A generation gone…

On Monday, December 15th my last grandparent passed away. William Atkinson Shepard, jr. He was 94 years old. Only few weeks short of being 95.

Bill, as he was known by family, was the son of William Atkinson Shepard, sr. and Rachel Hays. He was born in Ohio spending his formative years there and first saw my future grandmother, Lois Shaw, while sitting in church one day.

He joined the US Army Air Corps (which eventually became the United States Air Force), on June 12, 1942 during World War II.

Bill and Lois had 5 children. The first, William Gerald, didn’t live but a day after being born. Lawrence Alan died in a car accident in 1978 after being hit by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel.

I am sorry that I didn’t know my grandparents better, but travel and distance made it difficult. My favorite memory of my grandfather is his stories, he was a great story teller, certainly not a skill I inherited. He would open the trunk in the attic of their house on Sugar Hill in Maine and pull out stories of Brer Rabbit and that briar patch and read them to me and my brother and sister.

Like my grandmother he donated his body to science.

I can’t really find the words to memorialize my grandfather with, but I do have pictures. So here are a few of my favorites. Starting with Bill and Lois looking so young, starting their life out together.

Grandfather and Grandmother with Sue and Ken, the eldest two.

This is grandfather in Korea.

My favorite picture of me and my grandfather, this would have been about 1963.

A Death in Rhode Island…

Well if you stretch it, this post could be considered very Halloweenie, it is about a death.

On the 10th of March in 1914 at the age of 54, Annie Laura Cain McDonnell passed away. She was John and Dennis Cain’s sister. It doesn’t seem as though the Cains were very long lived as a clan. But I was happy to see that this obituary confirmed what I pretty much already knew, she was one of Martin and Winifred Cain’s children.

Here is her short obit:

From a Rhode Island paper of unknown origin.

Sad news for me today

I have been making the attempt to get out Christmas cards for friends and family this week, in the process I make a quick list to make sure I don’t miss anyone. Last year I had sent a card to Robert Cain, a cousin of ours whom I met through a very helpful librarian in Oconto (after making inquiries about our Cain ancestors at the local library), and hadn’t heard back from him.

Over the years I have stopped in to visit Bob with Dale, alone, and even with Mom and Dad on one trip. He was very helpful and generous with his time and information on our Cain relatives. Without his help it probably would have taken me much longer to break through the road block on this line.

With trepidation I decided to check the SSDI in an attempt to make sure he was still around to receive my Christmas card for this year. Sadly, I found his name listed in the updated database. He passed away September 30 of this year. I imagine that the reason he didn’t send a card last year was he was too ill. Now I am sorry that I wasn’t able to take the time to visit one last time this last year.

Robert S. Cain – I have included his graduation picture from the State Teachers College of Oshkosh, 1951
Here is his obituary edited by me. 
Born December 09, 1921 – Died September 30, 2011 

Robert Samuel Cain, a lifetime resident of Oconto died September 30, 2011. Robert was born December 9, 1921 in Oconto to the late James and Maude (Anderson) Cain. He attended Jefferson School and graduated from Oconto High School in 1940. He worked at the A&P Stores in Oconto, Green Bay and Marinette. Bob attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison until he joined the United States Army.  serving for three years and eight months in England and France as a Technical Sargent. Bob later attended Ripon College, and George William College in Chicago, finally graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree from Oshkosh State College. After teaching elementary school for five years, Bob attended a Benedictine Monastery for a time. Eventually, he moved back to Oconto to the house he had grown up in, next to his brother Harold and his family, and spent many years taking care of his mother. A few years ago he retired to Bay Shore Pines in Oconto as his health was declining. Bob enjoyed reading, playing piano, gardening, and spending time with his family.

I remember his kindness and generosity. He was also a bit old-fashioned. In conversations about technology he definitely was a bit of a luddite. One amusing bit I recall is that he loved inviting the religious groups that knock on your door in to discuss their philosophy and other religious issues. Not a thing most folks would do, but he loved the conversations.

I am sad that he has passed.