Saturday, April 16, 2016

Sunday's Obituary - Deciphering the Zombies in my Family

Last week I shared a Census Record Sunday post about my 2nd great uncle, Neil Brown Jr, who apparently died in 1937, but was feeling plucky enough to be included in the 1940 US Federal Census with his family. So because of my relative's desire to be way ahead of his time for auditioning for the AMC's The Walking Dead I've decided to take some time to go through the obituaries for his offspring. The newspaper for the time of his wife's death isn't available yet, but hopefully someday. I do have her death certificate thought so unless reanimation was a common thing I'm fairly certain of when she died.

I've shared Neil Brown Jr's death certificate (excerpts) and a link to his obituary last Sunday. The next logical course would be to start with his oldest child and work my way down the list. That would be Nancy. I don't have an obituary for her though and her marriage to John Patrick Harkins needs to be researched more. The information was given to me by a cousin who passed so I can only use it as a guide, but I'm currently in the process of piecing it together.

The second oldest child of Neil and Bridget Brown nee Brown was Eleanor Prosser nee Brown, but I've already posted an obituary on here that you can read here. There were no surprises in this obituary. Every was pretty much who I expected them to be (dead and alive) and it helps to confirm Nancy's husband's name is Harkins.

The Standard Speaker -
30MAR1997, pg C6
The next in line to share is Mary Barth nee Brown and it would appear that I never transcribed her obituary, so let's see what we find.

"Mary L. Barth

Mary L. Brown Barth, 84, of 70 S. Pine St., Hazleton, died Friday at the Mountain City Convalescent Center, after a lengthy illness.

Born in Hazleton, she was the daughter of the late Neil and Bridget (Brown) Brown.

She was a member of St. Gabriel's Roman Catholic Church, Hazleton, and was previously active in St. Joseph's Hospital Auxiliary.

Preceding her in death, in addition to her parents, were her husband, Clyde O., who died in 1968; sisters, Nancy Harkins, Eleanor Prosser, Rita Dermot and Joan Cann; and brothers, Neil, Eugene 'Cy,' John and James.

Surviving are brothers, Charles, hazleton, and Paul, Erie; nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be held Monday at 10 a.m. from the Boyle Funeral Home, 100 S. Wyoming St., Hazleton.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. in St. Gabriel's Roman Catholic Church, Hazleton.

Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery, Drums.

Friends may call Monday from 9 a.m. until the time of the Mass."

After transcribing this obituary I was able to create a memorial on FindAGrave for Mary. Her husband already had one. No stone for either of them, but I've linked them and requested a photo. If one isn't taken I'll be able to grab one when I go to Pennsylvania this summer. It would also appear from this obituary that Mary and Clyde didn't have any children.

Then I decided to go onto and pull Clyde's obituary since the FindAGrave memorial for him listed his death date. I was not prepared for what I found. Let's just say that April of 1968 was not a good year for Mary. The first newspaper hit I got wasn't for Clyde's obituary, but for Mary's brother, Neil Brown III. I knew when this Neil had died. I just hadn't realized that he died the day before Mary's husband! Bad year. Bad month. Bad WEEK!

Well there is nothing here that pulls Mary out of my family tree. Her obituary fits perfectly in where she should be. The only surprise aside from the deaths of her husband and brother was that she was buried in Calvary Cemetery and not St. Gabriel's. She was raised Catholic. There are Catholics in Calvary, but her funeral was in St. Gabe's too. The answer to that was found in her husband's obituary which I will share at some point in the future. He was Lutheran. They weren't the same religion. Now it wouldn't be such a big deal to have someone of another faith buried in a Catholic cemetery. That wasn't always the case though and it was most likely the situation then.

So nothing unusual. Until next Sunday!

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