The other day I found myself in Fairfield, Camas, Idaho. It was the first time I remember being there, although I know I was there as a kid. Since the County Courthouse seemed different from the others I find myself in, I snapped a picture.
With Aunt Sergene’s passing, I thought I would make some of the photographs I have of her and her life available. I am wrapping this around the language of her obituary.
Sergene was born 2 February 1932 in Preston, Franklin, Idaho. She is the sixth of twelve children born to Mary Louise Wanner and William Fredrick Andra. My Grandmother, Colleen, is the fifth and was four years older than Sergene.
Sergene graduated from Preston High School in 1950. She was a cheerleader and the Preston Night Rodeo Queen where she was pictured on Roy Roger’s horse, Trigger Jr., on the cover of the Preston Rodeo program in 1949.
Immediately after high school she married a guy from Malad who turned out to be quite abusive. Sergene defended herself and quickly had the marriage annulled.
Sergene married Bert B Sorenson 22 August 1950 in Nampa, Canyon, Idaho. Two children were born to the marriage, Scott B Sorenson (1951) and Andrew S Sorenson (1953). Bert worked for Mountain Bell.
Sergene purchased The Wig Wam in Burley in 1969. She purchased the Ponderosa Beauty Salon in 1973 and the Merle Norman Cosmetics store in Twin Falls in 1976. She only purchased the businesses, not the buildings in which they were located. The Ponderosa closed in the 1980’s and the salon with it. I don’t know when she sold or gave up the Twin Falls store. She ran the Burley location until she retired from it in the early 1990’s. It was a sort of forced retirement as the restaurant next door caught fire and Sergene not to make the repairs to her building but just close shop.
Sergene had a knack for golf and bowling. She participated in the Idaho State Amateur Golf Tournament for 53 consecutive years. She was honored as the Burley Municipal Ladies Golf Association champion from 1956 to 1986. She regularly participated on the Idaho Women’s and Chapman couple’s golf circuits. She also served as a member of the Idaho Couples Golf Association.
Bert passed away 4 March 1991 in Burley, Cassia, Idaho.
Sergene married Harlan Brent Jensen 13 November 1991 in Elko, Elko, Nevada.
Harlan passed away 4 February 2002 in Burley.
Sergene then spent considerable time with her dear friend and companion Edward Neil Dean from that point forward. They were close friends and golfing buddies.
Sergene passed 14 February 2013 in Lake Havasu, Mohave, Arizona.
I found this biography written by Mary Louise Wanner Andra of her parents. I will write a separate history for them in the future, but I thought I would make this one available unadulterated by me (typed completely as written in the book, although I added the photo).
This biography was published in Whitney Centennial 1889-1989: Whitney’s First 100 Years. It was published in 1991 by the Whitney Ward, written and edited by the Whitney Ward Centennial Book Committee.
Our father, John George Wanner, Jr., was born in Holzgerlingen, Neckarkreis, Wuerttemberg 29 October, 1870. His parents were John George Wanner and Anna Maria Schmid. He was the oldest in the family of five boys and five girls.
His father had a small farm and some cattle. He was also a road overseer. So dad, his mother and brother and sisters did most of the farm work. They also got wood from the forest for winter fuel.
Dad’s parents were very religious people and belonged to the Lutheran church. They were very hard workers and tried to teach their children correct principles. Dad tried hard to follow in their footsteps.
His parents joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1891. They made sure all their children were baptized as they became of age. His parents could see that it was the only true church on the earth, and they wanted to go to America, where they could worship as they wished. They also felt it would give their children a better opportunity in life.
His parents were the only ones in their respective families who joined the LDS church. Our dad was baptized in July in 1891, and came to America with one of the missionaries – a brother Terrell who was from Providence, Utah. Brother Terrell took good care of him and helped find work for him to do and provide for himself.
Dad got a job working for brother Fred Nuffer in Glendale, Oneida County (now Franklin County), Idaho. In 1893 his father, mother, and his brothers and sisters came to Cache Valley from Germany. Dad and brother Nuffer met them with a wagon and buggy in Franklin, Oneida County, Idaho, June 18, 1893. I am sure he was happy to see his family again, as it had been almost two years since he had seen any of them.
Dad met a lovely girl from Providence, Utah, by the name of Eliza Sterling, and this relationship blossomed into marriage in 1894. They were blessed with two sons, George and Earl Wayne. This marriage was not a very happy one and they were divorced.
On the 31st of August 1898, dad married Regina Nuffer who was a sister of our uncle Charles August Nuffer. [Daughter of the marriage of Eva Katherine Greiner and Johann Christopher Nuffer] On 9 November 1899, they were blessed with twin boys, William and Willard. As time went on they were blessed with more children, a total of five boys and two girls.
Dad went on a mission to Germany in the fall of 1907, leaving a wife and six children. On March 8, 1908, their son Serge was born. Mother and the family were living in a home John Nuffer built for dad. It is a rock house on East Oneida Street in Preston, Idaho. This house is still standing and is in good condition at this writing – June 1979.
When Serge was a few months old, mother took all the children and had a picture taken and sent it to dad so he could see the new baby.
While Dad was in Germany, he met William Andra’s mother and family and baptized the eldest daughter Freda.
In 1910, Dad’s mother and father sold their home and farm in Whitney to Dad. This is the farm Lawrence Bodily now has. Dad built a red barn that is still in use on the farm. After grandpa and grandma sold their farm to dad, they moved to Logan, Utah.
In 1913 dad’s parents, brothers and sisters had a family reunion at their home in Whitney. There was a large crowd and we all had a good time.
We all had to work hard and dad relied on his daughter Mary for many hard farm jobs. However, on Saturday nights he would take us to the picture show and give us each 25¢ to spend on the show and treats.
In 1917, I begged to take the sewing class at the USAC in Logan, as I wanted to learn to sew. However, I was only there a short time when dad brought me home to work on the dry farm. I have always felt bad about this as I wanted to learn to sew.
My brother, William, enlisted in the Army on August 5, 1917. He was with the 145th Light Field Artillery, Battery C. He left Salt Lake City for Camp Kearney on October 11, 1917. He left for France August 2, 1918. William contracted the influenza and died December 1, 1918. His body was brought home November 11, 1920, and interred in the Whitney Idaho Cemetery.
Just a few days before they got the sad news of William’s death, their son, Golden, died November 26, 1918 in Salt Lake City from influenza.
On January 8, 1921, dad sent his son Willard on a mission to New Zealand.
Dad and mother were to face still more sorrow when their son Rulon died February 26, 1924, in the Logan hospital.
Dad believed in missionary work with all his heart and soul and on December 15, 1925, he went to Tennessee on a six month mission.
In 1928, Serge went to New Zealand on a mission and died there October 5, 1929. His body was brought home for burial. The funeral was held in the old opera house in Preston, Idaho. These were trying times for our parents. Losing four sons, and all their bodies returned home in a box. This left them with only one son and two daughters.
On April 7, 1930, dad sent Eva on a mission to California. Dad was not a stranger to hard work. He raised crops and took good care of his farm animals. He took pride in having things looking neat and clean around the farm and yard.
When Dad operated his farm in Whitney, he was always up early in the morning and usually was the first to get to the beet dump in the morning. The story is told about some of his neighbors who decided to beat him to the dump. They got up extra early to get a head start. Before they got to the beet dump, they could hear George Wanner going down the rad ahead of them. They could hear him saying to his horses, “Gid up–gid up–gid up.”
When dad sold his farm in Whitney, he purchased 40 acres nearer to Preston and built a beautiful home on it. Part of it is where the Oakwood School is now located. When he retired he sold his farm and home to his daughter Mary and her husband William Andra.
Dad was successful in the various undertakings he engaged in. He was one of the first in Preston to have an automobile. When he brought it home he did not know how to stop it. He yelled “whoa” when he got in the garage, but before he got it stopped he had gone through the end of the garage.
Dad built the two little homes on the west side of second east and first south in Preston, Idaho. He also built three homes on first south and the south side of the street in Preston. Dad and mother lived in one of them until she died in 1942. Mother was ill for quite a while before she passed away. Dad cared for her the best he could and would take her for little rides in the car. She was unable to walk and dad would carry her on his back from place to place as they went visiting.
As many of you will remember, there was a humble side to dad. I have seen him cry when bearing his testimony and when he was grieved over the death of a loved one, a relative, or friend. He wanted to leave this world a better place than he found it, and I feel sure he made some contributions and brought this desire to fulfillment.
After mother died, dad remarried and went to live in Salt Lake City, Utah. This marriage was not successful and they were divorced. Later on he remarried again and was living in Florida. He became ill and wanted to get back to Preston. My son William went to Florida to bring him home, but when they got to Chicago, he was too ill to go on. So, William put him in the hospital where he passed away on January 5, 1947.
Regina Nuffer was born January 26, 1869 at Neuffen, Germany, a daughter of Johann Cristoph and Eva Katharina Greiner, she came to Utah with her family after they were converted to the gospel. She married Jacob Scheibel July 15, 1889, in Pleasant Valley, Carbon County, Utah. Her first child, Alma Katherine Scheibel Naef, was born, September 27, 1889. When her child was six months old, she and her husband separated and she moved back to Mapleton, Idaho, where she stayed with her parents on their farm. During this period, she would help people when they were sick, and her mother would take care of her child.
In about 1893, after the death of her mother, she moved to Weber County, Utah, and worked for the Will Taylor family in Farr West and the Bowman family in Ogden. She again returned to her father’s farm. On her way home, she stopped in Logan and walked out to Providence to visit a friend. While eating lunch, she happened to think that she had left her new coat on the train. She went back to Logan to the train station and they sent out a tracer. In a few days she got her coat back. After returning to Idaho, she worked for several people in Franklin and Preston. She lived in one room of her brother John’s home in Preston. Her brother was on a mission in Germany at the time.
On August 31, 1898, she married John George Wanner in Logan, Utah. That winter she lived on his ranch in Worm Creek or Glendale, Idaho. In April she moved with her husband, daughter, and step son, Wayne, to the Bancroft flat, a little west of where Grace is now.
She was known as a fine, well mannered woman. Her niece, Athene Hampton, said that toward the end of her life her health was not very good and she had a hard time speaking. When Athene and Louisa Nuffer would visit, they would converse by writing notes to each other. She died on March 10, 1942, in Preston, Idaho. Her funeral in Preston was very well attended.
I have read a number of stories lately about individuals who have lost their children at young ages. Some due to health reasons, some birth defects, and other reasons. I do not want to lessen any of the pain that come from such a loss. I have never suffered any loss of a child. I do think I would struggle more with having a child for a few years and then losing them. A child whose personality I have not really perceived and a hope and glimmer I never glimpsed seem like it might be easier to let go to the eternities with the knowledge I will raise them at a future time. But the loss and separation of having that child become a part of my daily life, whose personality fills my home, whose laughter and cries I recognize in another room, and then losing them to a future date seems more deep and poignant. I hope I never have to experience either, but I know others have and will still endure such a trial.
I have a Grandfather and five great grandparents I never met. While I know their image, some of their personality, their lives are woven into mine; I cannot recognize that influence. I have one great grandparent whose only memories are of her sitting in a lawn chair at reunions and laughing at us playing. But the grandparents and great grandparents I mingled, played games, and enjoyed their presence I miss. Some days terribly. I imagine it would be somewhat similar with the loss of a child, although the stillborn or soon passing child will have memories in the mind and life of the parents. Who knows, maybe it is any memory that makes it difficult.
In that light, I thought I would share some history, photos, and stories of Robert Lee and Dennis Willard Andra, my Grandmother’s brothers.
Robert Lee Andra was born 24 August 1934 in Preston, Franklin, Idaho. He was the eighth of twelve children born to Mary Louise Wanner and William Fredrick Andra. All I ever really heard about Robert is that it was a long, hard birth. He was born in the morning and passed away by the end of the day. Grandma told me he never really turned the right color, he had a tint of blue up until he died. She remembered her Mom holding the baby what seemed like all day. Little Robert was buried in the family section of the Whitney, Franklin, Idaho cemetery.
Dennis Willard Andra was born 10 January 1942 in Preston, Franklin, Idaho. He was the eleventh of twelve children born to Mary Louise Wanner and William Fredrick Andra. I imagine he grew up like any other child in the Andra household; one of many, playful, and a little mischievous. One of Don’s only memories are of Dennis in the highchair as a little boy, probably similar to this photo.
Here is a picture of Dennis with some siblings and cousins. This is a scan of a copy of a photograph. I hope some day I can get a scan of the original photograph so it is higher quality. Sergene, Ross, Don, Larry, and Dale are all siblings of Dennis. Sharon Johnson would be Dennis’ niece, June’s daughter (Sharon is one year younger than Dennis and a few months older than Larry). Jon and Kay are maternal first cousins. I have another photo of just the Andra siblings together, but its quality is so low that Dennis is not really distinguishable, so I did not post it.
Dennis had just celebrated his third birthday with his family on 10 January 1945. My Grandmother, Dennis’ sister Colleen, told me a story that still made her cry 50 years later. Dennis came in to her in the middle of the night. He could not sleep and his ear hurt. Grandma got up and made him a hot pad for his ear and held him for a while. He seemed to feel a little better so she laid him on her bed. She pulled out some dark red fingernail polish and painted his fingernails. He just laid there and watched her. It was clear to her that he was not feeling well. After she finished painting his fingernails she got up to take him back to his own bed. He did not want to go, he wanted to sleep with his sister. She got pretty stern with him and told him he had to sleep in his own bed. She carried him to his bed and tucked him in.
The next morning Great Grandma went in and found Dennis in eternal sleep, he had passed away in the night. Great Grandpa took little Dennis’ body in and laid him on their bed. Don remembers that his little foot curled a little and Great Grandpa straightened it out. Don saw his father cry from the circumstances. Here is a picture of little Dennis laid out for his burial at Webb’s Funeral Home in Preston. My Grandma had a better picture (which I don’t have), but this is again a scan of a copy until I can get a better scan or an original.
If you look closely, you can see that Dennis’ fingernails painted dark red. Grandma would look at the picture and her eyes would tear up. I remember her at one point saying that she felt bad she had spoken sternly to him before putting him back to bed. She loved him dearly and showed it by spending time with him, but the last words she spoke were perhaps harsher than she wanted some of his last feelings. I also know she wished she would have let him stay in her bed, not that it would have changed the outcome, but he might have felt a little more loved.
Dennis died 13 or 14 January 1945 (although his tombstone and death certificate says the 14th) in Preston. The difference in death dates is probably found in the family have him dying on the 13th when he went to bed, the coroner and formal documents have him pronounced dead the next day. His parents went with the 14th on the tombstone and he probably did die in the early hours of the 14th. He was buried 17 January 2012 in Whitney beside his brother. Both brother’s graves are at the heads of their parents.
Colleen’s journal only gives these few comments about her brother. On 9 January (which is a day off from the formal records) “Dennis birthday”. On 13 January 1945, “My darling brother Dennis died.” On 14 January 1945, “Several people came. I am thanking them.” On 17 January 1945, “My dearest brother’s funeral. I just couldn’t hardly see him go.”
With a third photo identified with a Bruderer in it, I thought I would make these photos available. From my understanding, the Bruderers were good friends of my grandparents, Norwood and Colleen (Andra) Jonas, when they lived in Richmond, Cache, Utah. When my grandparents moved to Burley, Cassia, Idaho in 1968 the friends did not see each other as much. Leonard and Donna (Andrus) Bruderer also eventually moved to Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah. Leonard and Donna also lived next door to my Great Grandma Lillian Coley Jonas (Edna’s sister)(and across the street from the Dorney family).
I visited with Donna in 2007. She is an Andrus and her father is Gerald Andrus(1903-1984). Gerald married my Great Grand Aunt Edna Coley(1900-1983) on 17 April 1921 and had a son, Harold Christian Andrus(1921-1966). Harold is my cousin and is an Andrus although raised as a Neilson. Gerald and Edna were married less than a year or so and he remarried to Donna’s mother, Ida Christena Smith, in 1923. Harold is Donna’s half-brother and I called to visit with her more regarding Harold than the Bruderer line. I did mention I had a photo of Leonard and Donna from many years ago as well as a photo of their daughter Lola. Leonard Bruderer passed away in 2006 (born in 1922).
With the passing of Clara Coley this week, I thought I would put together a quick little history with the photos I have of her. A good portion of this is written around Clara’s obituary. I have an autobiography of Ivan so I will create a separate post for him in the future.
Clara McMurdie was born 26 January 1914 in Paradise, Cache, Utah with a twin brother Clarance (1914-1919). She was one of 11 children born to Sarah Amelia Checketts and Joseph Kay McMurdie. She grew up in Cache Valley and her family moved to Richmond, Cache, Utah when she was a few years old. It was while they lived in Richmond that she met Ivan Coley who was a few years older than her. Clarance died and is buried in Richmond. Her family moved to Buhl, Twin Falls, Idaho in 1928.
Ivan hitchhiked all the way from Utah to Idaho to be with Clara after her family moved to Buhl. They were married 22 October 1930 in Buhl. After marriage, they moved and lived at the Coley Ranch in Richmond. They were later sealed 10 February 1932 in the Logan LDS Temple. An interesting side note, the great grandson of the Bishop who married them presided as the Bishop over Clara’s funeral.
Ivan and Clara moved back to Buhl and survived the Great Depression there. They purchased a 160 acre farm in Melon Valley in Buhl. That farm was sold in 1961 and they purchased five acres just outside of Buhl and kept that property for 36 years.
I have in my records that there were five children born to Ivan and Clara although the obituary only has 4 listed. I will have to determine which is correct.
Sarah Colleen Coley born in 1932 in Richmond.
An unnamed son was born 12 February 1934 in Buhl. He died the same day. If I understood it correctly, this little boy was stillborn. Apparently he is buried on the McMurdie Farm in Buhl. I wonder if the present owner is aware of the grave or if it is marked?
Lorus Ivan Coley (“Bud) was born 1 August 1936 in Buhl. He died 23 October 1962 while on a hunting trip down near the Nevada border. Initially reported to me as an hunting accident, I later learned it appears to have been a murder framed to appear as a suicide. Apparently there is an open investigation ongoing at this time on this matter. I will be interested to learn the outcome of the matter.
I was told there was an unnamed son born in 1938 who also died the same day who was stillborn. I do not have an exact date for this one so I suppose what makes me question it is that Clara’s obituary does not mention him. I will have to find out more from the family.
In 1942, Ivan’s father Herbert came to visit for part of the summer. At Ivan and Clara’s home near the well, he fell and broke his hip. This injury would lead to his death in September.
Lastly, Clarene RaNae Coley born in 1947 in Buhl.
Clara dedicated her life to love and care for her family and friends. Even into her late 60’s she was known to outrun her grandchildren. Ivan and Clara dedicated their lives to their grandchildren. Grandchildren often spent many nights, or even weeks, on the farm. Clara loved to quilt and made beautiful blankets. She also made rugs from all the fabric scraps. She was left-handed. She worked at a number of jobs including bus driver.
Ivan and Clara celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 1990. It is about this time that I have my first memory visiting Ivan and Clara with my grandmother Colleen Jonas (technically a niece-in-law).
Here is a photo from May 2012. She was 98 years old and looked to be in great shape and pretty classy. I visited with her about this same time and she identified a number of individuals in photographs for me and still had a sense of humor.
Clara passed away on Christmas Day 2012 at the St. Lukes Regional Hospital in Twin Falls. Her funeral was held 4 January 2012 in Buhl with the burial between her husband and son in the West End, Buhl, Idaho cemetery.
This post card has no value to anyone besides family, but because it has Joseph Jonas’ signature and handwriting I thought I would make it available. Some of the information I referenced in the article I wrote on Joseph and Lillian Jonas.
Joseph and two siblings had just purchased some land near Thatcher, Idaho in Cleveland, Idaho. While they got the farm up and running his wife, Lillian Coley Jonas, stayed behind in Richmond, Utah to deliver a son. She joined him that fall in Cleveland.
“I reached Thatcher Monday 4 o’clock, 2 hrs. ago. Cows stood it fine. Write to tell me how you are making it. From your liveing husband Jos. Jonas.”
Despite also being popular for Guy Fawkes Day which recently passed, Remember, Remember also relates to Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, or as we treat it in the United States, Veterans Day. As an American, the day is more a holiday than a solemn occasion of reflection or remembrance. Nevertheless, I thought I would honor it this week.
Interestingly, we find many people signing up for secession from the United States. I find it interesting that Guy Fawkes Day and Remembrance Day are so close on the calendar and their memorable phrases start with the same repetition of the word “Remembrance”. We seceded from the empire of Great Britain (which used to celebrate Empire Day on 24 May) and won the battle so secession became a legal right in the new colony. Then part of that new colony seceded and lost the battle so secession was no longer a legal right. The battle over secession is 1-1 on our soil but the latest precedent is against it. Our Declaration of Independence is not a legally binding document, but it certainly underlines the presumption of which the nation was founded, and overturned in the Civil War.
Either way, we honor the veterans on both sides of those conflicts in this nation. It just depends on where you live for which side you might feel a little more inclination. Here in the west, we really acceded into the United States rather than won our right to be a part of this nation. The French and Indian, 1812, and Civil War don’t mean much to us in Idaho.
When it comes to the world wars of our century, we have a part to play. Plus it certainly helps to have people we personally know who served and fought in these battles. Most of us know people who lost loved ones in these two wars. Hence these wars and accompanying veterans are more honored at present. In these wars we fought against forced accession into whatever nation was seeking to obtain.
Then we found ourselves during Korea and Vietnam in what is named the Cold War. We fought against forced accession by nations we did not agree with (we ignored the rest) but also sought to help other nations secede and ultimately become free and independent. We helped win that battle with the freedom of nations that were under the control of the United Soviet Socialist Republic. Elsewhere in the world, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, and the United Kingdom continued to allow other nations to become independent and we supported that movement.
American policy and law is less than clear on what exactly our position is on secession. The national mood towards our veterans does not even seem to be as clear cut as it has been in times past. A divide continues to build. I am not really sure over what. Whether we are for or against secession, those who are willing to fight for that right, rightly or wrongly, deserve our honor. After all, far too many of them gave the greatest sacrifice a person can give. We find it much more noble when a person voluntarily gives their life (whether they live or die) than those who are not allowed to choose to do so (but not to diminish their sacrifice). I honor our veterans because of what they give and those who give their all. Remember, those who live beyond the conflict still have to live with it the rest of their lives. May we honor all veterans who fight for their cause (are terrorists veterans?).