Sunday’s Obituary – Gary H. Westra – Died 02-November-2013

Relationship to me: Maternal 1st cousin

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-2-36-21-pmGARY H. WESTRA – FREDON – Gary H. Westra, 63, of Fredon Township, died Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at home.

Born in Newton, Gary lived in Miami, Fla., and Washington, D.C., before moving to Fredon Township in 1996. He was a 1968 graduate of Newton High School, where he played varsity football. Gary was a United States Navy veteran, serving in Vietnam. While in the Navy, his training included UDT (underwater demolition training) and Navy Seal training. Gary was a self-employed contractor. He enjoyed sailing and was a crew member of the Pride of Baltimore. A member of ABATE and Rolling Thunder, Gary was a former Elder and member of the First Presbyterian Church in Newton.

Gary was predeceased by his father, John Westra, on Jan. 11, 1992. He is survived by his wife, Susan (Pitek), whom he married in 1996; his mother, Marjorie (Rude) Westra, of Penrose, N.C.; and his siblings, Sharon Sutton, of Stillwater, Kevin Westra, of Canton, Ga., and Susan Clouser, of Talbott, Tenn.; as well as his aunts, nieces and nephews.

A memorial viewing will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, at Smith-McCracken Funeral Home, 63 High St., Newton.  In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital , 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105. Online condolences may be offered at

Published in the New Jersey Herald on Nov. 5, 2013; digital copy found on (


52 Documents in 52 Weeks #8 – John and Laura Repsher’s 50th Wedding Anniversary

Persons of Interest: John and Laura Repsher of Analomink, Pennsylvania
Relationship: Great grand uncle and wife

Source Citation: “Open House Marks Golden Anniversary,” The Daily Record (East Stroudsburg), 27 February 1956, p. 5, cols. 4-5; image copy, ( : accessed 02 December 2016), Historical Newspapers Collection.

Document Description: An announcement in a newspaper about the 50th wedding anniversary celebration. The entire newspaper page for this day has been digitized and these are the screen clippings.


screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-10-12-34-amDocument Scan and Transcription: Open House Marks Golden Anniversary
Analomink – The 50th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. John Repsher was on Monday, February 20 but the celebration in their honor was held this Saturday afternoon with an open house in the POS of a A Hall for about 100 guests.

Mr. and Mrs. Repsher were married February 20, 1906 at the East Stroudsburg parsonage by Rev. C. B. Johnson.

Mrs. Repsher, the former Laura Staples, was born in Analomink on December 9, 1887, daughter of the late John D. and Caroline Hallett Staples. Mr. Repsher was born in Pocono Lake on May 17, 1882, the son of the late John and Caroline Bonser Repsher.

They had five children of whom four are living: Mrs. Robert Van Vliet and Mrs. Russell Transue of Analomink, Ross Repsher of Quakertown and Lester Repsher, at home. They have 9 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-10-12-13-amThe Repshers have always lived in Analomink and are members of the Analomink Methodist Church. Mr. Repsher worked for many years at the lumber dock owned by C. A. Coleman. When that was disbanded he went to work for Line Material Company and was retired about a year ago.

For the party, the hall had been decorated with festoons of gold crepe paper. Tables were decorated with gold table cloths and doilies and gold candlesticks. At the table for the guests of honor, bouquets of gold carnations and marigolds flanked the wedding cake decorated with figures of a bride and bridegroom.

Refreshments were served and the guests of honor received many gifts.

Analysis: This particular wedding anniversary announcement is a genealogist’s dream article. It is chock full of information related to the John and Laura Repsher family. Birth dates, birth places, maiden names, husbands, and parents abound! I did have a question on what the “POS of A Hall” was. Turns out I learned about a new organization when I went to find out what this meant. It stands for Patriotic Order Sons of America. According to their website:

“The Patriotic Order Sons of America was organized December 10, 1847 to preserve the Public School System, The Constitution of the United Sates and our American way of life. It was incorporated by an Act of the Pennsylvania State Legislature, February 27, 1867. The subordinate unit, Washington Camp #150 was chartered by the Parent Corporation in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, May 21, 1871.”

I consider the online copy of a page from the Daily Record to be an original document even though it’s been digitized. As long as the content does not appear to be changed during the process (whether that’s copying, scanning or digitizing), the digital copy can be considered as good as the original. This article looks to be completely untouched as part of the entire page that’s been digitized. I’ve clipped portions of that page so that I can insert it into this article and so that you could read the print.

The information in the article is mixed in nature with both primary (firsthand) and secondary (secondhand, hearsay) information found. Assuming Laura and John were the informants, they would know what children they had together and the listing of Mrs. Robert Van Vliet, Ross, Lester and Mrs. Rusell Transue would be primary. Both John and Laura’s birth dates are secondary as neither would remember being born but they are relying what other people have told them about their birth dates, places, and parents. Their wedding date is primary information; they were both there and remember quite distinctly where and when they were married and who performed the ceremony.

The evidence is direct (explicit) related to John and Laura’s marriage. It answers, quite succinctly, the question, “When were John Repsher and Laura Staples of Analomink, Pennsylvania, married?” There is also direct evidence related to their births but since that is secondary information, further evidence should be found to corroborate the dates.

From the information in the article, we can construct a basic family group.

John Repsher (son of John and Caroline (Bonser) Repsher, born 17 May 1882, Pocono Lake, Pennsylvania) married Laura Staples (daughter of John D. and Caroline (Hallett) Staples, born 09 December 1887) on 20 February 1906 at East Stroudsburg. They had the following children:

  1. ________, daughter, married Robert Van Vliet
  2. ________, daughter, married Russell Transue
  3. Ross, son
  4. Lester, son
  5. ________, child died before 27 February 1956


This is a robust 50th wedding anniversary announcement with lots of excellent genealogical information both of primary and secondary nature. It helps fill in some blanks in my family tree in that I didn’t have Laura Staples’ mother’s name. I’m treating the online, digital copy as an original, just like I’d inspected it at a historical society or at the publisher’s archives.

Sunday’s Obituary – Robert F. Kindrew – Died 02-June-2006

Relationship to me: 1st cousin, 2 times removed

Robert F. Kindrew’s obituary was posted online June, 4, 2006 in the Pocono Record.


Robert F. Kindrew 

Robert F. Kindrew, 85, of Stroudsburg died on Friday, June 2, at Pocono Medical Center, East Stroudsburg. He was the husband of Evelyn E. Ace Kindrew; they were married on July 13, 1946, and would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary next month.

Robert was born May 16, 1921, in East Stroudsburg, the son of the late Edward and Lillian Repsher Kindrew. He was a lifetime resident of Monroe County.

He was a veteran of the United States Army, having served during World War II and receiving the Bronze Star.

Robert is a member of the East Stroudsburg United Methodist Church, Veterans of Foreign Wars in East Stroudsburg, the Loyal Order of the Moose in Stroud Township, and the Timberwolf Association #356 Field Artillery.

He was a lifetime mechanic and owned and operated Kindrew’s Mobil Gas Station on the corners of Prospect and Ridgeway streets in East Stroudsburg for many years. After that he worked for D.G. Nicholas Auto Parts for several years. He also worked part-time at the Moose Lodge in Stroud Township for 20 years.

In addition to is wife, he is survived by his son, Randy R. and his wife, Rose, of Stroudsburg; his granddaughter, Mary Kindrew of Stroudsburg; his grandson, Robert Kindrew of Stroudsburg; two brothers, Ralph Kindrew of Lancaster and James Kindrew and his wife, Ruth, of Palmerton; and many nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his brother Charles and his sisters Elizabeth and Dorothy.

He loved his grandchildren and never missed their sporting events. He supported them in everything they did.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 7, at the Joseph J. Pula Funeral Home, 23 North Ninth St., Stroudsburg, with Rev Edward C. Kimes officiating.

Military interment will follow in the Prospect Cemetery, East Stroudsburg. There will be a viewing from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association, 212 East Broad St., Bethlehem, PA 18018.

52 Documents in 52 Weeks #7 – Bea Guirreri’s Award

Person of Interest: Beatrice I. (Repsher) Guirreri
Relationship: Paternal grandmother

Source Citation: “AARP award,” newspaper clipping, New Jersey Herald, 02 May 1990 (penned), p. C-3. Strait family newspaper clippings, privately held by Jodi Lynn Strait, Tucson, AZ. Inherited in 2010 by Ms. Strait from her grandmother Beatrice (Repsher) Strait Guirreri of Newton, New Jersey.

Document Description: A clipping from a local newspaper consisting of a picture with a caption.

aarp-award-beatrice-guirreriDocument Scan and Transcription:
AARP award
Bea Guirreri, at right, was given a Community Service Award from the American Association of Retired Persons, Chapter 44, at a recent meeting held at Harmony Lodge, Andover Twp. Guirreri was selected by the chapter’s board of directors for her outstanding volunteer contribution to the community. The award was presented by Robert Urich, assistant state director, AARP.

Analysis: This short little blurb is a glimpse into my grandmother Bea’s life in May of 1990. I think someone sent her this article as the penned “New Jersey Herald” and date at the top are not in her handwriting of which I have numerous examples.

What genealogical purpose does this newspaper clipping serve? Why even save it when it doesn’t give me a death date, a court filing to pursue, any marriage information, or family related tidbits. It’s important because it places my grandmother at a particular place in a particular time. The Board for Certification of Genealogists has a lovely definition of genealogy on their home page:

“Genealogy is the study of families in genetic and historical context. It is the study of communities, in which kinship networks weave the fabric of economic, political, and social life. It is the study of family structures and the changing roles of men, women, and children in diverse cultures. It is biography, reconstructing each human life across place and time. Genealogy is the story of who we are and how we came to be as individuals and societies.”

This small newspaper clipping weaves into the story of my grandmother’s life. Sure, she was a mother, a widow, a sister, a wife. But she was also a contributor to her community. In the biography of her life, her volunteer work with numerous organizations gives me (and those who would be researching her after I’m long gone) a feel for the types of things that were important to her. In the context of community, this caption lets me know that people thought her work within the community was worthy enough to be recognized. In the fabric of history, I learn from this blurb that retired people were important enough to society for them to create a whole association around them.

It also provides me a picture of Beatrice at the time. I see how she’s dressed, what jewelry she’s wearing, the way her hair is styled, the fact that she’s wearing glasses and what type they are. I see how the gentleman who is presenting the award is dressed and get a peak at another woman in the background. If I didn’t already know when the picture was taken, all those clues might help me date the article. I know that Bea was born in 1910,[1] so I can see that in 1990, at eighty years old, her hair is still dark and she’s still in good health. It tells me she used the nickname “Bea” often enough that the reporter used that in the caption. It tells me that she’s been married at least once because she’s using the last name “Guirreri” when her birth name was Repsher.

This is an original source in that it’s the actual newspaper clipping taken from the paper at the time it was printed. The information contained within it is primary in that the newspaper photographer/reporter was at the event at the time and witnessed Beatrice receiving the award. It was recorded (as published in the paper) very close to the time of the event. The evidence is direct only if the research question is a very specific one of “When and what awards did Beatrice receive?” This clipping is more useful in constructing a timeline of Beatrice’s life than providing detailed information related to birth or death or marriage.


Don’t overlook any little piece of evidence in looking at the people in your family tree. Even the little things help to construct timelines and breath life into your ancestor’s everyday activities.

[1] Pennsylvania Department of Health, birth certificate 1234010-1910 (1910), Beatrice Irene Repsher; Division of Vital Statistics, New Castle.

Sunday’s Obituary – Helen (Repsher) Struss – Died 23-December-1990

Relationship to me: Paternal grand aunt

Helen (Repsher) Struss‘ obituary appeared December 1990, most likely the New Jersey Herald. This is a clipping her sister Beatrice owned.


“Helen Struss” – Stanhope – Helen R. Struss, 79, died Saturday at Dover General Hospital Medical Center.  Mrs. Struss was born in Annalomick, Pa., and had lived in Stanhope for the past 77 years.  She was a homemaker and a member of St. Michael’s R.C. Church in Netcong.

Mrs. Struss was also a member of the American Association of Retired Persons Chapter 44 of Newton.  She was a life member of the Ladies Auxiliary to the Firemen of the State of New Jersey; a life member of Musconetcong Unit No. 278  of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary; and of the Ladies Auxiliary of Stanhope Hose Company No. 1.

Mrs. Struss is survived by her daughter Elaine of Stanhope; three brothers, George Repsher of Budd Lake, Adam Repsher of Stanhope and Henry Repsher of Phoenix, Ariz.; one sister, Beatrice Guerreri of Newton and many nieces and nephews.  She was predeceased by her husband, William, who died in 1955.

Funeral services will be Thursday at 8:30 a.m. from the Pichi Funeral Home, 105 Main St., Stanhope, to St. Michael’s R.C. Church in Netcong, where a Liturgy of Christian Burial will be offered at 9 a.m.

Interment will be in Stanhope Union Cemetery in Mt. Olive Township.

Friends may visit Wednesday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Stanhope-Netcong American Legion Ambulance Squad, P.O. Box 167, Stanhope, 07874.