Wednesday, October 04, 2006

More Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins

Rats! It's very easy to lose posts in blogger! Let's try this again:

Joyce and Dusty's youngest was Becky, who is just shy of a year older than I am. In her early 20s Becky married Randall Smith, a fella several years older than she was. They had two children, Jordan and Cullen, who were toddlers / babies when Janet and I married in 1982. As far as I know, they still live in Baton Rouge, as do most of Joyce's other offspring.

Dusty suffered a massive heart attack in early 1974. He was only 46 and it came as a great shock to my parents and the rest of that generation of Jaspers. A couple of years later Joyce married Don Elson, who had worked for her in the company she and Dusty had founded, Rhodes Publishing. Don was a great guy and Janet and I enjoyed his and Joyce's company the few times we visited them when we were living in Louisiana in the early 1980s. He died of prostate cancer a few years (after?) my dad passed away in 1989.

Joyce married a third time, to Gordon Woodburn, in about 2000. The year after Roy passed away (2001) Gordon and Joyce were driving from church to their new home in Pelican Point, Louisiana when Gordon -- who was driving -- suffered a major heart attack or stroke. The car careened across the median strip of Interstate 10 and down an embankment on the other side of the highway and into the bayou. Gordon was pronounced dead at the scene and Joyce, who was in her late 70s by that time, was in the hospital with broken bones etc. for at least a month. At this point she's the last of my father's siblings still living.

Joan and Carol

Aunt Joan (b. 1927-d. 2002?) married Carl James, a businessman (?) from Chicago. She and Carl had a daughter, Carol (b. December 9, 1957), who is the closest to me in age of all my cousins. Joan and Carl divorced when Carol was about two years old and Joan and Carol returned (from Chicago, where Carol was born) to West Monroe to live with Papa. They did so for about 10 years, then Joan began a long series of moves associated with her job at Southern Bell (as it was then known) and other Ma Bell permutations. First to nearby Ruston, then back to Monroe, then Birmingham, Alabama and Nutley, New Jersey before returning to New Orleans, where she and Carol were living when Joan retired in about 1990.

Carol has married twice but divorced both times and for all practical purposes lived with her mother her entire life. After Joan retired, they moved to Houston for a while (before I was there) with Carol's 2nd husband, Mike. When that marriage went south, they moved to Atlanta (about the time I came out in 1993) and later on to North Carolina, which is where they were living when Joan suffered her fatal stroke. I don't know what Carol is doing these days or where she lives.

Next up: Roy, Betty and Jeff

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Monday, October 02, 2006

Aunts, Uncles, Cousins

Doris and Rupert

My dad's eldest sister, Doris Jasper, married Rupert Norris Goodwin in about 1940. They had three daughters: Linda Sharon (b. 1942), Sandra Michell (b. 1944?), and Mary Kathryn (b. 1947). The girls were known as Sharon, Shelley, and Kathy.

For most of their marriage, Doris and Rupert lived in West Monroe, my dad's hometown. I think it was only after his mother's death (early 1970s) that Rupert, a geologist, was wililng to re-locate. They spent several years in Denver before returning to Louisiana, settling in Shreveport.

In 1985 Doris was diagnosed with lung cancer. Shortly afterwards, she and Rupert divorced (after more than 40 years of marriage.) Doris died in early 1986, the first of the five siblings to do so.

Sharon, an M.D., married Phil Daspit, also an M.D., from Franklin, La. They had four kids: Clayton (b. 1967?), Laura (b. 1969), Corey (b. 1972?), and Shannon (b. 1974?). I'm pretty sure Clayton was born in New Orleans; Laura was born in Pensacola while Phil was doing his flight surgeon training for the Navy. Corey and Shannon were both born in California. Sharon and Phil divorced in the late 1970s, as I recall, and although Phil remarried Sharon never did so. In 1985, when I was finishing up library school at Emory in Atlanta, Sharon and her younger kids moved from Walnut Creek, California to Augusta, where Sharon joined a pathology practice. As far as I know, she's still there. Likewise, I think Clayton, an architect, lives in Atlanta (and not far from Janet and the kids.) I received a wedding invitation a couple of years ago but was unable to attend.

Shelley, a CPA, married twice but no children from either marriage. I think at various times along the way she served as a surrogate mom for Kathy's two children (see below.) Last I heard she was living in Atlanta, also.

Kathy was married multiple times and was widely considered the problem child of her generation. She produced two children, Karl Schoen (b. 1967?) and Rachel Lenard (b. 1974?) Kathy was found dead in her apartment in May 2001, of an apparent heart attack, just a few weeks before my partner Jeremy passed. Kathy was 54 and the first and thus far only of our generation (grandchildren of W.G. Jasper and Grace Baker Jasper) to pass away.

Joyce and Dusty (and...)

My aunt Joyce is the only one of my father's siblings still alive; she'll be 82 in November. I think she married her first husband, Thomas Bennett "Dusty" Rhodes, during World War II or right after. Dusty already had a daughter, Linda, from a previous relationship, but Joyce raised her as one of her own. Joyce and Dusty together had four children: Dana Ladd (called "Ladd"), Michael Kevin (called "Kevin"), Kim, and Rebecca Jo (called "Becky"; b. April 30, 1957.) I don't know Ladd's and Kevin's and Kim's dates, although I'm guessing Ladd and Kevin were born in the late 40s, Kim in the early 50s. I know Becky's birthday because she was the first of the four grandchildren born between April 1957 and April 1958 (I was the last...)

Linda was closer in age to my dad than to me so I really never got to know her. I believe her husband's name is (was?) "Bobby," that he flew (flies?) helicopters to oil rigs, and that they had one or two daughters (who would be in their late 30s now or early 40s now, I think.) Other than that...?

Ladd's first wife was Charlene. If I recall correctly, they had two sons, whose names completely elude me. At some point along the way, Ladd, who works in advertising and public relations, and Charlene divorced; later on Ladd married "Webbie" (short for Webster), who has a famous literary cousin (but I can't recall which one now.) The younger of the sons was killed in a tragic car / truck accident while he was a student at LSU.

Kim camped out in our backyard one summer (early 1970s) with her then boyfriend, Mickey. They were on their way to the Keys, I think, and had a bright yellow Volkswagen Beetle. A couple of years later, she was travelling / working around the world with another boyfriend. As I recall, they started out in New Zealand and got as far as Thailand before she gave up on (a) the trip and (b) him. I think 20 years ago she was married with kids and selling real estate in Los Angeles but I don't have a clue now.

More in a bit...

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My cousin Sally Nickle (nee Hall) has done some interesting work with our family genealogy, as has my brother Steve. In Sally's case, the mutual ancestor names are Grogan and Shaddix. (Warren Grogan and Pearl Shaddix Grogan were Sally's maternal grandparents and my mother's maternal grandparents.) Steve's work is on the Jasper side with the addition of his wife's family.

I'll toss in what I know:

Paternal Ancestors

Samuel Branch Jasper was born about 1818 in Minot, Maine. He married Mary Wilson and had a bunch of kids, including John Wilson Jasper (b. 1867 in Bethel, Ohio; d. 1939, Marshall, Texas.) John married Alice Virginia Covey, a school teacher, who lived in Houston at one point. They had three children: John, Esther, and my grandfather, William Godbey Jasper (b. August 3, 1897 in Ennis, Texas; died summer 1984 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.)

W.G. Jasper, or "Papa" as he was known to most of his grandchildren, married Grace Ewell Baker, a native of Marshall, Texas. They had five children: Doris (b. 1922-d. 1986), Joyce (b. 1924), Joan (b. 1927-d. 2002), Roy Wilson (b. April 11, 1930-d. September 2001), and Paul William (b. August 19, 1932 in West Monroe, La.; died October 13, 1989 in Pensacola, Fla.)

My father, Paul William Jasper, married Reca Bamberg, I think in about 1950. They divorced the same year my father married my mom, Mary Eulyne Mann (b. May 21, 1933, Talladega, Ala.) Dad and Mom had three children: ME (Richard Paul Jasper, b. April 11, 1958, Tallahassee, Fla.); Stephen Damon Jasper (b. December 19, 1959, Pensacola, Fla.); and Michael Peter Jasper (b. December 1, 1960, Pensacola, Fla.) We were "Ricky," "Stevie," and "Petey" when were little. I think my brothers still go by "Steve" and "Pete" but I've been "Richard" since I was in 7th grade (there was another "Ricky" and we had to choose...)

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