Eddie the Elder

Edwin Frank Springsteen Sr.

Ninety-two years and eight days; that was the span of Dad’s life in this realm. He left us a year ago, but he will always be in our hearts.

Eddie Springsteen, Aden and Verda’s boy

When I hear mention of Eddie, my first thought is of my brother. Only if the reference was from one of my departed elders would I think first of Dad, for whom my brother was named. Dad was always Eddie to my Grandma Olsen, his mother, and often to his brothers and sisters. According to Grandma, my grandfather Aden Springsteen named Dad on a phone call to her father Edwin Case reporting the birth of a new grandson.

Edwin Frank Springsteen was born November 30, 1924 at the Brink farm west of DeWitt, Michigan on what is now Airport Road. Aden rented the farm and split the milk check from the cows that belonged with the farm. Sometime before my Aunt Madge was born on June 7, 1927 Aden moved his family to a farm owned by the City of Lansing to operate a piggery for garbage disposal. Shortly after Uncle Hud was born on November 1, 1929 Aden and Verda bought a farm in Fairplain Township, Montcalm County just south of Sheridan. They purchased the farm from Verda’s brother John Case, who lived diagonally across the road in Bushnell Township. Dad lived on the farm until he was grown, enough experience to convince him that he didn’t want to be a farmer.

Verda and Aden Springsteen with John, Ed, Lorna, Loretta, Madge, Harold and Donovan

Dad was the fourth of seven children in Aden and Verda’s family. He tended to be fairly quiet but had no problem talking when inspired. He liked to tinker with things to see how they worked or to see how they might be used. One of my Uncle Hud’s favorite stories about Dad involved an outhouse, an electric fence, some wire, conductive mesh, and my Aunt Lorna. Dad told me that after a couple of days he had thought his experiment wasn’t going to work until his sister stormed into the house after a rain. Lorna informed me that the question on her lips was “where is that little snot?!”

Eddie, Agnes and Joyce Springsteen

Dad grew up in a large family with three brothers, three sisters, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Dad’s father Aden Springsteen died March 6, 1941 from injuries sustained in an accident. Dad’s mother Verda married Fred Olsen on July 22, 1945.

Dad and his remaining siblings have passed since I made these charts.

Ed Springsteen, U.S. Navy

After graduation from Sheridan High School in 1943, Dad enlisted in the Navy. He trained at Great Lakes north of Chicago, where he became friends with Durward “Dude” Pontius of DeWitt, Aunt Madge’s husband-to-be. Dad and Dude both served on the USS Essex, the first of a new class of aircraft carriers, for the remainder of World War II. They both narrowly escaped down a hatch as a kamikaze plane struck the Essex on November 25, 1944, five days before Dad’s twentieth birthday. If they hadn’t been so nimble, you wouldn’t be reading this.

Dad lived near Amsden in Fairplain Township after the war with his step-father and mother, Fred and Verda Olsen. He found work at the Gibson Refrigerator factory in Greenville, Michigan. This was later the largest refrigerator factory in the world until Electrolux moved its operation to Mexico in 2006. Dad took advantage of GI Bill benefits to train in refrigeration at Ferris Institute in Big Rapids, Michigan.

Edwin and Lois Springsteen wedding picture

Dad married Mom, Lois Kidder, at The Peoples Church in East Lansing on May 10, 1947. Uncle Mick (Donovan) and Aunt Helen Springsteen, who had been married there, were their witnesses. They lived in Big Rapids while Dad continued his education at Ferris Institute and then worked for Ray Kirvan in refrigeration. My brother Eddie and I were born while Mom and Dad lived in Big Rapids. Dad wouldn’t let Mom name me after him but she finessed a persuasive line of reasoning when my brother was born.

Ed and Lois Springsteen’s first house, 1951

By 1951 Grandma Olsen felt compelled to get Dad and Mom moved closer to home. She found a house for sale west of Sheridan and Dad took a job working in plumbing for Oral Bush. My earliest memories are from this house, perhaps the oldest being Mom’s anticipation of my brother Kevin’s birth. Bush Hardware is now operated in Sheridan by the third generation of Bushes, going on four. Oral’s son Keith had studied with Dad at Ferris.

Dad found his niche when he went to work in construction for Frank Wyckoff and Lloyd Pitcher in the early 1950s. With a remarkable eye for precision and a natural affinity for wood, Dad became a craftsman in carpentry. By the time Dad retired from Wyckoff Construction more than thirty years later, he had helped build and upgrade countless homes and businesses, specializing in cabinet work. As Mom is fond of saying, Dad made a lot of women happy (with their kitchens).

Retirement dinner, Frank Wyckoff, Ed Springsteen and Wayne Wyckoff

In 1962-1963, Dad built his own house in Sheridan next to Frank Wyckoff’s new house on the south shore of Pearl Lake. My sister Joanne was born after we moved there. A third house was built next to ours a couple of years later for Uncle Hud and Aunt Dorothy. Many family reunions and countless gatherings were held between our houses. Dad and Mom lived there until 1989.

Ed, Joe, Harold, Mick and Hud Springsteen
Ed Springsteen playing Merritt Olsen’s hammered dulcimer

While my brothers and I were growing up Dad helped Scoutmaster Wayne Lane with activities for Troop 60 and assisted Little League coaches for the Sheridan Bears. As my sister grew up he wore hairdresser caps and turned a broken Easy-Bake Oven into a trouble light that Joanne still uses. Somewhere along the line he joined the Sheridan Lions Club, of which his father Aden had been a charter member. He served on the Board of Trustees at the First Congregational Church of Sheridan, and was a lifetime member of VFW Post 5065.

Ed Springsteen on the shuffeboard court

From the late 1980s through the 1990s Dad and Mom were back and forth between mobile home parks in the Tampa Bay area of Florida and rural Stanton north of Sheridan. Dad continued his artistry with wood, creating all sorts of things with woodworking and carving tools.

Mill plank from Pearl Lake
Nativity set and Aden’s horses

In 2002 Dad and Mom decided to settle in one place and had a modular house built in Sheridan. In the fall of 2003 we had a similar house built next door and around the corner.

Springsteen Corner

Dad suffered the limitations of Parkinson’s Disease in the last years of his life. He had ornery moments (that runs in the family), but he was always steady Eddie despite physical infirmity. Dad was cared for outside the home for some time, mostly at Green Acres in Greenville. Even then, Mom spent nearly every day with him and we brought him home for holidays and special occasions. He would tire at home with the family by late afternoon and ask to be taken to his home away from home.

Ed and Lois Springsteen, Christmas 2015

Dad passed over in the afternoon of December 8, 2016. Mom and I stopped for lunch that day at Wendy’s, where Dad always enjoyed their burgers and chili. This year on Dad’s birthday, as Mom promised him, we had Wendy’s lunch in his memory.

Here are previous posts about Dad’s passing:

Thomas and Amanda Green, part 3

Early last year I started a series of articles investigating the lives of Thomas and Amanda Green, my great-great grandparents. Here are links to the first two installments:

I began writing this third article shortly afterward but it fell by the wayside. Here, at long last, is the continuation of their story and my investigation.

Graves of Thomas and Amanda Green, Forest Hill Cemetery, Stanton

Correction

After listening again to my 1981 interview with Grandma Olsen, I am reminded that it was Grandma’s parents Edwin and Loretta Case, not her grandparents Thomas and Amanda Green, who met in the lumber camps near Carson City.

Geographical context

Montcalm County, 1897

We can get some sense of where Thomas and Amanda Green lived from atlases at the Michigan County Histories and Atlases Digitization Project. Thomas and Amanda lived with their family in Fairplain, Bushnell, and Bloomer Townships of southeastern Montcalm County, New Haven Township northeast of Bloomer Township in Gratiot County, and North Plains Township south of Bloomer Township in Ionia County. At the end of their lives they lived in Stanton and Greenville.

Thomas and Amanda lived in Fairplain Township, Montcalm County, Michigan at the time of the 1900 US federal census enumeration. I have not checked property records to determine when they moved there, but they were in Fairplain at the time of the 1894 Michigan state census. The Standard atlas of Montcalm County, Michigan, published by Geo. A. Ogle & Co. in 1897, shows that Thomas owned 40 acres consisting of the northwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 1 in Fairplain Township.

A recent aerial view of this area reveals two small lakes, one in the 40 acres owned by J. Chamberlain, the other on Thomas Green’s land. Back in the early 1960s my brothers and I found a small long-abandoned dwelling in this area that we thought of as a cabin. Based on my distant memory, the cabin was southwest of the lake on Thomas’s property and was probably Thomas and Amanda’s home. I wish I had known it at the time. I heard many years later that the cabin had been burned by some mischievous acquaintances.

Family connections

I noted in a previous article that Avey Case and his wife Gladys Teed were half-second cousins, grandchildren of half-brothers Thomas Green and Amos Dodge. There are other interconnections among Thomas and Amanda’s children and grandchildren.

Thomas and Amanda’s daughter Emma Green married William Alonzo Marsh after the death of William’s first wife Marian Claus Marsh. William and Emma had nine children that I am aware of. Their first child, Stella Marsh, married Frank William Jeffrey, with whom she had at least fourteen children. Frank’s father William N. Jeffrey married Stella’s mother Emma Green Marsh after the deaths of Stella’s father William Alonzo Marsh and Frank’s mother Emily Stair Jeffrey.

Stella Marsh had four older half-brothers from the union of William Alonzo Marsh and Marian Claus. William and Marian’s oldest son Martin Marsh married Ida “Tida” Wiser. William and Marian’s second son William A. Marsh married Nora Wiser. Tida and Nora were two of at least nine children born to Augustus and Julia Clark Wiser. Julia was Emma Green’s half-sister. Roenia Green’s daughter Olive Powers married Daniel Wiser, whose father Frank Wiser was Augustus Wiser’s brother.

A letter of inquiry to Martin Marsh from the Bureau of Pensions seeking information about Marian Marsh, wife of Civil War veteran William A. Marsh, found its way to William’s second wife Emma Jeffery, who was staying for a time with her sister Julia Wiser. Note the spelling variation in Emma’s last name. This letter was supplied by Susan Savard, a shirttail relative and family researcher who copied it from pension files at the National Archives:

Some of Edwin and Loretta Case’s extended family. Back: Cynthia Loretta Case, Edwin Case, Laura Scott, Wellington Scott, Theodore Case, Goldia Clark. Middle: Elsie James, Maude Case, Frank Case, John Case, Vida Case, Goldie Verda Springsteen, Aden Springsteen. Front: Elmo Case?, Velma Case.
Verda Olsen’s identification of extended family members

My Grandma Olsen identified people in a picture of some of her extended family as shown in my attached notes. I believe she was right with one notable exception. Here’s why I think that the man in the back row between Laura and Theodore is Laura’s third husband Wellington Scott:

  • Loretta Case’s half-brother George Robert Clark died January 26, 1913.
  • Frank and Maude’s daughter Velma Case was born May 12, 1912. Her brother Elmo, who I am guessing is the child on the left, was born August 5, 1914. Elsie’s daughter Neva James was born January 15, 1920. Her older brothers Avey (who might be the other child in the picture) and L. V. were born February 23, 1914 and April 13, 1916, respectively.
  • Laura married her second husband, Thomas Knight, March 18, 1915. They divorced November 4, 1915.
  • Goldie Verda Case married Aden Springsteen on her nineteenth birthday, October 15, 1918. I don’t think she met Aden through her brother John until 1918.
  • John Case and Vida Whitmore were married December 24, 1918.
  • Laura’s companion in this picture resembles a picture of Wellington Scott posted on Ancestry.com and does not resemble pictures of George Clark posted there.

Elsie, Frank, John, Verda and Theodore Case were Ed and Loretta’s children. Sons Avey and Charles Case were apparently not present for this picture. Avey Case died December 11, 1918. Goldia Clark, born in 1903, was the younger of two daughters born to George and Laura Clark.

Descendant families

Thomas and Amanda have many descendants living today. I have followed a few family lines forward in time. Here are surnames of their great-grandchildren who are known to me:

  1. Julia Clark’s family: Dunkel, Erskin, Marsh, Shattuck, Stockwell
  2. George Clark’s family: Bellingar
  3. Loretta Green’s family: Case, James, Springsteen
  4. Emma Green’s family: Jeffrey, Marble, Marsh, Perry, Taft
  5. Roenia Green’s family: Loucks, Powers, Trombley

Timeline

Here is a timeline of some events in Thomas and Amanda Green’s family:

  • Thomas M. Green was born November 17, 1830 in southern Genesee (now Wyoming) County, New York. His parents were E. (Esick?) Green and Cynthia Ames Green.
  • Amanda R. Brown was born February 5, 1838 in Medina County, Ohio. Her father’s name might have been James Brown.
  • In 1840, Thomas’s half-brother Amos Dodge was born in New York to Daniel and Cynthia Dodge, and Amanda Brown moved with her parents to Michigan.
  • In 1850, Thomas was living with Daniel, Cynthia and Amos Dodge in Erie County, New York. I don’t know where Amanda was.
  • According to Amanda’s obituary, she married Thomas Green in 1855. This date is suspect.
  • Julia Clark was born December 21, 1855 (maybe 1856) to Rene and Amanda Clark in Bloomer Township, Montcalm County, Michigan.
  • George Robert Clark was born January 20, 1859 to John and Amanda Clark in Ohio.
  • In 1860, Thomas and Amanda were living in Bushnell Township, Montcalm County with 1-year-old George Green. 3-year-old Julia Clark was living in the Bradford Wager household of North Plains Township, Ionia County.
  • Cynthia Loretta Green was born October 6, 1861 or 1862 in North Plains Township to Thomas and Amanda Green.
  • In June 1863 Thomas was registered for the draft in North Plains Township.
  • Thomas enlisted for the army February 29, 1864 in North Plains Township and in Corunna, Shiawassee County, Michigan. He was described as five feet and ten inches tall with a dark complexion, grey eyes, and brown hair. He was mustered into Company C of the 13th Michigan Infantry Militia.
  • On March 20, 1865 Thomas suffered a gunshot wound at the Battle of Bentonville near Raleigh, North Carolina. He was transferred from the New Bern General Hospital to De Camp General Hospital on Davids’ Island, New York.
  • On June 6, 1865 Thomas was mustered out of military service at Davids’ Island.
  • Emma Green was born to Thomas and Amanda December 27, 1867 in Gratiot County, Michigan.
  • Roenia Green was born to Thomas and Amanda May 9, 1870 in New Haven Township, Gratiot County.
  • Thomas and Amanda were enumerated for the 1870 census on August 17 in New Haven Township. Julia, George, Cynthia, Emma and Rowena Green were listed with them.
  • In 1880 Thomas and Amanda were living with Emma in Bloomer Township, Montcalm County. Where was Roenia?
  • In 1894 the state census enumerator listed Thomas and Amanda with grandson Willie Hodge (Roenia’s son) in Fairplain Township, Montcalm County.
  • In 1900 Thomas and Amanda were living in Fairplain Township.
  • According to Amanda’s obituary, Thomas and Amanda moved to Stanton, Montcalm County around 1902.
  • Amanda died in Stanton April 19, 1906.
  • Thomas married Elizabeth Bates, born Whiteman, in Greenville, Montcalm County July 5, 1907. Their marriage record identifies Thomas’s father as E. Green and his mother as Cynthia Ames.
  • Thomas and Elizabeth were living at 510 East Market Street in Greenville in 1910.
  • Thomas died in Greenville December 30, 1910. He was buried with Amanda in the Forest Hill Cemetery, Stanton.
  • Elizabeth Green died September 20, 1926 at the Michigan Soldiers’ Home Hospital in Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan.

Insights

We can get a glimpse of personal insight into Thomas and Amanda’s family from depositions in the case of Loretta Criss vs. John Wesley Criss. This legal file also contains signatures for Thomas, Amanda, Emma and Roenia. We should remember that we have only one side of this report of events in Loretta and Wesley’s relationship, but these depositions taken for legal purposes are nevertheless personal.

Selected sources

Daniel Dodge household, 1850 census, Holland, Erie County, New York

Thomas Green household, 1860 census, Bushnell, Montcalm County, Michigan

Bradford Wager household, 1860 census, North Plains, Ionia County, Michigan

Thomas Green household, 1870 census, New Haven, Gratiot County, Michigan

Thomas Green household, 1880 census, Bloomer, Montcalm County, Michigan

Thomas Green household, 1894 state census, Fairplain, Montcalm County, Michigan

Thomas Green household, 1900 census, Fairplain, Montcalm County, Michigan

Thomas Green household, 1910 census, Greenville, Montcalm County, Michigan

Thomas Green and Elizabeth Bates marriage, 1907, Greenville, Montcalm County, Michigan

Amanda Green death certificate, 1906, Montcalm County, Michigan

Thomas Green death certificate, 1910, Montcalm County, Michigan

George Clark death certificate, 1913, Isabella County, Michigan

Loretta Case death certificate, 1930, Mecosta County, Michigan

Julia Wiser death certificate, 1935, Gratiot County, Michigan

Emma Jeffrey death certificate, 1939, Gratiot County, Michigan

Rownia Childs death record, 1945, Clinton County, Michigan (1945 certificates not yet online)

Questions

  • Who were Amanda Brown’s parents and siblings?
  • Who was Julia and George Clark’s father, and what happened to him?

Harold Springsteen, 1929-2017

My uncle Harold “Hud” Springsteen passed from his journey in this life last Thursday night. His obituary indicates that he passed in the early hours of Friday, September 1. As a long-time school superintendent and active community member, he will be widely missed in Sheridan and well beyond. His family and ours have always been close. Hud was the last of his siblings to pass on, leaving Mom and Aunt Dorothy to carry the banner for their generation.

A memorial service for Hud will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, September 9 at the Congregational Church in Sheridan, Visitation will be held at the Simpson Family Funeral Home from 4-7 p.m. on Friday. Hud’s obituary has been posted on Simpson’s web site: http://www.simpsonfamilyfuneralhomes.com/book-of-memories/3113662/Springsteen-Harold/obituary.php

Hud married Dorothy King of Greenville on August 21, 1949. Their children are

  1. Michael Springsteen
  2. Susan (Fish) Springsteen
  3. Nicholas Springsteen
  4. Peter Springsteen
  5. Andrew Springsteen

The passing of Aden and Verda Springsteen’s family

Aden and Verda Springsteen’s family, about 1932-33

The only picture I have seen of Hud’s entire family of parents, brothers and sisters was taken sometime between Loretta’s birth in 1931 and John’s death in 1934. They posed for this photo in their farm home just south of Sheridan. From left to right are John, Ed (my Dad), Lorna, Verda, Loretta (on Grandma’s lap), Madge, Hud (on Grandpa’s lap), and Mick.

Aden Loyal Springsteen and Goldie Verda Case, Hud’s parents, were married on Grandma’s 19th birthday, October 15, 1918. Aden lived from July 29, 1896 to March 6, 1941. Verda lived from October 15, 1899 to July 27, 1984. Their children were

  1. John L.D. Springsteen, October 21, 1919 to August 30, 1934
  2. Donovan E. “Mick” Springsteen, January 8, 1921 to June 27, 2009
  3. Lorna Elsie (McMellen Raczkowski Wolf) Springsteen, September 18, 1922 to March 18, 2016
  4. Edwin Frank Springsteen, November 30, 1924 to December 8, 2016
  5. Madge M. (Pontius) Springsteen, June 7, 1927 to April 20, 2017
  6. Harold A. “Hud” Springsteen, November 1, 1929 to September 1, 2017
  7. Loretta Agnes (Potter) Springsteen, March 18, 1931 to July 12, 1974

I hope Hud is having a grand reunion with his parents, brothers and sisters. Hud and Dorothy have a great family here to carry on.

Case and Springsteen Reunion 2017

Grandma Verda Olsen’s family reunions bring together the progeny of Edwin and Loretta Case and of L.D. and Agnes Springsteen. We enjoyed a nice family gathering and beautiful weather for our reunion this past Sunday. Here are a few remembrances of Reunion 2017.

Family quiz

  • What were Loretta’s, L.D.’s, and Agnes’s actual given names? Cynthia Loretta, Loyal Davis, and Katherine Agatha.
  • How did the Case and Springsteen families get connected? Verda’s brother John Case was Aden Springsteen’s barber in DeWitt, Michigan. John took Aden home with him on a visit to his family in Titus.
  • Which of Aden’s and Verda’s parents was not born in the United States? (I forgot to ask this question at the reunion) Edwin Case was born in Oxford County, Canada West, in what is now the province of Ontario.
  • Which of Edwin and Loretta’s grandchildren are still with us? Hud Springsteen, Ray Case, and Carol Collin
  • Which of L.D. and Agnes’s grandchildren are still with us? Hud Springsteen and Joyce Peiffer
  • Who in our family have departed this life since the last reunion? Ed Springsteen, Barbara Dutcher, Madge Springsteen, and Helen Springsteen
  • Is anyone familiar with Ziva David? We’re not related. How about Esther David? Lee Burns? Grandma Olsen’s Great-grandma Case was reportedly born in Vermont as Esther David. I recently discovered through AncestryDNA that I share DNA with my classmate Lee Burns and a few other people who descend from David families. We’re likely to be related through that family back around the late 1700s but I haven’t found the connection yet.
  • Who is Grandma Olsen’s middle grandchild? Grandma had 24 grandchildren so I said either number twelve or thirteen would be a correct answer. After a few guesses someone came up with Sue Fish, who is grandchild number twelve. Debby Potter is number thirteen.

Who came?

We were joined this year by people from Frank Case’s family, John Case’s family, Aden Springsteen’s brother Harold’s family, and Aden and Verda Springsteen’s family. Among Aden and Verda’s family were members of Mick’s family, Ed’s family, Madge’s family, and Hud’s family.

Here are a few pictures of our gathering:

Sisters-in-law
Gathering the clan
Hud and Dot Springsteen with Dave and Margaret Cranmer (Frank Case’s family)
Dick and Joyce Peiffer’s family (Harold Springsteen’s family)
John Case’s and Mick Springsteen’s families
Hud Springsteen’s family
Mick Springsteen’s family

Family trees

I invariably get questions about our ancestors, which I am glad to talk about but can’t answer extensively off the top of my head. I have created an exploratory tree on Ancestry that I use to find extended family lines and DNA cousins. This tree is primarily from online resources and does not reflect much information that I have gathered offline. I never copy other people’s trees wholesale but use them to find documented evidence to add people to my own tree.  I do add people based on limited evidence to seek other evidence that either proves or disproves their place in our family. I also add unknown parents to connect known siblings.

A link to my Ancestry tree is in the menu on Our Heritage. For those without access to Ancestry, printable charts for our Case and Springsteen families are available here:

I welcome questions, stories, and more information about our family ancestry. I hope to share much more here.

Helen Springsteen, 1924-2017

Mick and Helen’s family at the family reunion in 2005

Our dear Aunt Helen has joined the ranks of her generation who have passed into eternity to join loved ones missed for too long. She passed yesterday morning at her daughter’s home near Middleville, Michigan.

A service to remember Helen’s life will be held at the Shiloh Community Church this Saturday at 11 am. A brief remembrance of Helen and her family is available at http://simpsonfamilyfuneralhomes.com/book-of-memories/2989603/Springsteen-Helen/obituary.php.

Tending family graves

Clinton J. “Joe” and Mary Springsteen, Dad’s uncle and aunt, faithfully tended the graves of his parents Loyal Davis “L.D.” and Agnes Springsteen in the Gunnisonville Cemetery north of Lansing, Michigan. On Joe’s passing, the mantle of care was taken up by the next generation, including my parents, aunts and uncles: Donovan “Mick” and Helen Springsteen, Lorna Wolf, Edwin and Lois Springsteen, Madge and Durward “Dude” Pontius, and Harold “Hud” and Dorothy Springsteen.

In preparation for Memorial Day every year, they travelled to plant flowers at family graves in several cemeteries. After my cousin Rodney and I retired, we joined the expedition to care for our family’s memorials. Here are a few pictures from cemetery visits in recent years.

Dad (Ed Springsteen) at the Sheridan Cemetery, 2006
Ed, Mick, and Madge planting for Joe and Mary Springsteen, Niles Cemetery, 2007
Ed, Mick, Dude, and Hud planting for John and Mary Springsteen, Wilsey Cemetery, 2007
Ed, Madge, Mick, and Hud planting for Edwin and Loretta Case, Carson City Cemetery, 2007
Dude, Ed, Madge, Hud, and Mick planting for Aden and Verda Case Springsteen Olsen, Sheridan Cemetery, 2007
Dad watering flowers for my brother Eddie, Sheridan Cemetery, 2007
Hud, Rod, and Ed planting for L.D. and Aggie Springsteen, Gunnisonville Cemetery, 2010
Ed and Hud planting for Fred Olsen’s family, South Sidney Cemetery, 2010
Rod and Hud planting for Thomas and Amanda Green, Forest Hill Cemetery, 2010
Hud, Helen, Rod, Lorna, and Madge planting for L.D. and Aggie Springsteen, Gunnisonville Cemetery, 2011
Helen and Rod planting for Mick, Sheridan Cemetery, 2011
Helen, Rod, and Lorna at Jim and Joel Springsteen’s graves, Sheridan Cemetery, 2011
Rod, Dorothy, and Hud planting for Joe and Mary Springsteen, Niles Cemetery, 2014
Hud, Rod, and Madge planting for L.D. and Aggie Springsteen, Gunnisonville Cemetery, 2015
Dee at Dad’s marker, Sheridan Cemetery, 2017

The ranks of Dad’s generation have thinned, with only my Uncle Hud remaining of his siblings. Aunt Helen, Mom, and Aunt Dorothy still support our annual planting expeditions.

Cleaning gravestones

Sooner or later, the question of how to clean gravestones arises. Dick Eastman recently posted an article about a Good Cemeterian in the Tampa, Florida area who cleans veterans’ gravestones as a public service. Dick’s article contains a link to a Reader’s Digest article with further information about Andrew Lumish’s service to veterans’ memorials and about guidance in cleaning gravestones.

A few who served

Memorial Day is set aside in the Unites States to remember deceased men and women who served in our nation’s armed forces. We are grateful to those who gave years of their lives, and sometimes life itself, to serve our nation in time of need, putting public interest ahead of personal gain.

After our belated military involvement in World War I, the United States withdrew from international efforts to prevent or win war. The attack on Pearl Harbor made it clear that we could not safely or responsibly remain uninvolved in threats to peace. World War II marked the beginning of a continuing series of conflicts that have called upon our service.

Service in our family

The ranks of those who served in World War II are rapidly thinning. Several close relatives served in that conflict, and many others have served since then. I wish to recognize here a few members of our local family who heeded the call and either died in their service or have since passed on.

Ed and Lois Springsteen’s family markers
Ed Springsteen Sr, 1924-2016
Ed Springsteen Jr, 1949-1997

I risk overlooking someone in my effort to recall, but these are a few of our close family members who have served and are no longer with us:

  • Donovan E. Springsteen, 1921-2009, Army
  • James Donovan Springsteen, 1967-1997, Navy
  • Alexander Ronald Raczkowski, 1921-2010, Army
  • Edwin Frank Springsteen Sr, 1924-2016, Navy
  • Edwin Frank Springsteen Jr, 1949-1997, Army
  • Durward Mark Pontius, 1925-2010, Navy
  • Mark Durward Pontius, 1949-1970, Army
  • Erin Lee Springsteen, 1980-2004, Army
  • Richard Thomas Pilkinton Sr, 1917-1997, Army Air Force

Remembering Madge

Madge and Dude’s family, 2009 (a few of them)
Madge’s family, 2016 (not nearly all of them)
Clockwise from left: Lorna, Hud, Madge, and Ed, 2015

Family and friends gathered yesterday at the Cowden Lake Christian Church on Gravel Ridge Road east of Coral to celebrate the life and memory of Madge Pontius. Madge and Dude’s neighborhood country church was nearly packed to the rafters for a very uplifting service.

For those who were unable to attend, here is a glimpse of the service: