August 12th always brings back memories of my father. Today marks the 55th anniversary of Dad’s death in Oakland in 1964. Dad was born on March 26, 1900 on a farm in Port Kenyon, near Ferndale in Humboldt Co. CA.
Here is a photo of my Dad and Mom taken in Dec. 1953 when they were chaperoning a Newman Club dance when I was a Freshman at Cal. Yes, they had chaperones in those days!
Tim Canty and Maxine Ferguson Canty – Dec. 1953
2 weeks before I was about to get married in June 1964, I received a call that Dad was being taken to the hospital for surgery for gastro-interitis. About-to-be husband, Brandon Wheeler, Sr, and I jumped in the car and drove from Sacramento to Providence Hospital in Oakland. As we walked into the hospital relatives’ waiting area, I saw a big smile on my sister Joan’s face as a doctor was talking to family members. Dad had survived the surgery.
My mother insisted that I not postpone my wedding, so Brandon and I were married as scheduled on June 20,1964 at St. Ignatius Church in Sacramento. Dad was still in the hospital, so brother Tim Jr. walked me down the aisle. After changing into our “going away” clothes, we drove to Oakland to my folks’ house. We changed back into our wedding clothes, then visited my Dad in the hospital dressed in our wedding clothes.
We made several trips to Oakland during the next few weeks. I celebrated my 30th birthday with Dad.. Here are a some pictures from that day:
Brother Jim, Barb, Dad, Brandon, brother Tim Jr, and Tim’s son, Tim III – July 27, 1964.
Dad always served the plates from the head of the table. So, it looks like he is investigating a seafood stew.
Mom, brother Tim holding his 8 month old son Jimmy, Dad, Timmy on Barb’s lap, and Brandon prepare for the candle blowing out.
Here is Dad relaxing after dinner.
Joe Zavadil, my sister Patricia’s husband, and their 3 children were spending the summer in Pasadena where Joe was doing research at the Huntington Library on a Sabbatical from the English Department at the University of New Mexico. Patricia was expecting child #4 imminently. The plan was that Brandon and I would stay with my friend Barbara Chase and her husband Vern in South Pasadena and then babysit the 3 Zavadil children while Patricia was in the hospital. On the 1st of August we got a call from Patricia saying that she had been to the doctor that day and was told that she was about to deliver. We headed to Barb and Vern’s and waited and waited. On August 10th we celebrated Joe’s birthday at the Chases, and then said our farewells figuring we couldn’t impose on the Chases any longer.
That night we got a call that Patricia was in labor, and we headed to the Zavadil’s house to babysit Mary 4, Joe Jr, 3 and Peter almost 2. John Timothy Zavadil was born that morning on August 11th. We headed home on the 12th. Soon after we arrived home, we got the call that Dad had died. So, Dad knew that he had a new grandchild with Timothy as a middle name.
Dad was only 64 when he died and was on sick leave, still employed as a Civil Engineer in the Transportation Department of the Public Utilities Commission, the PUC, in San Francisco. The funeral procession was much longer than I expected because many of Dad’s fellow employees in the Transportation Department came to the funeral. Dad is buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Oakland.
25 years later on August 12, 1989, grandson JIm (Jimmy in the above photo) was married to Bridget Nealon. At their reception in the Oakland hills a picture of Jim and Bridget and Jim’s 19 first cousins was taken. This is the only time that all of my parents’ 20 grandchildren were together. At the time the 20 cousins ranged in age from 15 to 30. Unfortunately, Jim died of ALS at age 40. I am thinking of you today, Bridget, on what would have been your 30th anniversary.