Saturday, August 29, 2015

Gerald Dean Richerson

One of the perks to having such a "young" family is that I have known more than half of my great-grandparents. I didn't realize how unusual this was until I was in college and had been doing genealogy for a few years already.

I never knew my Mexican great-grandparents; they both passed away before I was born. While I didn't know them well, I did get to meet my dad's other set of grandparents as a child. My maternal grandfather's dad passed away before I was born, but I knew his mom very well. (She's the one that got me started on this crazy genealogy kick in the first place!) And my maternal grandmother's mom lived next door to us growing up.

My maternal grandmother's father, on the other hand, has always been a bit of a mystery to me. Even though he was still alive by the time I went to college, I never knew him. And, actually, it never dawned on me that I hadn't met him until I found out even he existed.

As a kid, you only know what you've been told, and I was told my "Grandma Grimm" was my granny's mom. Since I was never introduced to a person referred to as my granny's "dad," I kind of just assumed she didn't have one.
An excerpt from my Baby Book. (I don't even think my mom asked anybody for information. She put in whom she had met personally and left it at that.)
Then, one day, I can't quite remember if it was when I was in middle school or high school, we drove by a house. I don't even remember where the house was, except I am fairly certain it was still in North Carolina somewhere. When questioning why we were stopped on the side of the street in this seemingly random residential area, I was told my granny's dad lived in the house up ahead of us.

As far as I remember, no one ever approached the house or tried to make contact with him; I just remember driving by the house that day. As if simply knowing he was a real person was enough for my mom and grandmother.

When I started doing genealogy, I asked my grandmother her father's name, but still to this day I haven't asked if she ever knew her father or why he wasn't around when I was a kid. (Honestly, it even took me a while to figure out that her mom had gotten remarried at some point because their last names weren't the same! I never met a "Grandpa Grimm," so again I just assumed there just wasn't one.)

Gerald Dean Richerson was born on 30 June 1921 in Long Lane, Dallas County, Missouri. My grandmother's birth certificate says otherwise. (Not that I hold much stock in what birth certificates say; my dad's says that his dad was born in Texas, instead of Mexico.)

From what I can tell, he was the oldest of eight children born to William Parker Richerson and Cleo Belle Triplett. He married my great-grandmother Jessie Roberta Ellis on 21 December 1942. Together, they had one child, Clara Dean Richerson, in 1943

As I mentioned before, I don't know what happened after my grandmother was born, but by 1947 Gerald was getting married to Hazel Corrine Jenkins in Santa Rosa, Florida. Hazel and Gerald had at least one child together, Barbara Louise Richerson, in 1949.

I don't know if Gerald stayed around long for his second wife and second child, but Gerald remarried a third time to a woman named Marjorie. They had at least the following children:
  • John William Richerson, born 1963
  • Marjorie L Richerson, born 1968
  • Laura Richerson
The only other thing I know about Gerald is that he served as a pilot with the U.S. Navy. He served a year and a half in the military. He enlisted on 19 December 1957 and was released on 6 July 1959. I don't know any specifics on his service, but I do have a picture of him.
Provided by Thomas Cardenas
This was the first photo I saw of my great-grandfather. Since he was 36 when he enlisted in the Navy, and that is relatively old to have joined the service, I wonder what his reasoning was.  Whatever the reason, I think his experiences in the Navy directly affected his feelings about family. I think that's why he found a wife, and kept her, and had a family.

Based on everything I've been able to dig up on him, I don't think Gerald would have been an easy person to know, but I think I would have liked to have known him.
Photo provided by Thomas Cardenas
Gerald died on 28 March 2006 in Missouri. I don't know where he is buried yet, but I assume he is buried in Missouri. If anyone knows anything about Gerald, his second and third spouses, or his other children, please send me a message. I would love to find some answers for this part of the family tree.

  • Birth Certificate, Clara Dean Richerson
  • U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, Gerald Dean Richerson

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