Tuesday, March 25, 2014

52 Ancestors Challenge - Week 12 - Howard Arthur Glesener, The Grandfather I Never Knew

Howard Arthur Glesener is the subject of this weeks 52 Ancestor Challenge.  He was the grandfather I never knew.  I started late on this post.  Thought it would be relatively easy to talk about my grandfather, but have come to realize, I haven't done that much research on the man.  Plus no one is around who can answer the hundreds of questions I currently have!!  It's one of the reasons I'm loving this challenge!  I'm looking at my ancestors in another light.  Not just through records, but looking for stories and trying to figure out who the person was.  Unfortunately, with my grandfather, I didn't ask the questions when I should have.  Now, I'm left to put the puzzle together.

   At the young age of just 40, he died of a heart attack.  My dad was still very little when his father died.  He was only six years old, and didn't have much to say about him.  It's possible, he didn't really remember much.  What he did say was that he was in pharmaceutical sales, he was in the army during WWII, and he played baseball for a St. Louis Cardinals farm team (he mentioned that last item very often).

Howard was the first, and only, son born to Frederick William Glesener and Elsie Justine Kutz, born August 8, 1916 in Chicago, Illinois.  His mother Elsie also died at a young age, just 48 years old.  Howard lived in Chicago, Illinois most of his life.  I'm not sure what his childhood was like.  The family moved homes each time a new census was taken, although they remained within the city of Chicago.  These are the addresses according to the US federal censuses found on Ancestry.com:
  • 1920 - 2208 Iowa Street
  • 1930 - 3549 Wrightwood Avenue (here, they were renting from Elsie's aunts Emma and Anna)
  • 1940 - 3006 Linder Avenue
The 1940 federal census says he was in school at the age of 23.  I'm not sure what school it would have been, but he was living at home with his father, sister, and grandmother Caroline Grote Glesener, it was just after the death of his mother.

I asked a cousin of mine recently, if she remembered any details of my grandfather.  She said she thinks he played baseball right out of high school, but quit because he was homesick.  He was a "Southpaw," as she put it - a left-handed pitcher.  My dad was quite impressed with that.

I don't really remember even seeing a picture of him until I was in junior high.  My grandmother gave my mom a copy of the picture to the right.  Aren't they a cute couple??  It was taken on their wedding day, July 17th, 1943, in Chicago, IL.  Howard married Judith Helen Wilhelmina Westboy.  She was the daughter of Roy Westboy and Wilhelmina, or Minnie, Johansson.

Soon after they were married, they moved to Charleston, South Carolina.  I'm guessing this is due to his work in the Army.  Speaking of the Army, I can not find any paperwork showing he was drafted or enlisted.  I've just searched Ancestry.com and Fold3.com, but no luck.  What base would he have been stationed at?  I'm not sure either.  However, by August 14, 1944, they were living back in Illinois.  That is when their oldest child, Judith Kathleen Glesener, was born. 

By March 16, 1949 they had moved to 353 Marshall Avenue, Bellwood, IL.  I know this from pictures in my grandmother's scrapbook.  My dad, Rand Howard Glesener, was born that next year on August 25, 1950. 

Judith, Kathleen, and Howard

I found on a search through Ancestry.com, a copy of The Norwich Sun dated 12/20/1950.  In it, Norwich Pharmacal Co. listed the names of all their employees, wishing them a Merry Christmas.  The name "Howard Glesener" was listed.  I'm guessing he was a rep for the company, but I can't be positive.

My dad said by the time he was 2, they had moved to Los Angeles, California.  He mentioned they moved because my grandmother had a friend out there.  Not sure if that is the real reason, but she did live in California for a short time prior to marrying Howard.  It was here in 1953 they had one more child.

According to their children, there were tensions at home between Howard and Judith, but I'm not sure exactly what they were.  My cousin remembered him as "always cheerful and smiling, wonderful with children, kind and sweet..."  My dad didn't really describe his father other then the basic facts he knew. 

On November 4, 1956, at 11am, in their home at 4616 Pickford Street, in Los Angeles, Howard died of a "Coronary Arterial Thrombosis" due to "Coronary Arteriosclerosis."  His body was brought back to Chicago, where he was buried near other family members at Concordia Cemetery.

I know not having a father around was tough on his kids.  My dad never said so, but you could see that he felt he was missing something.  A child needs their father just as much as their mother growing up.  I have always wondered what my dad's life would have been like if his father would have been able to be there.  I know I really would have loved knowing him!

If you have any questions or concerns about the information in this post, please leave a comment.  Thank you for reading!!

Further research needed to do...

Writing this has made me realize I need to look into his life a bit more.  I've researched his name online, but I still have a list of questions I need to follow up on:
  • Where did he attend school?
  • Where exactly did he play baseball, and for how long?
  • Did he enlist into the army, or was he drafted?  I can't seem to find a draft card or enlistment paperwork. 
  • How long did he serve?  Did he have to go overseas at all during the war?

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