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

Cedar Creek

Abandoned Building South of Cedar Creek, Utah

Abandoned Building South of Cedar Creek, Utah

I found myself driving home from Utah a couple of weeks ago and I decided to take the less trodden path.  As such, I stumbled on this old abandoned building a couple miles south of the abandoned town of Cedar Creek, Utah.

I thought the pending storm and the distant Salt Lake made for a compelling picture.

Richmond, Utah Cemetery

I am writing some history on my Grand Uncle Irwin Jonas who gave his life shortly after D-Day.  I do not have a picture of his tombstone and I hoped to grab one this past weekend.  Let me tell you how disgusted I am with the condition of his tombstone!  This is in the Richmond, Cache, Utah city cemetery.

Here is a picture from 2009 of his tombstone.  Even the markings on the stone at that time show a complete disregard by the caretakers regarding driving over the stone and scratching it, very likely with their mower.  Notice how the top right corner is chipped and I am willing to bet it is from the same activity that marked it.  This grave stone was in good shape only a few years before this photo was taken and these were new markings at the time.  Unfortunately I cannot find that circa 2004 photo at this time.  Of course I complained to city offices.

2009 condition

2009 condition

It is quite apparent my complaint to the city offices fell on deaf ears.  Here is a picture of the same grave in 2014!

2014

2014 condition

Notice that the top of the stone is nearly all chipped away!  It is bad enough that portions of the cross on his stone have also chipped away.  Also, look at the nice king/bend in the American Legion marker on the top left of the picture.  This shows a complete disregard for the property of another and a disrespect for the dead and their family for which the stone represents.  This is a man who fought to protect Americans and died in France about a month after D-Day.  He was not buried until February 1948, nearly four years after he died in battle.  This is the grave of a veteran who gave the ultimate sacrifice.  Richmond is a fiduciary, a trustee, of these stones and must treat them with full respect and accord.  I cannot imagine this is allowed in many other cities in Cache County, not from my personal experience in most of the other cemeteries.  Somebody needs be held accountable for this damage.

I walked through the cemetery quickly in the space of about an hour and documented many more failures by Richmond in their care and maintenance of this grave.  It extends beyond just markings and chipping of markers which I will document at another post.  The members of the cemetery district should be held accountable.  The City of Richmond should hold them accountable, the taxpayers in this cemetery district should hold them accountable, and someone should put together a class action lawsuit to pay for these damages.  I would happily sign on.  Does the City of Richmond not see what is going on in their own cemetery district?  Inasmuch as the City of Richmond is condoning this activity, the mayor and council-members should also be held accountable.  Not only should anyone responsible be voted out or removed from office, there should be personal liability for the damages.  This is quite frankly disgusting.  Shame on Richmond City.

 

Dentist Office #6 Slovenian Visit

Stepping back into what only seems yesterday but in reality is 11 years, here is a photograph of the roommates at Dentist Office #6 on Darwin Avenue in Logan, Cache, Utah on 17 October 2003.  Matjaž Marinčič had come to visit from Slovenia and stayed for a few nights.  With the new-found friendships, we snapped a picture.  Mark had visited Llubljana where Matjaž is from and it is from that friendship that he came to visit.  Good times.

Lane Blake,

(l-r) Lane Blake, Matjaz Marincic, Brad Hales, Tyler Elison, Mark Morris, Sam Allred, Paul Ross

 

 

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…

John Nuffer

John and Louisa Nuffer Family

John and Louisa Nuffer Family

Here is a copy of the autobiography of John Nuffer, brother to siblings Regina Wanner (my great great Grandmother) and Charles August Nuffer.

I was born December 4, 1862 at Neuffen, Wuerttemberg, Germany, the eldest son of [John] Christopher and Agnes Barbara Spring Nuffer. After attending the common grade schools for eight years I was confirmed in the Lutheran Church, at age of thirteen years.

I was apprenticed to an architect builder in the building trade in the city of Stuttgart where I labored with the stone cutters and masons six months in the summer time, and attended the Architectural college the six remaining months alternately for three years, when I received my diploma as a journeyman in the building trade. The following spring I emigrated with my father’s family to America the first week in May 1880.

My mother died when I was four years old. There was another boy, Fred, of the same mother, a year and a half old when she died. Father married another woman, Eva Katrina Greiner. Through her influence the family joined the Church.

This is how the Nuffer family joined the Mormon Church:

In the year 1879 the missionary, Henry Flam, a distant relative of the Nuffer family came to the city of Neuffen, the State of Wuerttemberg, Germany, preaching his religion to the family of John Christopher Nuffer in a cottage meeting. The following families attended the meeting: Jacob Schweitzer, Anton Lalatin, Abraham Kneiting. They all joined the Church and in 1880, immigrated to Utah, with the exception of the Kneiting family who emigrated in 1881. Now Eva Katrina Nuffer, wife of John Christopher Nuffer, being a very religious woman accepted the doctrine first, being somewhat out of harmony in her belief with the States’ Kirche, (State Church), the Lutheran Church, especially on the doctrine of child baptism, vicarious atonement and the punishment for Adam’s transgression. It was she who kept the doctrines before the others, so when Elder John Theurer followed Elder Henry Flam, the following year to visit them, the four families Nuffer, Schweitzer, Lalatin and Kneiting were ready to be baptized by Elder Theurer, which took place at the house of Christopher Nuffer. There was a running millrace at the rear of the house which they dammed off with planks. The baptism took place at night to keep them from disturbance, for there was much hostility in the town. The town parson especially made a tirade against it in his Sunday sermon. To avoid persecution, they decided to emigrate as soon as possible.

They sold their holdings at once at auction sale, at a great loss to the real value. In the first days of May 1880 the three families Nuffer, Schweitzer and Lalatin left Neuffen by team to the capitol of the state, Stuttgart, from where they took the train to Mannheim (Home of Men) on the Rhine River. Here they joined a party of about thirty from Switzerland under the leadership of Elder John Theurer. From Mannheim they took two boats down the River Rhine to the North Sea. Here they took the steamer to Hull, England and then crossed England on the railroad to Liverpool. Here more Saints joined them. They left Liverpool in the company of about two hundred. After three weeks on the Atlantic Ocean they arrived in New York. From here the leaders chartered a special train which in about a weeks time went directly to Ogden, Utah, where they were royally received by some of the Saints.

The Nuffer family then went to Logan (1880). I was baptized on the first Tuesday in August in the Blacksmith Fork River by Nicholas Summers, confirmed by John Lederman. I got a job working on the Logan Temple the first winter as a stonecutter. Father’s family bought a home in Providence and settled there. The second year I worked in Salt Lake on the Deseret University building for contractor Elias Morris as a stonecutter and mason.

In 1882 I went with Tom Ricks to Montana to do some mason work on the Great Northern Railroad. I stayed there about six months. I came back to Logan and worked on the Logan Temple helping to finish the baptismal font and helped to point (to point is to fill and finish carefully the joints with mortar) the Temple until it was finished on the outside. In the fall of 1883 I persuaded father’s family to sell their home and we moved into Idaho and took up a homestead in Worm Creek, Oneida County, then called Preston, now called Glendale.

On September 18, 1884, I married Louisa Zollinger and was sealed in the Logan Temple in 1891. She was the daughter of Ferdinand and Louisa Meier Zollinger. We lived at Glendale until the fall of 1890 when we moved to Preston, having been called by the Church to take charge and superintend the building of the Oneida Stake Academy.

In the spring of 1895, I was called on a mission to Germany. I worked in the city of Stuttgart eleven months, presiding over that branch and baptized five persons. From there I went to Nuremberg where I labored six months. From there I was called to Mission headquarters in Bern, Switzerland, to edit the “Stern”, the German edition of the Millennial Star. While there I translated B.H. Roberts’ “The Gospel”, and Wilford Woodruff’s “Experiences”, and “The Key to Theology” into the German language, which were published as serials in the “Stern”.

In the summer of 1897 I received my release and taking charge of a company of Saints, I arrived in Salt Lake the third of July and arrived at my home in Preston on the 4th of July 1897.

After coming home I was contracting building in partnership with Joseph S. Geddes, building several residences, the Weston Tabernacle, The First Ward chapel, and several school houses and other buildings. After that I opened an architect office and planned most of the older business blocks, the Opera House, State Bank building, the Oneida Stake Science building and several other school buildings outside of Preston at McCammon and Grace.

When Preston was organized into a village I served four years as a village trustee, and two years as village clerk until Preston was organized into a city.

Eleven children were born to us: Luther Jacob, John Willard, Louis Ferdinand, Herman Christopher, Austin Ekert, Karl Aaron, Agnes Louise, Myron David, Florence Myrtle, Edwin Joseph and Athene Barbara.

The foregoing was told to Jennie Smart Nuffer

September 1938

John Nuffer raised apples for many years. His orchard was located at the family home East on Fourth South Street. When he retired from public office, he continued to look after his fruit raising as well as dairy cattle. He was very proud of the fine fruit he raised and never over-charged for his produce. His health failed very fast following the death of his wife on October 1945 and he followed her in death on June 4, 1946. He was buried in the Preston Cemetery. He was a High Priest.