WHITE AUNTS, UNCLES AND COUSINS
Updated 4 November 2019 by author Lawrence Eugene Vaughn Jr
Second oldest was Helen Beatrice White, born on November 9, 1928, in Hannibal, Missouri, when her father, Wallace, was 23, her mother, Nellie, was 21, and her older sister, Marjorie, was almost two. Helen was born with a mental deficiency. She was almost fully functional, but was never quite what one would call normal.
I recall one incident in which she had gone swimming with me and my uncle, Don White, in Christiana Creek in Elkhart. Three teenage boys who were also swimming started picking on her, making her quite uncomfortable.
I realized what was happening and went to her “rescue,” making lots of noise as I splashed over to her, yelling at the boys to leave her alone. I was probably a pre-teen at that time, and greatly outmatched, but it worked. They moved on.
The White family lived in Hannibal until 1945 when they got transferred to Elkhart, Indiana, where Helen met and married James Gray. They located on Pacific Street near her parents, and had four children together, James “Jimmy” Gray, Linda (Randy) Mittkitt, Julie Hatton and John Gray.
She later moved to Michigan with her son John to be near her sisters Betty, Jo Ann and Patricia who lived nearby. She died on April 8, 2018, in St Joseph, Michigan, at the age of 89.
Betty Gene White Hoffman
Betty Gene White, was born on July 26, 1930 in Hannibal, Missouri, to Wallace & Nellie (Teal) White. Her family at that time was living with her grandparents, Tony and Nona White. The 1930 census, taken 11 April, list their residence as 2421 Market Street.
Residing in the home on that date were Tony, age 47, and Nona Turner White,age 45, their daughters , Viola, age 18, Catherine, age 15, son, Wallace, 24, Wallace’s wife, Nellie Teall White, age 23, and their daughters, Marjorie, age 2, and Helen, age 1. Also residing in the 4-room home was Nona’s father, Frank Turner, age 69.
Joe and Betty Hoffman with Marjorie and Eugene Vaughn at the Hoffman family home at Lindell Avenue and Clark Street, Hannibal, following Joe and Betty’s wedding
In 1948, Betty married James Joseph Hoffman in Hannibal, Missouri. To their union four children were born, sons Christopher James (1949-2011), Bruce Edward, Kevin, and a daughter Gwendolyn Joyce They lived for many years in Hannibal, until moving to Benton Harbor MI.
Betty, departed this life on May 23, 2013, at the home of her son, Kevin. A Celebration of Life service was held May 29, 2013 at The Church in Benton Harbor. She was preceded in death by her husband James Joseph Hoffman, her parents Wallace & Nellie Teall White, one son, Christopher James Hoffman, and one sister Joann White-Singell.
Betty left to cherish her memory, sons Bruce Edward (Cheryl) Hoffman, of Middlebury, IN, Kevin (Tori) Hoffman, of Benton Harbor, MI, and daughter Gwendolyn Joyce Schultz, of Middlebury, IN, eight grandchildren, and eighteen great-grandchildren.
She also left behind her four sisters, Marjorie Vaughn Fields, of Henrietta, TX, Helen Gray of Benton Harbor, MI, Charlotte Hoffman, of South Bend, IN, and Patricia White, of Louisville, KY, her three brothers, Wallace (Ro) White, of Middlebury, IN, Donald (Sheila) White, of Perry, MO, and John Timothy (Addie) White, of Bristol, IN.
I remember my Aunt Betty as being a cheerful lady, always humming or singing softly as she went about her work. I often saw her embroidering pillowcases, placemats and shirts for Uncle Joe and the children. I remember them being Western themes, but I’m sure there were others.
The front door of her house, atop the hill on Vermont Street, opened up onto a quite large living room with red oak wood flooring, and I remember it being so highly polished that reflections of the sun from the floor were blindingly bright. The next room was an open dining area with bedrooms off to the sides.
Beyond it was the kitchen where I remember her washing mushrooms just recently collected from the woods. When finished cleaning them, she lay them out to start drying. When the time arrived, she would bread and fry them in fresh lard, and they tasted like the special treat fresh mushrooms are . . . delicious!
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