Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Karl Franklin Parker, WWII Veteran

Sgt. Karl F. Parker, 112th Cavalry
(click to enlarge)

My Uncle Karl was warm and funny and great with kids. My sister and I always had a good time when he came to visit. He teased us and made us laugh, but he never talked down to us. He made us feel like real people, as if he had come as much to see us as our parents.

Karl was born September 8, 1917 in Mt. Clemens, Michigan, the third child of DeWitt Delwin Parker and his wife Hazel Helen Galloway. In 1920, this family of five lived on Howard Street in Algonac, Michigan, where DeWitt worked as a tailor in a tailor shop.

By 1930, in addition to his two older sisters, Karl had a younger sister as well, and the family had moved to 45 Washington Avenue in Mt. Clemens. There DeWitt worked as a typewriter salesman. Later they moved to Los Angeles, California.

In his 21st year, Karl applied for a Social Security number.
(click to enlarge)

Karl was 23 when he married my Aunt Bonnie, daughter of Rosmer and Evelyn Kerr, on June 23, 1941. He was a much-loved father to two children, one Bonnie's daughter from her first marriage, whom Karl adopted, and the other born in 1964. Even after their divorce in 1965, Karl remained devoted to Bonnie and the children.

Karl and daughter Judy

My grandparents couldn't have loved Karl more if he'd been their own son, and he felt the same way about them. My grandmother kept a letter she'd received from him during World War II. He must have felt very close to Evelyn to share these thoughts with her.

(click to enlarge)

[Context: A few months before Karl wrote this letter, my mother had turned 21. The day after her birthday, she left Detroit and went to join some friends in Los Angeles, where she took a job at Lockheed. Evelyn missed her and was hoping to make a trip out there to visit her.]

Karl died January 30, 1969, while hospitalized. A Christian Scientist, maybe he refused treatment that might have prolonged his life. He was only 51.

Forest Lawn - Lot 41, Section 33

He was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Detroit, in a lot owned by my grandparents.* My grandfather would join him there just two weeks later. It was a terribly sad time for our family.

Karl is still loved and missed by everyone who knew him.

I can't help but smile when I think of him.

Uncle Karl & Me, Thanksgiving 1963


*Note: I believe this lot was purchased in 1937, when Rosmer's mother, Kate Pettis Kerr, died. She is buried there also.

1 comment:

Juliane's granddaughter said...

Such a loving tribute to a favorite uncle. He would be very pleased.

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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