This blog was suspended for a few weeks as I tried to get my arms around some other projects, but one of those projects is pretty depressing, particularly in the current climate, so I spent a few days on this blog to clear my head a little. The photograph is one of a cache I received from a Stuff CTW Found field operative currently deployed to South Dakota.
The above photograph depicts Lucille Margaret Edwards (1914-2007). The caption on the back states she lived in Capa, Jones County, SD. The Census of 1920 enumerates her family as living on the Lower Brule Indian Reservation in Lyman County, SD. Easterners like me must rejigger their conception of distance when considering places like South Dakota.
Lucille’s father was Charles Erwin Edwards (1886-1971), a farmer, who was born in Wisconsin to Wisconsin-born parents. Lucille’s mother was Karolina Sophie “Lena” Kohler (1887-1925) who was born in Wisconsin to German-born parents. They were married in Lyman County in 1909.
Lucille married John Arthur Hansen (1913-1996) in February 1939 in Estherville, IA where he was born. John’s father was Jens “John” Hansen (1872-1947) who was born in Denmark. His mother was Andrea Husby (1886-1961) who was born in Norway. Jens was a tailor in Denmark and in Germany before moving to the USA in 1893. According to an obituary featured in his findagrave.com memorial, Jens bought out a tailor in Estherville in 1894 and added a dry cleaning plant in 1905. John followed his father in the dry cleaning business. Lucille and John had three sons.
Lucille and John both died in Hawaii and are buried near John’s parents in Oak Hill Cemetery in Estherville. There is a photograph of Lucille on her findagrave.com memorial page and you can see that she retained that dimple in her chin until adulthood. On her memorial page and on John’s memorial page there are several photographs of the family.
When and why did they move to Hawaii? I don’t know the answers for certain but I think it has something to do with Al Phillips (1907-1984). Known as Al Phillips the Cleaner, Phillips spent 40 years in the dry cleaning business in Oregon and Las Vegas before retiring and moving to Honolulu in 1964. Unable to remain retired, Phillips built an Al Phillips the Cleaner plant on McCully Street, then sold it in 1968. Lucille and John appear in a Portland, OR city directory in 1955 and John is working for Ideal Cleaners in Beaverton. They were still living in Portland in 1961, but in 1971 they were living in an apartment on McCully Street in Honolulu, the same street where Al Phillips built his dry cleaning plant. In my imagined scenario, Phillips knew John from Portland and recruited him to help set up the Honolulu edition of Al Phillips the Cleaner. John’s obituaries inform that he was retired from Al Phillips the Cleaner. Perhaps a family member will shed light on this story at some point.