24 Years Ago Today

Willard & Alice Graber, ca 1940s

On July 11, 1988, twenty-four years ago today, Willard Pershing Graber, my step-great grandfather passed away in Westminster, Westminster Co., California at the age of 69.

Willard was born in 1918 in Cooperstown, Griggs Co., North Dakota, the son of Kit Carson Graber (1875-1962) and Iva Mae McKeehan (1879-1950). He married my paternal great grandmother, Alice Lucretia Wellin in 1947 in Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon. After which, they had two daughters, Sharolyn Iva Graber (1948-1970) and Marla Jean Graber (1952-2007), half-sisters to my paternal grandmother. Before his marriage to Alice, he had been married to Mae Houser (1923-1989), with whom he had one child before their divorce, Roger Victor Graber-Hayes (1942-1997). After Alice’s death in 1985, Willard married for a third time, to Dorothy (Prescher) Hastings (1926-2010).

Willard Graber’s Headstone

Willard was buried in Westminster Memorial Park in Westminster, California, next to Alice. His headstone is a military headstone, as he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.

Although Willard has “no direct relationship” to me, I knew him as my great grandfather (actually “Grandpa Graber”), and I remember him fondly. He would always tell me “tall tales” from American folklore (like the one about Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe), when I wandered away from where us kids were supposed to be playing and found my way to the bar area in my grandparents house during their Christmas parties. I suppose he told me these stories because I believed every word of them.

3 thoughts on “24 Years Ago Today

    1. Yeah, they do. I actually have a great deal of information about his life–I think I have more about him than any of my biological great grandfathers. I even have a photo of the home he was born in. I hope to upload some of this soon. 🙂

      1. Colourful characters always have lots of information! I look forward to seeing the photo of the home he was born in. Being from England, I’m interested in the social history of the U.S.

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