandpa was Grandma’s full-time caretaker by this point (Grandpa and Grandma were both about 82) and they rarely strayed far from home.

Jennie Britzman and Gladys, 2003

I believe this is the last photograph I have taken of Grandma before she passed away.  Grandpa looks younger and Grandma looks happy.

Grandpa and Grandma in 2004

Grandma died 25 August 2004 in the new McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden.  Her funeral and burial took place in Plain City on 25 August 2004.  Happy Birthday Grandma, I look forward to seeing you again.

Van Leeuwen – Janzen Wedding

Harmanus and Johanna Janzen are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Hermina to Gerhardus Hendrik Van Leeuwen, son of Gerrit and Elsebina Van Leeuwen. Gerhardus and Hermina were married in Arnhem, Gelderland, Netherlands on 31 March 1880.

Gerhardus is a carpenter and the family will make their home in Arnhem.

That might be somewhat how the wedding announcement might have been like for the couple, except in Dutch.  When referring to individuals in the United States, I have kept the English capitalization of Van and Der, while the Dutch individuals I have maintained the Dutch preference.

Gerhardus Hendrik Van Leeuwen (who went by George Henry in English) was born the fourth of nine children to Gerrit van Leeuwen and Elsebina Maria Catharina Weenig on 16 October 1856 in Oldenzaal, Overijssel, Netherlands.  I have written of them at this link: Van Leeuwen-Weenig Wedding.  He was a carpenter by trade, on the finishing side.  He would also tune and service organs.  After moving to the United States, he worked as a finishing carpenter.

We do not know anything about how they met, the courtship, or the marriage in 1880.

Hermina Janzen (who went by Minnie) was born the fourth of nine children to Harmanus Janzen and Johanna van der Meij on 19 August 1860 in Gorssel, Gelderland, Netherlands.

George and Minnie would eventually have 12 children born to their marriage (Here are some pictures of the children).  Nine of these would live to adulthood and marry.

Gerhardus Hermanus Van Leeuwen was born 22 February 1881 in Arnhem and died 19 November 1883 in Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands.

Shortly after Gerhardus’ birth, the family moved to Amsterdam.  The family moved around quite regularly, sometimes only living in one place for a couple of weeks.  This may show the family was struggling financially.

Elsebina Johanna Van Leeuwen was born 5 January 1883 in Amsterdam and died 18 Mar 1883 in Amsterdam.

Johanna Hermiena Van Leeuwen (known as Annie) was born 30 January 1884 in Amsterdam and died 20 July 1958 in Ogden, Weber, Utah.  She married Ibele Idsenga (known as Emil Edsinga) 3 February 1905 in Ogden.

It is assumed that around this time (1885-1886) is when George incurred a head injury.  My Great Grandmother, his daughter Dena, indicated he fell from a ladder.  Other siblings reported to descendants that he was struck in the head with a board.  This is believed to be the reason why the family moved back to Arnhem, that due to his inability to work, this may be the reason they returned to Arnhem to be near family and rely on them for help.

Elsebina Maria Catharina Van Leeuwen (known as Elsie) was born 7 March 1886 in Arnhem and died 2 March 1927 in Ogden.  She married Elmer Leroy Staker 2 May 1906 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah in the LDS temple.

The family then moved back to Amsterdam perhaps in pursuit of employment again.  It was in Amsterdam that the Van Leeuwens met with missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  George and Minnie were both baptized 4 June 1887.

Gerhardus Hermanus Van Leeuwen (reuse of the older sibling’s name, known as George) was born 29 August 1887 in Amsterdam and died 21 January 1937 in Ogden.  He married Maria Timmers 17 September 1908 in Salt Lake City.

According to George’s 1932 death certificate, he suffered from epilepsy with psychosis for 45 years. That would predate his immigration to the United States. His mental health could have become an issue when immigrating, and it may have been easier if Minnie and the children had gone first and established their new home. That may have enabled George to follow the next spring without risk of having the family turned back. With family already in Utah, immigration officials would hopefully admit him into the country.  Epilepsy had a stigma of illness that the family had to deal with, everything from wickedness to a contagious disease.  This way, only he would be turned away, and hopefully with the family already there, the officials would admit him to the country.  George arrived 21 March 1889 in New York City, New York on the S.S. Veendam having left Rotterdam.

Minnie’s membership records appear in Ogden 1st Ward and Wilson Ward of the LDS Church by October 1888.  The family settled in the area around Wall and 32nd in Ogden.  A number of other Dutch emigrants were also in the area.

Hermiena Van Leeuwen (known as Minnie) was born 26 January 1890 in Ogden and died 21 August 1971 in Ogden.  She married George Berglund 22 September 1915 in Ogden.

Jantjen Van Leeuwen (known as Jane and Jennie) was born 30 December 1891 in Ogden and died 27 July 1942 in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.  She married Frederick William Bremer 10 December 1913 in Salt Lake City at the LDS temple.

Maria Van Leeuwen (known as Mary) was born 15 November 1893 in Ogden and died 16 August 1977 in Ogden.  She married Andrew George Hewitt (known as Andy) 22 September 1915 in Salt Lake City at the LDS temple.

Hermanus Van Leeuwen (known as Herman) was born 10 July 1896 in Ogden and died 26 November 1973 in Ogden.  He married Cora Edna Biddulph (or Lowe) 21 July 1916 in Ogden.

Berendena Van Leeuwen (known as Dena) was born 28 December 1898 in Ogden and died 5 March 1959 in Ogden.  She married David Delos Donaldson (known as Dave) and I have written of their marriage at this link: Donaldson-Van Leeuwen Wedding.

Christiena Van Leeuwen was born 16 March 1901 in Ogden and died 20 March 1901.

Catharina Johanna Van Leeuwen (known as Kate) was born 2 December 1902 in Ogden and died 27 November 1975 in Ogden.  She married Richard Leslie Collins (known as Les) 17 March 1920 in Ogden.

All the individuals who knew the family mention first how close the family was.  The family was known that once a visitor was around, the food came out.  Apparently Minnie was a master cook and all loved her food.  She apparently made loaves and loaves of bread at a time.  The neighbors knew what days she made bread and would regularly buy loaves from her.  Friends of the children knew what day to come and eat some of Minnie’s bread.  After she passed, her daughters had all learned well and continued the tradition and into their own families after marrying.

The family was also known for the practical jokes they would play on one another and the constant play quarreling.  Even throughout life, some of the siblings would make up stories about other siblings that would make the sibling mad and things turned hot for a while and then the favor would return.  All throughout the rest of their lives, the siblings met together oft and enjoyed meals together.

Five children in back (l-r): Minnie, Annie, Elsie, George and Jane. Second row: George, Dena, Hermina. Front: Mary and Herman.

The above photo placements are as follows.  You can tell George and Minnie Van Leeuwen.  Dena is sitting on the stool between the parents.  The five children behind from left to right are Minnie, Annie, Elsie, George, and Jane.  The two in front of George are Mary and Herman.  Kate was not born yet when this picture was taken roughly in 1902.

George’s head and mental injuries continued to worsen as the years passed.  The family either had to keep him safe during a fit and keep him calm to keep from inducing a fit.  By the time 1911 rolled around, the family could no longer deal with his mental condition on their own.  Dena referred to her “Daddy” as tender and sweet and then at the switch he would become angry and threatening.  He had made enough threats and raised enough raucous that neighbors called the police.  George was committed to the Utah State Mental Hospital in Provo, Utah, Utah in 1911.  The family tried to get him out and succeeded.  Unfortunately, he lost control again and ended up spending the rest of his life in the mental hospital.  The family would drive down nearly every weekend to pick up “Daddy” and keep him for the weekend before taking him back.  By the mid 1920’s, they could not even take him home on the weekends his condition was that poor and uncontrollable.

Photo from George’s Utah State Hospital file

“Momma Minnie,” as she was known to friends, died 9 June 1921 in Ogden.  She was buried 3 days later in the Ogden City Cemetery.  When Hermina died in 1921 she left a will specifying $1 to Gerhardus who was in state care and otherwise her estate was divided among her surviving children.  Hermina died at Elsie’s home.  George died 5 January 1932 in Provo, Utah, Utah.  He was buried 3 days later beside his wife.

Donaldson 4 Generations

Dora Birch, Mary Donaldson, David Donaldson, and (boy) Jan Birch

I thought I would share this 4 generation photograph taken about 1950 or so in Ogden, Weber, Utah.  The older lady is Mary Elizabeth Williams Donaldson (7 April 1869 – 29 Mar 1951).  David Delos Donaldson (26 March 1894 – 24 September 1953), her son, stands to her right.  The other lady, Dora Mary Donaldson Birch (28 May 1920 – 30 July 2001), is the daughter of David.  The boy, Jan Claire Birch (3 August 1945 – 14 April 2004) is the son of Dora.

I have written previously about Mary (Donaldson-Williams Wedding) Donaldson and how stern and mean she apparently was in her outward demeanor.  This photograph is a complete and polar opposite portrayal of the lady so many have given to me.  There must surely have been some joy and happiness in there as this photo seems to indicate (if it is in fact Mary, some are not so convinced).

David (who went by Dave in life) I have also written of previously (Donaldson-Van Leeuwen Wedding) and mentioned his overall characteristics.  I wanted to take this opportunity to share another story I just heard recently.

I mentioned in the post about David that he was known for being a tight wad.  Well, apparently after he passed away, Dena had a dream about him coming to her during an afternoon nap.  He told her that she needed to go to the pantry.  She could not figure out why in the world she would need to go to the pantry but did so anyway.  She walked into the pantry, downstairs, and turned on the light and started to look around.  She noticed what appeared to be a loose brick and went over to investigate.  The bricks came away and in a little lockbox behind she found a quit-claim deed to the home made to her and about $1,500.  That was quite a bit of money in 1953, but it was just enough to pay off all David’s doctor and funeral bills.  There was even enough left for some nice things for Dena.

Dora and Jan Birch I really do not have stories for at this time, maybe some day.

El Capitan

The photos that appear in family albums, especially old photos, are always fascinating.  With the costs and time restraints of photography in those days, one could not just photograph whatever they wished.  It was with interest that this photo is contained in the album of my Great Grandfather, David Delos Donaldson.  This photo was taken in the summer of 1919.

The El Capitan was a ferryboat (982 tons) commissioned by the San Francisco & Oakland Railroad in 1868 and built in Oakland.  This ship was still in service as of 1919, which seems pretty impressive for the longevity of a ship.  SF&O was later absorbed into the Southern Pacific Railroad.  While El Capitan had served the San Francisco to Oakland route for many, many years, by 1919 she was serving Vallejo Junction to Vallejo.  I could not find out when she quit service.

Why take a picture of this ferryboat?  Did he ride it while he was in the army before heading off to France?  Did Dena, his wife, find it interesting because it was the first ferry she ever saw?  Unfortunately, we will never know in this life.