52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #44 – Jennie F. (Repsher) Mery

Relationship: 2nd Great aunt
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My father, William Strait, has fond memories of his Aunt Jennie. He recounts, “She was a really nice lady and she and her husband Andrew ran a tire shop.” I’m sure I met her at one of the annual (still-going-to-this-day) Repsher family reunions, but I myself have no recollections of her.

I had found Jennie on U.S. Federal census population schedules while researching my family tree but the first real detailed facts about her popped up in the Repsher vertical file in the Monroe County Historical Society in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. I was there researching the Repsher side of the family when I discovered her death certificate in those vertical files. It was a modern death certificate and provided many details about her.[1]

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  • Jennie was born on 08 May 1901 in East Stroudsburg, Monroe, Pennsylvania.
  • She died 27 August 1979 in a facility called Pleasant Valley Manor located in Hamilton Township of Monroe County, Pennsylvania.
  • She was white and a U.S. citizen.
  • She was 78 years old at the time of her death.
  • Her address was 11 Avon Court, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania 18301.
  • She had been issued a Social Security #.
  • She worked on the assembly line for Ronson.
  • She was widowed, thus implying marriage at some earlier point in her life.
  • She lived within the limits of East Stroudsburg, Monroe County, Pennsylvania.
  • Her parents were John Repsher and Caroline Bonser.
  • Her informant for this certificate was John Mery residing at 30 Elm Street, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
  • She was buried on 30 August 1979 in Prospect Cemetery.
  • Her funeral arrangements were handled by the Lanterman & Allen Funeral Home located at 27 Washington Street, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania 18301.
  • Her attending physician was John P. Lim, M.D. of 805 E. Main Street, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
  • She died of congestive heart failure (9 hours between onset and death) as a consequence of a. s. cardio vascular disease which she’d had for 5 years.
  • She died at 9:40 a.m.
  • She did not have an autopsy and was not referred to the M.E. or coroner.

What the death certificate doesn’t tell you is that Jennie F. Repsher was the youngest daughter of John Joseph Repsher and Caroline Bonser. She was one of 12 siblings who made it to adulthood. John and Caroline had 14 children in all. Jennie grew up in eastern Pennsylvania, in and around East Stroudsburg, and spent her whole life there.

According to family history records, Jennie met, married, and had a child with Frederick Cobb. Jennie and Frank were married on 11 October 1917. Their family life together, though, was extremely short-lived. Their child, Edward Robert Cobb, was born on 18 April 1918 and died just 2 months later on 18 June 1918. Frederick Cobb followed his son into death shortly after on 03 October 1918.[4] As noted in early blog postings, the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919 was occurring and it wouldn’t be unlikely that the Cobb deaths were somehow connected to this outbreak.

Soon, though, Jennie met Andrew Leo Mery. They were married on 24 March 1920 and began to raise a family together. They had six children together (all deceased now):

  1. Blanche Mery, born 07 November 1920
  2. John Mery, born 13 Jul 1922 (most likely the informant listed above)
  3. Jane E. Mery, born 18 April 1924
  4. Leona Mery, born 31 May 1926
  5. Raymond Mery, born 26 May 1928
  6. Elaine Mery, born 13 May 1931

Jennie’s husband, Andrew, started a tire repair shop and it was housed in smart, neatly kept building most likely in East Stroudsburg or Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. I’m not sure if they lived above the shop but it does seem likely.


Andrew Mery’s Tire Repair Shop

Andrew passed away eleven years before Jennie on 02 April 1968.[6] As shown by her death certificate above, Jennie struggled with cardiovascular disease before her death. She was fortunate to outlive all of her children except Raymond who passed away on 27 October 1975.[7] She was buried in Prospect Cemetery. I don’t have a picture of her gravestone; I guess that will have to go on my ever-growing to do list!

[1] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificates 073609 (1910), Jennie F. Mery. Vertical files:Repsher. Monore County Historical Society, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
[2] 1910 U. S. census, Monroe County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Stroud Township, ED 49, p. 4A (penned), dwelling 70, family 73, John J. Repsher; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 02 October 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1376.
[3] Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate file no. 6479 (1913), John J. Repsher; Division of Vital Statistics, New Castle.
[4] Anna (Karthaeuser) Repsher, compiler, “Family Record of J. J. Repsher Jr. and Caroline Repsher nee Bonser”; (Handwritten family group sheets, Netcong, New Jersey, 1911-1970), p. 126; privately held by held by author.
[5] Anna (Karthaeuser) Repsher, compiler, p. 126
[6] Social Security Administration, “Social Security Death Index (SSDI),” Database, Rootsweb.com (http://ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com), entry for Andrew Mery, 1968, SS no. 188-12-6466.
[7] Tipton, Jim, compiler, “Prospect Cemetery,” digital image, Find A Grave (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 30 June 2013), entry for Raymond L. Mery, memorial #106373828.


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