Irwin John Jonas

With the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the events that occurred on that date, I thought I would make a special tribute to my Grand Uncle Irwin John Jonas.  He participated in D-Day and lost his life on 11 July 1944, just over 70 years ago, near Saint-Lô, France.

Irwin John was born the third child to the marriage of Lillian Coley and Joseph Nelson Jonas.  He was born on Friday 2 September 1921 in Thatcher, Franklin, Idaho, at 6:30 PM, although likely born in Cleveland, Franklin, Idaho, while the family made a go of farming.  The family could not make farming work and moved to Lewiston, Cache, Utah as his father took a job with the Utah-Idaho Central Railroad.  When Irwin was about 6, the family moved to Uintah, Weber, Utah.  Joseph was promoted to Section Foreman and the family moved to Ogden, Weber, Utah.  It was in this place that Joseph was accidentally electrocuted in 1932.  Afterward the family moved back to Richmond, Cache, Utah, Lillian’s hometown.

Irwin Primary Graduation Certificate

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The family moved around quite a bit and some of the children struggled with the moves and changes in homes.  The family lived in everything from a boxcar to a nice home in Ogden.  Joseph and Lillian were stern but loving parents, dealing with their own issues as well as with the children.

Irwin John Jonas

Irwin John Jonas

Lillian purchased a small home in Richmond with the funds from Joseph’s life insurance.  Lillian’s family helped raise the rowdy six boys, including Irwin, and youngest two girls.

Irwin Boy

Irwin continued through school.  He did not graduate high school, but at least made it a few years into North Cache.

Irwin High School Certificate

Here is a picture of Irwin at North Cache with Glacus Godfrey Merrill’s class.  Irwin is on the back row, third from the right, fifth from the left.  His brother, Norwood, my grandfather, is on the far right of the third row from the front.  You can see the other names for this photo here.

Glacius Merrill's Class about 1938 or 1939

Irwin Receipt

Shortly before his 18 birthday, 6 July 1939, Irwin enlisted with the Army.  He departed shortly afterward for training.

Irwin Jonas Departure

Unfortunately, the Army had a massive fire that destroyed most of the military records for World War II in 1973.

Irwin Jonas Guitar and FriendFamily recollect that he trained in the southwest as this picture also seems to show with the large cactus.

Irwin Jonas Target

He did make it to the rank of Sergeant in the Army.

Irwin Jonas Military

Irwin met Mary Elizabeth Popwitz at a dance at Camp McCoy, Sparta, Wisconsin.  They were later married 21 June 1943 in Winona, Winona, Minnesota.

Mary Popwitz and Winifred Perley

Mary Popwitz and Winifred Perley (Mary was Winifred’s Nanny)

Irwin wrote a Christmas Card home in December 1943 with the following photograph.

Irwin Jonas Christmas Card

Irwin was then sent to go overseas.  Irwin sent Mary to live with his mother in Richmond.  Mary gave birth to Robert Irwin Jonas in February 1944.  Irwin went to New York City in preparation for the D-Day Invasion.  At least that is the story told by family.

This following envelopes show Irwin was still in New York City in May and July of 1944.

Irwin Envelope 1944 May

 

Irwin Envelope 1944 Jul 8

An explanation could be the preparation for D-Day and not wanting to give anything away so they made it appear like it was in New York City.  Or it could very well be that he did not take part of D-Day and arrived after that date.  However, since he died on the 11th of July in Saint-Lô, it is unlikely he was in New York City on 8 July 1944.  Further that letter was dated 6 July 1944.  It was likely he was writing from France but marking the envelopes New York City.  At any rate, here is the single page of the postmarked 8 July 1944 letter.  You will have to click on it to read it properly, the pencil is hard to scan.  One of Irwin’s obituaries indicates he was sent to Europe in October 1943.

Irwin Jonas Letter 1944 Jul 6

Lillian received the dreaded personal visit from the Army in August 1944.  She received the following letter in September.

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The US Army determined to bring Irwin’s body home to the United States rather than bury him in France.   Lillian and Mary finally received Irwin’s body in late January 1948.  His burial took place 6 February 1944 in Richmond.

Irwin Jonas Obituary

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Robert Irwin Jonas continued to grow under the love and care of his mother and grandmother.

Bob Jonas Baby

After Irwin passed away, Mary moved to Preston, Franklin, Idaho near her close friend Colleen Andra who would later marry Irwin’s brother, Norwood.

Bob Jonas Young Boy

Through the family, Mary and Bob moved to Ogden to work.  There, Mary, Irwin’s widow, met Irwin’s uncle Art Coley.  Irwin and Art were born the same year, even though Uncle and Nephew.  Arthur “Art” Christiansen Coley and Mary were married 3 May 1946 in Evanston, Uinta, Wyoming.

Art and Mary continued to raise Bob as their own.  Two additional sons joined the marriage, Stephen “Steve” G and Ronald Gary.

Steve, Bob, Gary

Steve, Bob, Gary

 

Steve, Mary, Gary, Bob

Steve, Mary, Gary, Bob

 

Bob Jonas Boy

 

Bob Jonas

Bob, Janet, and Bobby Jonas

Bob, Janet, and Bobby Jonas

As of my writing today, Mary is still alive.  She lives in an assisted living home in South Ogden, Utah.

Bob and Janet Jonas, Mary Coley, Steve and Julie Coley

Bob and Janet Jonas, Mary Coley, Steve and Julie Coley in 2004

Wakely Retirement

Ivan Coley, Rulon McMurdie, Albert Wakely, and Jess Holmes

Ivan Coley, Rulon McMurdie, Albert Wakley, and Jess Holmes

EMPLOYEE RETIRES – Albert Wakely, second from the right, a Buhl city employee for the past 19 years, retired Thursday of last week at the age of 65 years and in recognition of his great loyalty and longtime work on the city crew, his fellow employees held a coffee hour in his honor at the city hall and presented him with a gift of a jacket.  Albert will receive social security benefits as well as payments from the State Employees Retirement fund.  He plans to do a lot of fishing, his favorite sport, in his retirement.  Pictured with Albert above are Ivan Coley and Rulon McMurdie, two fellow-workers at the left, and Jess Holmes, city maintenance superintendent on the right.  (Buhl Herald staff photo).

As you can see this photo has the date Dec 7th 1967 written on it.

A clipping in the collection of Colleen Coley Todd.

Ivan Stephen Coley (1912-1994)

James Rulon McMurdie (1912-1993)

Albert Nathan Wakley (1902 – 1982), I know, the name appears to be misspelled in the newspaper article, poor guy.

Jesse Charles Holmes (1906-1987)

Nipper

Another couple of photos I found with some names on it.  They are not related to me in any way that I can tell.

Dewey & Josephine Nipper with their son, 4 July 1943

Dewey & Josephine Nipper with their son, 4 July 1943

Introducing Sterling Dewey Nipper and his wife Josephine Gurwell Nipper.  He was born 12 March 1910 in Benton, Polk, Tennessee and died 1 April 1928 in Buhl, Twin Falls, Idaho.  He is buried in Filer, Twin Falls, Idaho.  She was born 7 January 1926 in Martinsburg, Audrain, Missouri and died 24 May 2004 in Buhl.  She is also buried in Filer.  Since this photo was in the collection of a family from Buhl, I assume I have the right Dewey and Josephine Nipper.  The photo did not have the Gurwell name on it.  I have no idea who the boy is, as far as I can tell the Nipper children are all still alive, however many there were.

Interesting my father was born the same day this photo was taken and Grandpa was preparing for war in Hawaii.

I don’t know that these children are related, but the photos have Nipper names on them.  Therefore, I assume there is some relationship.

Ivan & Ivell Nipper

Ivan & Ivell Nipper

This following photo reads, “Jess Nipper’s children”.  I don’t know if that is Josephine’s nickname or if Jess is short for Jesse or something else.

"Jess Nipper's children"

“Jess Nipper’s children”

However, this photo reads, “Jess Nipper’s Kids, he was married to Grandma Williams’ sister Pearl” and from that I conclude Jess is someone else.  There is a Jesse Franklin Nipper, born 10 October 1887 in Cleveland, Bradley, Tennessee and died 8 January 1967 in Twin Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho.  He is the first cousin to Sterling Dewey Nipper.  He married Pearl Lulu Ownbey, born 20 November 1887 in Custer County, Idaho and died 9 March 1930 in Buhl.

Jess Nipper's kids

Jess Nipper’s kids

With the information on that photo, I found a sister to Pearl Lulu Ownbey named Ethel Gertrude Ownbey born 15 August 1886 in Green Forest, Carroll, Arkansas, and died 1 May 1967.  She was married to Solomon Walker Williams born 27 October 1879 in Sevierville, Sevier, Tennessee, and died 22 April 1958.  Therefore, all the names and references seem to add up so I am confident I have the right people.  Unfortunately, none of the children are named and the records I am looking at do not show any deceased children.  They could all very well still be alive out there in the world somewhere.

 

James & Damey Ross

I came upon this photo of James & Damey Ross and thought I would share.  It is pixellated and I hope I can get a better copy in the future.  I have an e-mail sent to the person who made it available on FamilySearch.

I have written a bit more on James & Damey at this link.  I even added this photo to that post.  I find it interesting how much resemblance exists between Damey and their daughter Fanny.

I look forward to sharing this photo with Grandpa.  He knew his grandparents pretty well and only lived blocks from them in Paul, Minidoka, Idaho.  After his mother passed away, he lived with them through the winter of 1925-26.  He speaks fondly of them.

James & Damey Ross

James & Damey Ross

Ray King

"Ray King, Castleford"

“Ray King, Castleford”

Scanning some more photos for some new people.  This one just did not seem to fit with any of the families.  Probably a photo from school or something given to someone for some reason.

I found Ray King on the 1940 Census in Castleford, Twin Falls, Idaho.  His parents show as Earl and Ruby King.  If I have the right people, I believe Earl is Samuel Earl King (1901-1954) and Ruby is Ruby Rae Kendrick (1904 – 2002).  I believe she remarried to Glen Boyd Lionberger (1896-1992).  As far as I can tell, Ray Clifton King is still alive.

Coley Cabin

Okay, I admit it, I do a little family history.  One part of that family history is the endless search for photos.  I guess I am an eternal optimist in that regard.  I keep visiting family with the hope that I might find another photo somewhere.  Funny enough, as that optimism keeps me visiting people and looking through old photo albums, the eternal pessimist in me is become slightly more and more frantic as I know how often people die and the next generation just junks things.  Okay, maybe not everyone throws things away or tears apart the historic photos and giving a dutiful part to each descendant, but it becomes a little harder to track these things down the father we get from the original descendant.

Let me give one example.  I have not written more of this family history because I would like to find more photographs.  There must be more out there.  My fourth great grandparents are Olavus Jorgensen and Hanna Mathe Christensen Jorgensen.  They were born in 1830 in Drammen and 1831 in Sonde, respectively, in Norway.  Hanna joined the LDS Church in 1866 and members of the family started to join over the coming decades.

My third great-grandmother, Constance Josephine Eliza Jorgensen, joined in 1876.  She had married Olle Christiansen in 1874.  Both her and Olle joined the LDS Church in 1876.  They made their way to Utah and settled in Richmond, Cache, Utah.  Tracking down a photograph of Olle, despite 11 children, has been impossible, granted he died in 1900.

In that pursuit, I stumbled upon Amanda Emilie Jorgensen.  She is the youngest sister of Constance, and as far as I know, the youngest child of Olavus and Hanna Jorgensen.  Olavus and Hanna had immigrated to Richmond in 1896.  Amanda had followed about 1898 or 1899 with her husband Albert Sigvard Swensen.

While I could not find a photograph of Olle, I stumbled upon this photograph of Amanda.

Amanda Emilie Jorgensen Swensen (1872-1945)

Amanda Emilie Jorgensen Swensen (1872-1945)

I recently posted this photo on FamilySearch and have a number of her descendants contact me asking me where I got the photo!  It appears her own descendants do not have her photo.  Yet, oddly enough, I obtained this photograph from her grandson.  But that one grandson kept it sequestered away since he lives far from Utah to where nobody else knew of it.  I found him along with some other relative photographs, and now I am making the photo of her available to more of her line.

The moral of the story is those photos are out there!  They must be sought after.  You have to make the visits to those long-lost cousins and ask to see their photos.

Back to my main point.  I have hoped to find a photograph or two of the old Coley Cabin to the southeast of Richmond.  I have my own photographs of the cabin almost completely collapsed in on itself.  But this past couple of months, I became aware of a photograph of the cabin that hung on the wall of Sarah Colleen Coley Todd in Buhl, Twin Falls, Idaho.  Apparently Colleen was born in the Coley Cabin near Richmond and someone took a photograph of it for her.  Here it is.

Coley Cabin near Richmond, Utah

Coley Cabin near Richmond, Utah

Unfortunately, the photo is not of the highest quality.  It is more of a printer print than a photo print.  But I will take what I can get.  Now I have to find out who took the original photograph.  Maybe they have it in its original photo quality.

Nevertheless, I keep hoping some day I will find some pictures from 50 or 80 years ago of the cabin.  Sadly, those pictures of homes (and not of people) are the ones that tend to get trashed when photos pass generations.  Nobody cares about a home that there is not a link to.  Most of the time, the story of the home is not even known.  But here is one that is preserved.

I am still working on the history of Herbert Coley and Martha Christiansen Coley.  It is my understanding they built the cabin.  But I have so few photos of them and I keep hoping that as I visit family, I can get just another photo or two of them.  I do not have many.

Anyhow, here is hoping for the future!

Fairmont

With the new purchase of our home on Fairmont Drive in Burley, Cassia, Idaho, I thought I would throw out a strange connection I have to the street.  Fairmont Drive turns into Fairmont Avenue at a 90 degree turn just a block or two east of our home.  Within a long stone-throw of our present house sits the home my grandparents, Norwood & Colleen Jonas, lived in when they moved to Burley in 1968 from Richmond, Cache, Utah.  In all my photos, I happen to have some pictures of that home.

2652 Fairmont Ave

2652 Fairmont Ave

2652 Fairmont Avenue

2652 Fairmont Avenue

I am not clear if they had the home built or if it was newly built when they arrived and purchased it.  It is my understanding the home was completed in 1969, which is supposedly the year after they moved to Burley.

My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

Sandy Jonas on the driveway of Fairmont Ave

Sandy Jonas on the driveway of Fairmont Ave

Looking up and down the street in 1972, they year Mom graduated from Burley High School

Looking up and down the street in 1972, they year Mom graduated from Burley High School

Graduation Day, 1972

Graduation Day, 1972

Jackie Jonas dancing on Fairmont Ave

Jackie Jonas dancing on Fairmont Ave

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Lastly, I will wrap up with a family portrait taken in the front room of the home.  This one was in an album and the quality is low, hopefully some day I can find a higher quality photo.

Back(l-r): Sandy and Doug; Sitting: Colleen and Norwood Jonas; Floor: Jackie.

Back(l-r): Sandy and Doug; Sitting: Colleen and Norwood Jonas; Floor: Jackie.

The coincidental aspect of this whole post is that a Jonas relative now lives in the home, some 45 years later.  Denise Andersen Olsen, niece to my Grandfather (my first cousin, once removed), now lives in the home.  Maybe if she will give me permission, I can take a current photo or two of the home.  Maybe I can do a then and now post of the photos I have.  Maybe even one day, I can get the people in the photos for a then and now too…