Posted by: SJS | March 5, 2011

Roots

George and Junior 1926

George and Junior 1926

Red Stahley was the only child of George and Mary (Young)  Stahley.  When he was born in 1924, his parents were both 19 years old.  Red did not begin to have cousins on either side of the family until he was over 10 years old so he was the center of attention in the midst of all his aunts and uncles.  To say that he was adored by his parents might well be an understatement.  George and Mary Stahley had a lot of love to give and “Junior,” as he was known in the family, was the prime focus of that love.

 
Mary and Junior 1926

Mary and Junior 1926

Both of Red’s parents, our grandparents, had survived challenging childhoods.  Mary was the oldest of six children and her mother died in the terrible influenza epidemic of 1918.  At age 13, she left school in the eighth grade to become the surrogate mother to her five younger siblings:  Bill, Peg, George, Catherine, and Joe.  Their father, George, was a Philadelphia fireman who provided for the family while Mary stayed at home to raise her brothers and sisters.  Red’s father, George, was born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania and lived there for a few years.  His father, Foster Stahley, abandoned the family while George was still a young child.  His mother and he then moved to Philadelphia in order to live closer to relatives for support.  His mother remarried and George later had a younger sister named Dorothy.

As with many parents in the early 1940s, George and Mary were extremely proud to see their son successfully graduate from high school in 1943.  That was a big deal and a true measure of accomplishment.  And yet, as with many parents of that era, they shared the almost unbearable level of worry and concern as they saw their son enlist in the armed forces to enter a war that was a long way from finished.  Seeing their only son go off to the Navy was traumatic, especially for Mary.  As a young child, I can remember “Nana” telling me how difficult those years were for her and how she and “Pop” struggled mightily to contain their anxiety. 

I am very grateful to my sister, Joan, for the great job she has done over the years to preserve the wonderful family photographs that can be shared on this blog.   As family archivist, Joan has served us all extremely well!

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Responses

  1. Steve- Wonderful job! I love the pictures (multiple – yes!!) and their placement!

    • Vicki,

      It pays to have a great teacher! Thanks for all your assistance and support on the blog. Your guidance and patience have been tremendous.

      Steve

  2. Stephen and Joan, thanks so much. Keep the past coming.

    • Michael,

      Thanks for your continued support. Working with your dad on his book has been a major inspiration and example for me. And Joan’s work on the family archives has contributed so much to this effort. It’s really been a family project from the start.

      Stephen

  3. So interesting!

    • Nancy,

      Thanks for the good words. It’s always good to hear from you.

      Stephen


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