Grant Louis Firestone Sr. -- a.k.a. "Grant M. Firestone" -- was born on Dec. 22, 1866 in Somerset County, PA, the son of Lewis and Sarah Ann (Rose) Firestone.
At a young age, Grant migrated with his parents to Fayette County, PA.
On April 1, 1891, the 24-year-old Grant married 17-year old Christena Kirkwood (1874-1966), the daughter of Scottish immigrant David and Christena Kirkwood of Pittsburgh, PA. The ceremony took place in New Haven (now West Connellsville), PA, officiated by Rev. W.H. Cooper. Noted the Connellsville Daily Courier many years later, after they had reached more than six decades of marriage, "Televisions were not even dreamed of sixty-four years ago" when they took their vows.
They had nine children – David Laurence Firestone, Albert J. Firestone, Ada Opperman Laws, Leroy Firestone, Ira R. Firestone, Grant L. Firestone Jr., Edna Auer, Hugh W. "Huey" Firestone and an unnamed son, their first child, who died in infancy.
Grant was a lifelong farmer. They belonged to the Rich Hill Church of God. Grant had political aspirations and in 1903 was on the Democratic ballot as a Bullskin Township supervisor. But the same year, he paid a $10 fine for cruelty to what the Connellsville Weekly Courier called "an old, weather-beaten horse that is many years past his age of usefulness.... Last Thursday night, it developed from the testimony, the horse fell helpless on a local street, and was allowed to remain all night in the cold without covering or water. The next morning he was again pressed into service."
When Grant's mother died in 1929, the widowed father was left alone in his home, "physically incapacitated and receiving little or no attention." The father allegedly asked Grant's brother in law Andrew Calhoun to provide for his well-being , with promises of "ample compensation." Andrew quit his job and together with his wife Sadie spent a significant amount of time at the Firestone home handling the elderly man's "physical requirements." They remained for two months, from May 10, 1929 to July 10, 1929.
Grant's father died on Jan. 18, 1930, at age 96, in Connellsville State Hospital. He and his brother Austin were named to administer the estate. In February 1930, attorney H. George May of Connellsville wrote to Austin, saying "As soon as you and Grant are ready to come in, we can arrange to pay the bills and inheritance tax and close things up. Of course, this does not need to be done for a matter of 40 to 50 days from now, but any time that you are ready for it, we might as well get it out of the way."
Not having received the promised compensation from the father's estate, Grant's brother in law Calhoun came forth with a $200 bill as "wages for work and nursing." The brothers objected, and the matter was taken to court. The case was settled on April 30, 1931, when the Orphans Court rejected the claim.
Grant eventually received his own payment of $115.09 as a bequest from the estate.
Tragedy rocked the family when their 26-year-old son Huey was killed in an automobile accident in Wyandotte, MI in 1941.
In April 1955, the Firestones celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary, and were pictured in the Daily Courier. The accompanying news article said "The day of the anniversary was spent quietly. Daughters of the celebrants served refreshments and a large cake for the occasion was baked by the granddaughters." The story added that "Both are in good health. Congratulations are extended to the happy couple by their many relatives and friends."
Grant died at his home in Breakneck at age 92 on Dec. 21, 1958. At the time of death, he had 29 grandchildren and "many" great-grandchildren, said the Courier. He was buried at Mount Olive Cemetery.
Christena outlived her husband by eight years. Said the Courier in 1966, "She had been an invalid for the past seven years, since breaking her hip in a fall." She lived with daughter Edna, sewing carpet rags and crocheting to pass the time. She celebrated her 90th birthday in 1964, with a party in the Auer home and with a related article appearing in the Daily Courier. The story noted that she had broken her hip five years earlier and had been bedfast since that time, and that she sewed carpet rags and crocheted to pass the time.
She died at the Auer home at age 92 on Feb. 27, 1966.
~ Son David Lawrence Firestone Sr. ~
Son David Lawrence Firestone Sr. (1893-1966) was born on July 11, 1893.
On Jan. 18, 1915, the 21-year-old David married 18-year-old Gertrude Margaret Leach (1896-1967), daughter of Henry and Jennie Leech of Elkhorn, Allegheny County, PA. Their wedding ceremony was held at the old Crossland Farm along Breakneck Road, owned circa 1965 by Dr. D.S. Newill. Performing the nuptials was Rev. William B. Elliot.
They had six children -- Howard Albert Firestone, Harry Leroy Firestone Sr., Elmer David Firestone, David L. Firestone Jr., Warren R. Firestone and Helen Buchholz.
The Firestones resided in the Pleasant Valley area near Connellsville. Circa 1927, the family had a telephone in their home, with the number "4100-R-15." Said the Courier, he was a longtime"lineman of West Penn Power Co., with 30 years of service."
On Jan. 17, 1965, the Firestones celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with an open house at their Connellsville home. His 90-year-old mother is believed to have attended the party. They were pictured in the Daily Courier, which reported that husband and wife took an active interest in gardening and rug-making.
David passed away at home at the age of 73 on Dec. 6, 1966, "after a lingering illness." He was laid to rest in Mt. Olive Cemetery near Pennsville. At his death he was survived by 14 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Son Howard Albert Firestone (1915-1977) was born on June 13, 1915 in Pleasant Valley, Bullskin Township. He married twice. His first bride was Beatrice A. Provance ( ? - ? ). They were wed in 1934, when he was 19 years of age. They produced three daughters, Irene Martin and Betty Catherine Lindauer. Howard earned a living as an operator with Anchor Hocking Corporation's glass container plant in South Connellsville. The couple divorced on Feb. 17, 1947, after 13 years of marriage. Beatrice married a second time to Robert Vail and relocated to Alexandria, VA, where they produced a daughter, Sue McReynolds. Howard enjoyed hunting but in December 1949, spent an entire week in Kane, PA without bringing down a single deer. Upon returning home, he and his brother David walked to the Richhill section of Connellsville and shot a 175-lb., eight-point buck. Howard's second spouse was 23-year-old Margaret Genevieve Blubaugh ( ? - ? ), daughter of Ralph and Anna (Robertson) Blubaugh. At the time of their wedding, Margaret was a factory worker in South Connellsville. They tied the knot in Somerset, Somerset County, PA on Aug. 1, 1950, with Rev. George Leith Roth officiating. The couple established a home in 1950 in South Connellsville and belonged to Albright United Methodist Church. Howard and Margaret helped to raise their motherless granddaughter, Carol Algood Wissinger. In the mid-1970s, their address was 1520 Hyndman Street. Howard was among a number of his Anchor Hocking co-workers pictured in the Connellsville Daily Courier in December 1967 for completing 25 years of service. He received a watch at a dinner at the Holiday Inn in New Stanton, with plant manager Fred C. Sandusky making remarks. In all, he logged 32 years of employment with the company, spending a majority of his time as an "upkeep man" at plant 5. He also was a member of the South Connellsville and Connellsville Rod and Gun Clubs, an honorary member of the South Connellsville Volunteer Fire Department and a social member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Polish Club. At the age of 61, Howard became ill and was admitted to Connellsville State Hospital. He succumbed there on May 13, 1977. He was entombed in Green Ridge Memorial Park, with an obituary appearing in the Courier.
Son Harry Leroy Firestone Sr. (1917-1983) was born on Sept. 2, 1917. At the age of 20, on Sept. 13, 1937, he married Emma Jean Prough ( ? - ? ). Their four children were Rodger Lee Firestone Sr., Harry Leroy Firestone Jr., Carol R. Swink and Douglas B. Firestone. Circa 1941, the family made its home along Breakneck Road. Harry joined West Penn Power Company in 1936 as a groundman, became a lineman in 1938, was promoted to serviceman in 1946 and eventually in 1967 was tapped to be an installer in the Laurel Division Service Center. When he reached 20 years of service with the company in 1956 and 40 years in 1976, his name was printed in related stories in the Connellsville Daily Courier. In 1956, their postal address was Box 134, R.D.3 Connellsville. Harry enjoyed hunting, fishing and do-it-yourself projects in his spare time. Sadly, Harry passed away on May 7, 1983, at the age of 66.
Son Warren Robert Firestone Sr. (1930-1995) was born on Jan. 10, 1930. He saw military service as a private during the Korean War and was assigned to Company G of the 7th Infantry Regiment, Third Division. While in Korea, he was pictured in the Connellsville Daily Courier. Later, after returning home, he was employed by "Anchor Hocking Closure Division as a lithographer with 38 years of service," said the Daily Courier. He belonged to the Graphic Arts International Union. On Aug. 29, 1955 in Connellsville, when he was age 25, Warren married Marcella L. (Wedge) Fosbrink (1929- ? ), daughter of Charles E. Wedge of Connellsville. Their two children were Warren Robert Firestone and Mark A. Firestone. Warren died at home at the age of 65 on June 3, 1995, with interment in Green Ridge Memorial Park.
Son David Lawrence Firestone Jr. (1922-2002) was born on May 2, 1922. His first wife was Elaine Burnsworth ( ? - ? ). He "was the fourth generation in the Firestone family to work as a beekeeper and was an active member of the Pennsylvania Beekeepers Association," said the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. During World War II, he served with the U.S. Army and in February 1943 was stationed at Camp Shelby, MS. He came home on a furlough and his family and friends threw a party which was noted in the gossip columns of the Connellsville Daily Courier. A photograph of David holding a dead, 11-foot-long snake appeared in the Daily Courier on Feb. 14, 1945, with comment that "this is one of the pets we spent our spare time on. It is a python and is golden brown with diamond spots and black stripes -- a very beautiful color. The snake crawled six feet inside the tent and over one of the boy's arms. I shot it in the head with a 30 caliber carbine U.S. rifle. A few days before my buddy killed its mate, 11 feet long and the same color as this one. There are five other boys in the same tent." While in action at the battle of Mindanao, Philippine Islands on May 20, 1945, he was wounded and later awarded a Purple Heart. After the war, he returned home and was a trustee of the Rich Hill Union Community Church and Cemetery. David later married Georgetta J. Lubish ( ? - ? ) in December 1946. She was the daughter of George Lubish of Masontown, Fayette County. They produced two sons -- David "Barry" Firestone and Keith Firestone. His third spouse was Norma Genevieve Welsh Kerns ( ? - ? ), whom he wedded in December 1974. While attending a reunion of Pleasant Valley School in June 1976, David and Norma received an award as newlyweds and he garned another honor for "person having the least hair." He died at the age of 80, at home in Bullskin Township, on Oct. 11, 2002. Interment was in Green Ridge Memorial Park, officiated by Rev. Evelyn Stillwagon.
Daughter Helen Irene Firestone (1927-1993) was born on Feb. 28, 1927. At the age of 19, on April 21, 1946, she married 23-year-old Karl F. Buchholz Sr. (1923-1988), son of G.A. Buchholz of the Springfield Pike. The nuptials were performed by Rev. Martin J. Roth on Easter Sunday afternoon at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Connellsville. At the time of marriage, Karl and his brother Paul worked at Watson Garage in Dunbar as automobile mechanics. He was a World War II veteran of the Navy, serving on "the USS Pennsylvania in the Asiatic-Pacific and Phillipine Liberation Campaigns," said the Courier. "He was a bus mechanic and driver for many years with the Kern School Buses and R.W. Beck School Buses." They had four children -- Karl F. Buchholz Jr., Wanda Lee McQuaide, Beverly Shupe and Michelle Buchholz. Their home in the 1960s was on Richhill Road. While attending a reunion of Pleasant Valley School in June 1976, Helen received an award for "longest married." Karl Sr. died on March 20, 1988, with burial in Green Ridge Memorial Park. Helen outlived him by five years. She passed into eternity on Feb. 20, 1993.
Son Elmer David Firestone (1919-1997) was born on Oct. 19, 1919. He served with the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, performing missions in North Africa and England. His aircraft was known as Swampfire. He was pictured in the Feb. 14, 1945 edition of the Daily Courier, which stated that he was stationed "somewhere in England" and had written home that "I am fine and happy." He returned to the States in July 1945 after a long flight home which began in England and included stops at Casablanca, Azores, Bermuda and Miami. On May 8, 1963, at the age of 44, on May 8, 1963, he married Minerva Ann Pirl ( ? - ? ). Their two sons were David M. Firestone and William D. Firestone. Elmer died on Feb. 23, 1997, and rests in Green Ridge Memorial Park.
~ Son Albert J. Firestone Sr. ~
Son Albert J. Firestone Sr. (1896-1973) was born on July 10, 1896 at Moyer in Bullskin Township, Fayette County.
His first spouse was Pearl Leish (1900-1966). They initially resided in the Connellsville and Ohiopyle areas.
The Firestones had three confirmed children -- Mabel Brooks, Ruth Brooks and Albert J. Firestone Jr.
Albert and Pearl eventually divorced by 1924. He made his home at that time in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, PA.
For many years, Albert was employed with Bell Telephone Company and received transfers in Pennsylvania and Ohio in the performance of his work.
On March 11, 1924, at the age of 27, Albert married a second time to 21-year-old Hallie Barger (Sept. 27, 1902-1973), the daughter of John W. and Nell G. (Higgins) Barger of New Freeport, Greene County, PA. Their nuptials were held in Somerset County, PA, officiated by Rev. W.W. Hayes.
Their offspring were Nell Firestone and Lynn Firestone.
The family relocated to Marion, OH in 1925 and by 1930 they resided in Delaware, Delaware County, OH. By 1935 and continuing to 1940, they were back in Marion. Albert was a member of the Masons in Marion, and circa 1951, Hallie was active with the Epworth Methodist Mothers Class at their church.
Albert and Hallie separated sometime after 1940. Hallie took their daughter to Columbus, OH. By 1952 she and the daughter had moved to Fort Lauderdale, FL, with their son remaining behind in Ohio.
Circa 1968, Albert's address was 1196 Marion-Cardington Road East near Marion.
Albert died in Marion at the age of 76 on June 1, 1973. An obituary was published in his old hometown newspaper, the Connellsville Daily Courier.
By 1929, former wife Pearl married again, to Orton P. Eicher (Oct. 2, 1886-1958), the son of Freeman and Sarah (Brooks) Eicher. A lineman with West Penn Power Company, he had been married once before to Elizabeth Beiber ( ? - ? ). They lost a daughter in premature childbirth on Dec. 12, 1929. Orton died on Sept. 17, 1958. Pearl survived him by eight years and passed away in 1966. They rest together in Normalville Cemetery.
Former wife Hallie never remarried. She relocated back to Pennsylvania and spent her final year living under the roof of her brother John Barger in Normalville, Fayette County. She died at the age of 70 in T.M. Fitzgerald Mercy Hospital in Darby, PA on June 20, 1973. Her remains were brought back for burial in Normalville Cemetery, with Rev. Dr. G. Marion Smith leading the funeral service.
Daughter Mabel Firestone (1918- ? ) was born in 1918. She married Oscar O. Brooks (1915-2003), also a son of Samuel and Dollie (Eicher) Brooks. Their nuptials took place in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, PA on April 7, 1933. They lived in Connellsville where Oscar was a lineman for the West Penn Power Company. The Brookses had five children -- Wilma June Showman, Willis E. Brooks, Gene E. Brooks, Robert Lester Brooks and Eileen Brooks. Sadly, daughter Eileen died on June 5, 1979, at the age of 37, with burial in Normalville Cemetery. They also are mentioned in the Brooks history book. Oscar passed away on June 6, 2003.
Daughter Ruth P. Firestone (1919-1989) was born on Oct. 18, 1919. She married James "Melvin" Brooks (1914-1999), the son of Samuel and Dollie (Eicher) Brooks, on Christmas Eve 1934.. She was a Sunday School teacher and director of the Sunday School Department of Elk Ridge Baptist Church in Maryland. She also was employed for a decade with the RPS Parts Services in Baltimore. Melvin was "manager of Altman’s Feed Store in Connellsville, and also an employee of Railway Express which ran out of Connellsville," said the Uniontown Herald-Standard. They had five children -- Norma May, Blaine Brooks, Ronald L. Brooks, Samuel E. Brooks and Deborah Whaley. They are listed in the 1975 book, Brooks Family History. Ruth died on June 9, 1989, with burial in Normalville Cemetery. Melvin survived his wife by a decade. He passed into eternity on Oct. 16, 1999.
Son Albert J. "A.J." Firestone Jr. (1921-1996) was born on July 27, 1921. During World War II, Albert enlisted on June 2, 1942 and was stationed at Fort Bragg, NC where he was a technical sergeant with the quartermaster corps. A.J.'s first wife was Nellie Walker, and they had three children -- Alan J. Firestone, Linda Sue Williamson and Sandy K. Firestone. Later, he wed his second spouse, Elsie Firestone (1927-2008), the daughter of Jerry M. and Sarah (Murray) Firestone. They were members of the E.U.B. Church at Pleasant Hills, and attended the Church of the Open Door in Connellsville. He "was a self-employed building contractor for over 30 years," said the Courier. Elsie "retired from the Connellsville Area School District as a cafeteria manager. She worked for the school district for 40 years." Albert passed away in 1996. Elsie outlived him by a dozen years, and in later life attended the Indian Creek Baptist Church in Mill Run, where many generations of her husband's Minerd ancestors rest for eternity. Elsie died at the age of 81, on New Year's Eve 2008, "following a courageous battle with cancer," said the Courier. She joined Albert in quiet rest at the Normalville Cemetery.
Daughter Nell Firestone (1924-1968) was born on April 6, 1924 in Ohiopyle. At the age of one, she migrated with her parents to Marion, OH. She never married. She studied music and voice at Ohio State University. Then in 1951, she relocated to Fort Lauderdale, FL, where she spent the remainder of her years. Her address in 1968 was 2180 SW 28th Terrace. Sadly, at the age of 44, Nell became ill and was admitted to Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale. After two months of suffering, she expired in May 1968. An obituary was published in the Marion Star and in the Fort Lauderdale News.
Son Lynn Firestone (1926-1991) was born in about 1926 in Columbus, Franklin County, OH. As a youth, he dwelled with his parents in Delaware, Delaware County, OH but by 1935 they were back in Marion, Marion County, where he graduated from high school. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II with involvement in the Navy's V-12 college training program. He studied at Ohio Wesleyan University and received a degree in 1949 from Case Western Reserve. After graduation, he established a home in Akron, OH. Lynn married Elizabeth ( ? - ? ). The Firestones produced these children -- Thomas Firestone, Robert Firestone and Barbara Jongeward. Lynn took additional master's-level courses at Carnegie Institute of Technology, Georgia Tech, the University of Illinois, Cornell University and the University of Michigan. He was employed for many years by Ohio Edison and attained the position of senior vice president of engineering. At one time, he served as chair of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) as well as holding a membership in the Citicenter Professional Engineers Society. Circa December 1963, he and John Kekela of Ohio Edison published an article, "Underexcited Operation of Generators" in the journal Electrical Engineering. Lynn was among several industry officials who testified before the Ohio Public Utilities Committee in opposition to proposed legislation that would have tied forecasts made by electrical utilities directly to PUC's rate-making decisions to help avoid the industry's problems of over- or under-building. Their argument was that the bill would force unnecessary duplication of Ohio regulatory bodies to the detriment of Ohio electricity consumers. One observer, James Kennedy of the Ohio Department of Energy, stated that Lynn's testimony "polarized the legislative committee against the utility perspective, for its tone was arrogant and unforgiving of government intervention in the private affairs of utility management."They were members of Westminster Presbyterian Church abd Fairlawn Country Club, where Elizabeth enjoyed playing stow bridge. At the age of 64, Lynn died on Feb. 10, 1991. A service was held in the family church, officiated by Rev. Dr. Harry W. Eberts Jr., with burial following in Billow Fairlawn Chapel in Akron. In an obituary printed in the Akron Beacon Journal, the family asked that any memorial donations be made to the Women's Auxiliary Board of Summit County Children's Home.
~ Daughter Ada (Firestone) Opperman Laws ~
Daughter Ada Firestone (1899-1975) was born on March 16, 1899 in Bullskin Township.
At the age of 24, Ada first married Arthur Opperman ( ? - ? ) on Oct. 15, 1925, in Uniontown, Fayette County. At the time of marriage, he was a laborer residing in Connellsville.
They produced one son, Wayne Louis Opperman.
Circa 1930, Albert labored as a coal miner, and they took on boarders for added income. At one point they resided in Star Junction, Fayette County. Later, the couple separated, with Arthur moving to Mill Run, Fayette County, and Ada going to Rich Hill. He sued Ada for divorce in September 1938, claiming that for the past four years she "displayed a violent temper, continuous contention and nagging, and that she confined her attentions to a boarder at the home."
Later, in 1953, she married her second husband, James Laws (1896-1981), son of Matthew B. and Eva A. (Keefer) Laws. James had served in France in World War I as a member of the First Anti-Aircraft Machine Gun Battalion. After the war, he worked as a longtime coal miner. They lived on Breakneck Road near Connellsville and were members of the Rich Hill Church of God. In 1971, she attended the 10th annual reunion of the Pleasant Valley School held at Bullskin Township Elementary School.
Ada was hospitalized in the late winter of 1975, and upon her discharge placed an advertisement in the Connellsville Daily Courier, stating that she wanted to "express my sincere thanks to all my friends, relatives and neighbors for the many cards, flowers and gifts that I received..." But, sadly, she died later that year, on Nov. 5, 1975. Burial was in Green Ridge Memorial Park, with an obituary appearing in the Daily Courier.
James joined her in death in 1981.
Son Wayne Louis Opperman (1927-2007) was born on Dec. 14, 1927 in Connellsville. In about 1965, at the age of 38, he was joined in wedlock with Myra Cole ( ? - ? ), daughter of Richard B. and Evelyn (Reich) Cole of Connellsville. The couple enjoyed 42 years together until the separation of death. Their two sons were Mark Louis Opperman and Kevin Thomas Opperman. For 17 years, Wayne worked as a housewares buyer for Troutman's Department Store in Connellsville, and then for 19 years was an agent for American General Life Insurance company. He was pictured in American General's advertisements in the Connellsville Daily Courier. He was elected secretary-treasurer, auditor and tax collector of Connellsville Township in 1969 and continued in these roles until 2005, a span of about 26 years. He also belonged to the King Solomon lodge of the Masons and Scottish Rite Uniontown Lodge of Perfection. Said the Daily Courier, "Wayne enjoyed life, loved his family and just liked being around people." Circa 1999, Myra was a member of the Laurel Art Club and displayed her artworks at the Scottdale Fall Festival, as reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Wayne passed into eternity on March 13, 2007. Rev. Barry Witt officiated at the funeral service followed by interment in Green Ridge Memorial Park. The Daily Courier printed an obituary.
~ Son Leroy Firestone ~
Son Leroy Firestone (1902-1982) was born in 1902.
He was a longtime employee of West Penn Power Company in Greensburg, and was a lineman circa 1926.
On July 29, 1926, when he was about 24 years of age, Leroy married 20-year-old Eleanor Jean Curry (1906-1971), daughter of George and Ada Curry of East Francis Avenue in Connellsville. The wedding was held in the Christian Church of Waynesburg, Greene County, PA, with Rev. Dowdy officiating. Their nuptials were reported by the Connellsville Daily Courier, which noted that the "wedding is of much interest to the wide circle of friends of the bride and groom." At the time, Eleanor had been employed for six months by Wright-Metzler Company. Then in October 1926, Eleanor's sister Catherine held a shower for her with 35 guests attending and a notice in the Pittsburgh Press.
The couple produced at least three children -- Roy Eugene Firestone, James E. Firestone and Shirley Lee Flock.
Heartache shook the family when son Roy, aged five months, 15 days, died on Jan. 21, 1928.
By 1935, they had relocated to Greensburg, Westmoreland County, where they remained for decades. Their address in 1971 was 1538 Barr Street in South Greensburg. They were members of First Lutheran Church.
Sadly, Eleanor passed away on Dec. 18, 1971 while a patient in Westmoreland Hospital. The Daily Courier ran an obituary.
Leroy died on Oct. 7, 1982, at age 80, with burial beside his wife in Westmoreland County Memorial Park.
Son James E. Firestone (1929-2010) was born in about 1929 in Connellsville. During the Korean War, he served with the U.S. Marine Corps. He married Theresa Bloom ( ? - ? ). She brought a son to the marriage, Robert "Bob" Bloom. He had these daughters of his own -- Jennie Firestone and Millie Firestone. He made his home in 1971 in Latrobe, Westmoreland County and later moved to Irwin. Said the Greensburg Tribune-Review, "Jim enjoyed working for the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County for more than 51 years and in that half century made many friends." They also enjoyed a second home in Naples, FL. Suffering from cancer, James died at home on Sept. 19, 2010. His remains were placed into eternal repose in Union Cemetery, and the Tribune-Review published an obituary.
Daughter Shirley Lee Firestone ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She was wedded to Delver "Del" Flock (March 9, 1932-2018), son of Edward R. and Alice (Learn) Flock of Greensburg. They produced a daughter, Amy Schultz. Delver served during the Korean War with the U.S. Navy. Their home in 1971 was in Greensburg, and they attended Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. Delver was a long haul truck driver for Helms Express and D.M. Bowman during his working career. He was elected president of Teamsters Local 30 Retirees, enjoyed the Fosterville Bowling League and was a volunteer with Tri-City Meals on Wheels. Sadly, Shirley died at an untimely age. Delver wedded again to Dorothy (Campbell) Scott who brought these children to the second marriage -- Debbie Masciola, Cheri McShea and Linda Cutcliffe. During the last three years of his life, Delver was a resident of Nature Park Commons. He died at the age of 86 on March 22, 2018.
~ Son Ira R. Firestone ~
Son Ira R. Firestone (1905-1982 ) was born on July 20, 1905.
He married Mary Jo ( ? - ? ). They did not reproduce.
In about 1930, when he was 24 years of age, he joined Ohio Bell Telephone Company in Columbus and initially earned a living as a lineman. He transferred in 1944 to Dayton, Montgomery County, OH. His address in 1968 was 2862 Bahns Drive in Xenia/Beavercreek, OH, and his ranch home, warned by electric home heat, was pictured in a 1970 Xenia Daily Gazette advertisement for Dayton Power and Light Company.
In his work, Ira maintained and repaired PBX switchboards and accessories. He retired from Ohio Bell with 38 years of service on Jan. 31, 1968. He was pictured in the Daily Gazette, which reported that he had no definite plans for retirement activity. He was a member of the Telephone Pioneer Club.
Stricken with cancer, Ira died in Miami Valley Hospital on Feb. 4, 1982. Rev. Harless Hammons led the funeral service, with burial following in Valley View Cemetery. An obituary appeared in the Dayton Daily News.
~ Son Grant Louis Firestone Jr. ~
Son Grant Louis Firestone Jr. (1909-1978) was born in mid-May 1909. News of his birth was announced in the gossip columns of the Connellsville Daily Courier.
He was married twice. His first wife was Eloise E. Brooks (1913-2008), the daughter of Charles B. and Della Mae (Gallentine) Brooks. [Eloise's brother, William Curtis Brooks, married Grant's distant cousin, Blanche Pritts.]
They lived in Connellsville and had four children -- Albert Lee Firestone, Eva Jean O'Rourke, Della Pearl Biler and Shirley Shallenberger. He is believed to have been a member of the Junior Order of United American Mechanics circa 1935.
Grant and Eloise divorced. He later married Grace (Huey) Thorpe (1909-2003), daughter of William and Daisy (Butt) Huey, and believed to have been divorce circa 1931 from Frederick Alfred Thorpe. She brought several children to the second union, among them William E. Thorpe and Daisy Ollett.
Circa 1936, Eloise lived in a single-story, three-room house in East Park near Wills Road in Connellsville. She was hospitalized for several weeks in August 1936, and during that time her house mysteriously was destroyed by fire. She went on to marry World War II veteran Eugene Thomas ( ? - ? ). and is believed to have borne several more daughters.
Grant and Grace apparently had five more children: Harold Firestone, Christine Barbee, Kenneth Firestone, Glenda Kay Dehn and Franklin D. Firestone.
Circa 1955-57, they made their home in Detroit and were members of the local Baptist Church. Their postal address was 2779 Springwells.
Sadly, son Franklin, who had endured cancer for some time, died in Detroit on Feb. 27, 1957 at the age of 13. His remains were returned to Connellsville for burial in Mt. Olive Cemetery. In reporting on the story, columnist Mark Beltraire of the Detroit Free Press said that:
He was doomed to die of cancer and a friend suggested here that [readers] could make his last days a bit happier with cards and notes. Franklin celebrated his 13th birthday Feb. 13. He died two weeks later. His mother, Mrs. Grant Firestone, wants you to know how much you helped her son. She doesn't know how many responded but there were hundreds, so many daily that the mailman had to pile them on the porch. Members of Franklin's family read them to him. Mrs. Firestone extends to all of you a very heartfelt thank you.
Grant died in 1978, at the age of 69. He was interred in Mt. Olive Cemetery.
This family is listed in detail in the 1975 Brooks Family History (see above).
Grace spent 50 years in Detroit and her final years in Pittsgrove, NJ. She died there in the Rainbow Center on March 3, 2003, at the age of 94. Her remains were returned to Fayette County for interment in Mount Olive Cemetery in Bullskin Township. Rev. Joseph Wingrove Jr. officiated at the burial. She rests beside her husband and son Franklin. An obituary was printed in the Daily Courier.
Former wife Eloise married again to Eugene Thomas ( ? - ? ). Their union endured for a remarkable 66 years. She died at home in Leisenring near Uniontown at the age of 95 on Oct. 5, 2008. Interment of the remains was in Normalville Cemetery, with Pastor Don Smith presiding at the funeral service.
Son Albert Lee Firestone (1929- ? ) was born in about 1929. On Nov. 30, 1950, at the age of 21, he married Ninetta Walker (1929-2014), daughter of Clerey and Betty (Rutledge) Walker of Everson. At the time, Albert was a laborer, and Ninetta factory worker. They lived in Connellsville and had two daughters -- Deborah Chaney and Tammy Cavanaugh. Ninetta worked at Connellsville Sportswear, and "loved to polka, sing, read and take care of her family," said the Daily Courier. They attended the Central Fellowship Church. Ninetta passed away at the age of 83 on Jan. 19, 2014, at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, ending a marriage of 63 years. She was laid to rest in the Normalville Cemetery.
Daughter Eva Jean Firestone ( ? - ? ) married (?) O'Rourke. Her home in 2012 was in Connellsville.
Daughter Della Pearl Firestone ( ? - ? ) married (?) Biler. She lived in Connellsville in 2012.
Daughter Shirley Ann Firestone (1936-2012) was born on July 10, 1936 in Whitset, Fayette County. She married William Kenneth "Kenny" Shallenberger ( ? - ? ). They had no children. Shirley "worked as a clerk for the former Burns Drug Store," said the Connellsville Daily Courier, "and later at Linden Hall in the snack bar and in housekeeping. She was a very active member of the Vanderbilt Church of Christ." Shirley also provided care for abused dogs and pets, and was a painter who gave her works as gifts to family and friends. Shirley died at the age of 75, in Vanderbilt, on April 29, 2012. She was laid to rest in Dickerson Run Union Cemetery.
Son Harold Firestone ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). He married Geraldine and resided in Bitely, MI.
Daughter Christine Firestone ( ? - ? ) married Joseph Barbee ( ? - ? ). They dwelled in Taylor, MI in 2003.
Son Kenneth Firestone ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). He was joined in marriage with Jan ( ? - ? ). Circa 2003, they lived in Port St. Lucie, FL.
Daughter Glenda Kay Firestone ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She married David Dehn ( ? - ? ), son of Jane K. Dehn Tibbits and stepson of Norman A. Tibbits. Their known children were David Dehn Jr. and Christopher Dehn. They made a home in Port Huron, MI in 2003. At the age of 66, after her husband retired as a police officer, the couple planned to relocate to Peoria, AZ, but instead they divorced after 48 years of marriage. She ended up with the house in Peoria. Their story was told in a 2013 Traverse City Record Eagle article, "Detroit Retirees Worry About Possible Pension Cuts."
Stepson William E. Thorpe ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). He lived in Uniontown, Fayette County in 1974.
Step-daughter Daisy Thorpe ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She wedded Francis Ollett ( ? - ? ). In 2003, her home was in Centerton, NJ.
~ Daughter Edna Jane (Firestone) Auer ~
Daughter Edna Jane Firestone (1912-1990) was born on March 18, 1912.
In about 1932, she was joined in the bonds of wedlock with John L. Auer (1903-1992). They remained together for 58 years, until separated by death, and resided in Connellsville.
Their family of four children were Harold L. Auer, Wilma Harry, Ruth Ann Reagan Nicholson Pleva and John Robert "J.R." Auer.
Said the Courier, "She was a former employee of Anchor Hocking and of Meidel’s Restaurant. She was a member of Immaculate Conception RC Church, Connellsville."
John was employed for 35 years at Robertshaw Fulton Controls Company in New Stanton, Westmoreland County, PA. Their home over the years was along Breakneck Road in Bullskin Township.
In her later years, Edna's aged mother lived under their roof, bedfast after breaking a hip. The mother sewed carpet rags and crocheted to pass the time, and celebrated her 90th birthday there in 1964.
Edna died on Jan. 17, 1990, at the age of 78. Interment was in St. Joseph's Cemetery
John outlived her by two years. He passed away on March 7, 1992 and was survived by 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Son Harold L. Auer (1932-2012) was born on March 10, 1932 in Connellsville, Fayette County. During the Korean War, he joined the U.S. Navy and served aboard the USS Midway, receiving his honorable discharge in 1954. Two years later, in 1956, at the age of about 24, he wed Mabel Marie Basinger (Aug. 15, 1933- ? ) in Connellsville. They remained together for 56 years. The children born to this marriage were Debra Bowser, Cynthia Estes, Duane Auer and Lori Aretta. Harold received a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Indiana Technical College in 1958. His working career spanned three decades, from 1960 to 1990, as a chief product engineer for the Elliott Company of Jeannette. The family were members of the Connellsville Church of God. Harold especially enjoyed the outdoors, and with his parents and friend Albert Ventol traveled to a hunting camp in Carbon County, PA in December 1968, bringing down an eight-point buck and two spike-horned bucks. He also maintained a hunting camp in Cameron County, PA and relished time in the Lake Erie area. Harold belonged to the South Connellsville Rod and Gun Club and at one time was president of the Youngwood Sportsman's Club. Harold died in Hunker, Westmoreland County, PA at the age of 80 on Sept. 13, 2012. Interment of the remains was in Greenlick Cemetery, with Rev. Nelson Confer preaching the funeral sermon in the family church. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review printed an obituary.
Daughter Wilma J. "Sis" Auer (1936-1983) was born on Jan. 5, 1936. She married Edward William Harry Jr. ( ? - ? ), son of E. William Harry of Connellsville. They had one son, Edward William Harry III. During the Korean War era, Edward was stationed at a naval base at Little Creek, VA. Their home in 1960 was at 501 East Blake Avenue in Poplar Grove. Sadly, Wilma died on April 26, 1983, at the age of 47. She was laid to rest in St. Joseph's Cemetery.
Daughter Ruth Ann Auer ( ? - ? ) was married twice. Her first husband was Donald Eugene Reagan ( ? - ? ), son of Francis Reagan of Connellsville. Their marriage ceremony was held on July 25, 1960 in the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, with Rev. Donald J. Mondello officiating. The newlyweds made their first home in Cleveland, OH, where he worked for Statistical Tabulating Corporation and she was employed by Twomotor Corporation. They produced three children -- Steve M. Reagan, Michelle Reagan and Jeffrey A. Reagan. Ruth Ann's second spouse was Wade Herbert Nicholson (1929-1999). Wade was a veteran of the Korean War, and was employed as a painter at the Volkswagen plant in New Stanton. Wade died at the age of 70, on Oct. 21, 1999, in Highlands Hospital, and was buried in Green Ridge Memorial Park. Ruth wed a third time to John Pleva ( ? - ? ). They resided in Vanderbilt near Connellsville in 2012.
Son John Robert "J.R." Auer (1948-2020) was born on June 15, 1948 in Connellsville. In 1967, during the Vietnam War, he graduated from high school and joined the U.S. Army, where he completed a vehicle mechanic's course where he learned how to "repair internal combustion engines and wheeled vehicle chassis components," said the Connellsville Daily Courier. He went on to be a part of the 82nd Airborne Division. He married Kathryn Faye Baughman ( ? - ? ) in 1967 in Connellsville. The couple apparently divorced. On July 20, 1974, he wedded a second time to Sandra Ann "Sandy" Flynn ( ? -living), daughter of James Flynn of Connellsville. The nuptials were held at Immaculate Conception Church in Connellsville, with Rev. Roger Sinclair officiating. Their union endured for 46 years until cleaved apart by death. At the time of marriage, Sandra worked for Connellsville Taxi Service, and John was employed by McCusker Safe and Lock Company. Their children were Jennifer "Jenn" Akers and Eric Auer. John went on to own his own locksmith business, The Lock Shop in Connellsville. From there he joined Uniontown Hospital and Surgery Center in nearby Mount Pleasant, where he was a medical transcriptionist up until retirement. He spent his free time out-of-doors, especially traveling to a cabin in Cameron County, PA where he hunted and fished. His favorite holiday was the Fourth of July, and he was a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers teams. They were members of the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church. Sadly, he succumbed to death at home at the age of 72 on Aug. 16, 2020. His funeral mass was held in the family church, wit Rev. Paul Lisik officiating. The Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion Honor Guard provided additional military rites. An obituary appeared in the Daily Courier, in which the family asked that any memorial donations be made to the Gary Sinise Foundation.
~ Son Hugh W. "Huey" Firestone ~
Son Hugh W. "Huey" Firestone (1915-1941) was born in 1915.
On July 23, 1934, at the age of 19, he married 16-year-old Jennie Pearl Lilley (1918-1984). She was the daughter of Samuel E. and Anna (Shaffer) Lilley. The nuptials were performed by justice of the peace Fred Munk, and the news was printed in the Connellsville Daily Courier.
They had two known children -- Mildred Smith and Robert Firestone.
The family was devastated on May 11, 1941 when 26-year-old Huey was mortally injured in an automobile accident in Wyandotte, MI and died in Wyandotte General Hospital. His remains were shipped to Fayette County on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad for interment in Mount Olive Church Cemetery. Inscribed on his grave stone were the words, "Not our will but Thine be done."
Jennie survived him by a remarkable 43 years and made her residence in Normalville. Evidence suggests that in 1948, she wedded again to World War II veteran Paul E. Firestone (1918-1980). They may have produced several more offspring, among them Elbert P. "Junior" Firestone (1953-2014) and Jean LaRosa.
Paul was arrested in September 1950 and found guilty for stealing and butching a bull owned by Elmer Schultz. The following year, in May 1951, Jennie brought legal charges against Lilley relatives with the goal of selling some real estate that they all jointly had inherited.
By 1965, Jennie had relocated to Baltimore, MD.
Paul passed away in 1980.
Jennie died on Sept. 11, 1984, and rests beside her second spouse in Mount Nebo Cemetery in Indian Head, Fayette County.
Daughter Mildred L. Firestone (1934-2012) was born on Nov. 30, 1934 in Connellsville. She wedded John Melvin Smith ( ? -1993). He had been married before to Dorothy C. Gurki and brought two sons to the union, George Melvin "Buck" Smith and Ronald Smith. They lived in Bullskin Township and bore three daughters of their own -- Linda Schreiner, Susan Smith and Chris Clark. They were members of the Greenwood Heights Church of God. Sadly, John died in 1993. Mildred lived for another 19 years and endured the passing of son-in-law James Schreiner in 2003 and stepson George Melvin Smith in 2004. She died at home at the age of 77 on Nov. 11, 2012. Funeral services were conducted in the family church by Rev. Evelyn Stillwagon, with interment in Green Ridge Memorial Park and an obituary appearing in the Connellsville Daily Courier.
Son Robert Firestone ( ? - ? ) lived in Melcroft, PA in 2012.
Copyright © 2004-2006, 2009-2010, 2013, 2018 Mark A. Miner