Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Obituary - James Edward Howard, Sr.

James Howard was the son of Launa Rodgers-Howard. James would be my 3rd cousin.

James Edward Howard
(January 12, 1933 - December 25, 2009)

James Edward Howard of McCarley, born January 12, 1933, died
peacefully on Christmas morning, December 25, 2009. Mr. Howard
was a resident of the State Veteran's Nursing Home in Kosciusko,
where his battle with Alzheimer's Disease was managed by an
extraordinary and loving staff.

Mr. Howard was a retired truck driver and a U.S. Air Force veteran of the
Korean War. He was a member of McCarley Baptist Church in

He was preceded in death by his parents, James Cassie Howard and
Launa Rodgers Howard. He is survived by his wife of 55 years,
Margaret Ann "Peggy" Mullen Howard; four children, Donna Howard
Serio, Debbie Howard Bond (Rocky), James Edward Howard, Jr.,
(Renee), and Fred Ronald Howard; eight grandchildren, Mary Margaret
Serio Holmes (Heath), Ann Claire Serio, Joseph Matthew Serio (April),
An Howard Schubert, Joshua Casey Howard, James Bailey Howard,
Andrea Nicole Howard, and William Cass Howard; and one
great-grandson, Aaron Andrew Holmes.

A celebration of his life will be held at 2:00 p.m. at Oliver Funeral Home
Chapel on Sunday, December 27, with visitation from noon until
service time. Burial will be in Mission Cemetery near Winona. Rev.
Rupert Ingram will officiate the services.

Pallbearers will be Matthew Serio, Joshua Howard, Cass Howard,
Heath Holmes, Johnny Bennett, Billy Montgomery, and Wally
Montomery; with Bailey Howard serving as an honorary pallbearer.

The family would like to express their deep gratitude and love for the
host of caretakers and friends that have so generously given their time
and service over the last few years.

Memorials may be made to McCarley Baptist Church or the the charity
of the donor's choice.

My Aunt Kathy's Obituary - 29 Dec 2009

Chicago Tribune, December 29, 2009

Kathleen (Larmon) Johnson, suddenly, 59 years, beloved wife of Jeffrey S.; devoted mother of Kevin (Kathleen) Larmon, James (Jenna) Larmon, Amy Larmon (Robert) Meyer, Julie (Jim) Denny, Amy (Jeff) Olsen and Peter (Candice) Johnson; loving grandmother of 15; dear sister of Timothy Felton, Rene Podgorski, Tommie Lynn Gbur and Jeffrey Rodgers. Visitation Wednesday from 3 to 9 p.m. Funeral Thursday, 10:15 a.m., from the Becvar & Son Funeral Home, 5539 West 127th St., Crestwood, to St. Barnabas Church for a 11 a.m. Mass. Interment private. In lieu of flowers, contributions to St. Martin dePores, 6423 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago IL 60637. (708) 824-9000.

Kathy is my aunt, my mother is her half-sister René.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Black Sheep Sunday - Alex Gombash

Sunday is almost over.. I better hurry up! lol

My great-grandfather, Alex Gombash, was a character alright. Later on in his life, he was known to always have a bottle of whiskey in hand or a stogie in mouth.

(Note: Both whiskey AND stogie! haha)

He was born 7 Dec 1896 in Tiszadob, Szabolcs megye (county), Hungary, to Sándor (Alex) Gombás and Eszter Tóth (a noblewoman). His father Sándor immigrated to America on 09 Jul 1902 to his brother-in-law Daniel Szuhay. Daniel's wife was Zsuzsánna Tóth, Eszter's sister. Eszter immigrated eight months later on 05 Mar 1903 to her husband. Eszter remained in America until about 1906 and removed back to Hungary. She then immigrated a final time on 16 Nov 1909 with her children Alex (my g-grandfather), Robert and Susan (who was born in America in 1904).

Alex grew up mainly in Butler County, Pennsylvania. At the age of 19 years old, he married a fellow Hungarian named Emma Hido. Her Hungarian name was Irma Hajdú. Coincidentally enough, Emma and her family came from the same village as Sándor Gombás.. Büdszentmihály. And coincidentally again, Emma and her family were listed below the Gombash's on their immigration manifest in 1909. They were obviously family friends, and as research showed, relatives of Sándor through the Pethe family.

Anywho, Alex and Emma were married 19 Aug 1916 in Kittanning, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. I don't know much about their marriage, other than what was in their divorce papers. Alex apparently left the home quite often and wouldn't return for periods at a time. In other words, he would abandon her for a while, then come back and then do it again.

They had a daughter and a son during all of this. As for the daughter, I don't know when she was born or died, but she died sometime after new year of 1919. Their son was named Joseph Anthony Gombash, later changed to Csordas when he was adopted by his step-father. He was born 23 Sep 1919 in Aultman, Indiana County, Pennsylvania. He abandoned her one final time, so Emma moved in with her parents, Andrew Hido and Sophia Pethe. Emma later went to court and petitioned for a divorce. The sherrifs of Indiana and Butler counties couldn't find Alex anywhere, so that he could appear at the divorce hearing. He never showed, nor saw his son ever again.

Alex then began to traveling in open railway cars around the midwest, primarily in the PA-OH-IL area. He finally settled in Joliet, Will County, Illinois where he met my great-grandmother, Catherine Grządziel. Catherine was the first born into an arranged marriage, 05 Nov 1906 in Barycz, Brzózow, Poland. Her parents were Franciszek Grządziel and Amelia Stec. I do not know the marriage date for Alex and Catherine, but I assume it to be sometime between 1920 and 1922. Alex and Catherine later relocated to McDowell County, West Virginia, where their children were born and raised.

Alex's mother who was previously mentioned, died on 04 Apr 1950 in her daughter Julia's home in Richland Township, Guernsey County, Ohio. Alex didn't attend her funeral. Because of this and other things, he became very unfavorable with his siblings and family. In 2004, I contacted my great-great-aunt Julia to ask questions for my research. She nicely replied to my questions, but later asked me to stop writing.

She had tons of pictures and information from Hungary that I would've been ecstatic to have copies of. Pictures from Hungary.. with Hungarian writing on the back! Need I say more?! Originals would've been great, but I don't need them. Just to see a decent clear picture of my great-great-grandparents Sándor and Eszter would've been... simply put, AMAZING! Julia passed away in 2008 at the age of 87 years old. Everthing of hers and her sister Esther's (who passed in 2000, before I started my research), has now been passed onto their niece Patricia. She has spoken with me on the phone several times, and I have asked for copies of things.. even said I would reimburse. But her son told her not to share anything with me, so alas.. I have received nothing. It's unnerving knowing the actions of my great-grandfather are having this effect on my interaction with family that I've never met, and have been nothing but nice and courtesy with.