Ruth and Roy Collier

Ruth and Roy front no back

Above we have Roy Frank Collier, Jr. (1922-1972) and Ruth Louise Carey (1920-2004). I don’t know the date or location of the photograph. Could it be their wedding day?

Roy was the son of Roy Frank Collier, Sr. (1896-1930) and the grandson of George W. Collier (1865-1934). George was a prominent Baltimorean who served as “Market Master” in the office of City Comptroller of Baltimore. In 1921 he managed the following public markets: Belair Market, Canton Market, Centre Market, Cross Street Market, Fells Point Market, Hanover Market, Hollins Market, Lafayette Market, Lexington Market, Northeast Market, and Richmond Market. You can read more about the public markets here and here. President Harding appointed George as Baltimore’s U.S. Marshall in 1923 and he served in that office for ten years. Roys’ mother was Helen Marie Gritz (1902-1968) whose father Anthony Gritz (1876-1917) was born in Poland. The name Gritz apparently derived from Gryczkowski, and both the long and short versions were spelled every which way.

Ruth was born in Newport, DE, the daughter of Charles Wilson Carey (1888-1951) and Lydia R. Ivory (1895-1921). After Lydia died in 1921 Ruth and her siblings were sent to live with relatives. In the 1930 Census Ruth was enumerated with her mother’s paternal uncle, William Thomas Ivory (1874-1938), his wife Florence Isabelle Packard (1876-1931), and their son Wilson Thomas Ivory, Jr. (1903-1979) in Wilmington, DE. Lydia’s father, George Henry Ivory (1872-1943) and his brother William Thomas Ivory were born in Kent County, MD to William Ivory (1831-1878) and Sarah Catherine Tucker (1844-1884). In the 1940 Census we see Ruth in Baltimore working as a precision equipment finisher and a lodger with the family of Edward Linton Kelley (1909-1976), his wife Rose Marie Borleis (1914-1984), and their two daughters. I couldn’t find a familial connection between Ruth and the Kelley family.

Roy was in the U.S. Marines from September 1942 until November 1945. During at least December 1943 to February 1944 Roy was stationed on the island of Espiritu Santo, the largest island in the Republic of Vanuatu in the South Pacific. I’m sort of convinced that Roy served in the Marine Photographic Squadron 154 (VMD-154) which arrived to the island in November 1943. By July 1945 Roy had redeployed and was part of VMD-954 at Stallings Air Base in Kinston, NC, a squadron which absorbed VMD-154. In 1958 Roy was employed as an engineer with what is now known as AAI Corporation, which leads me to believe he was an aircraft technician while in the Marines.  When Ruth sent photographs to Roy he usually wrote the dates he received them on the back. Here are some of those photographs, each one followed immediately by its reverse:

Ruth Collier 1 front

Ruth Collier 1 back

Ruth in Coat frontRuth in Coat back

Ruth Collier bathing suit frontRuth Collier bathing suit back

Ruth wrote “grandmother and mother” on the back of the following photograph which is dated 23 January 1944, so this must be Roy’s mother Helen Marie Gritz (1902-1968) and her mother Lena M. Dietz (1875-1965):

Grandmother and Mother front

Grandmother and Mother back

Below is a uncaptioned photograph of grandmother, mother, and Roy and Ruth:

Ruth and Roy and Grandmother and Mother front no back

Below is “Uncle William” who is apparently Roy’s maternal uncle William Alexander Gritz (1911-2001). Ruth was married to William at the time of his death but I don’t know when they married. William had not married before he married Ruth.

Uncle William front

Uncle William back

Here is Adolph Joseph Gritz (1914-1970), another maternal uncle of Roy’s:

Adolph J Gritz front

Adolph J Gritz back

Below is a photograph of Ruth that appears to be a souvenir from an excursion aboard the S. S. Dixie, the “Steamer of Tomorrow,” a Wilson Line vessel that set sail from Pier 8 on Light Street in Baltimore. As shown in the advertisements to follow, taken from 1939 editions of The Baltimore Sun, the ship made two trips a day. Her dress and the expression on her face suggest to me that Ruth was taking the “Moonlight” excursion.


US Dixie Advert 4 The_Baltimore_Sun_Thu__Jun_18__1936_



The above image of the S. S. Dixie can be purchased here. According to Google Earth, 807 Dundalk Avenue and much around it were replaced by the Kane Avenue interchange on I-95. Go here to read about Seaside Park.

Below is a photograph of a man I suspect to be Roy’s dad, Roy Frank Coller, Sr:

Possibly Roy Frank Collier Sr no back

Tucked within the cardboard portrait holder above was the following photograph of Roy, Jr.:

Roy Collier Jr baby front

Roy Collier Jr baby back

Next we have Roy, Jr. in his U. S. Marine uniform. This must have been taken near or at the end of his military service because he wears Technical Sergeant stripes, the highest rank he obtained.

Roy Frank Collier Jr in uniform no back

Roy and Ruth had three sons. The first was Roy Frank Collier, III who died as 20 months (1946-1947). In the next photograph we see Ruth holding an unidentified baby I suspect to be Roy, III:

Ruth and unidentified baby (no back)

The two other sons were twins born on 1 October 1948. There were dozens of photographs of them, many with the “grandmother and mother” from above, and each was carefully captioned to identify the twins, James Michael Collier, Sr., and Kenneth Lane Collier:

K and J 2.5 years (no back)

This was a complicated project and it took a long time. There are several gaps in information which are bugging me, but perhaps they’ll come to light. Now, at it’s end and after a closer look at S. S. Dixie photograph and others, I realize I should have written this one more from Ruth’s perspective. But it’s time to cut the cord and move on. [Philosophical musings deleted.]


Leave a Reply