I may have met Herb and his wife Fran many years ago during my childhood, but my first real recollection of them was at the home of my great aunt Martha’s son Claude when we attended an after funeral gathering of family at Claude and Billy’s home in Tacoma, Washington. Fran was my cousin through the Yates family, her mother being Myra Yates who was an older sister to my grandfather Will Yates. Myra had married Joe Prantl 30 December 1908 in West Plains, Missouri.
It seemed like the only time I would see Fran and Herb was at funerals. Fran passed away in 1996, just a couple months before my dad did in June. I began communicating by letter with Herb (he had hearing loss, so telephoning was out of the question) because my dad, for whatever reason, had given Fran some tintypes that my grandpa had brought back with him when it made a trip to Tennessee in the early 1910′s. I was working on our family tree at a pretty good clip at that point and since Fran had passed away (she too had been doing some family genealogy at one time) I asked Herb if I could get the tintypes back from him for our family photo records. He agreed, and we drove all the way over to Soap Lake, WA to get them.
We had a wonderful visit with Herb, his sister-in-law Tracy and Tracy’s husband Rick (Herman) Richardson, and my brother Dave and wife Kathy who had traveled along with us that day.
Through the years we have stayed in touch with Herb until his Alzheimer’s condition made things more difficult for him. At one of the facilities he was in years ago, he greeted us warmly and admitted he didn’t know who we were, but he was grateful that we had come to see him. I think that will tell you just how warm and loving he was. Herb was a centenarian of the first order!
Just a little side note: Working as an engineer and concrete inspector, Herb was involved in the building of the Oroville Dam in Oroville, California.